Cornerstones of good health


  • Health
  • Sunday, 13 Apr 2003

IN the modern era, we are physically and mentally subjected to a lot more stress and strain than that experienced by our forefathers.  

The air we breathe in is polluted with exhaust from vehicle emission; the water we drink is heavily chlorinated and may be contaminated with effluent discharged from factories; the fresh fruits and vegetables we consume are sprayed with insecticides and fungicides; the food we eat is processed and laced with preservatives and colourants.  

In addition, our hectic modern lifestyles, coupled with the ubiquitous traffic congestion, take a heavy toll on our health and wellbeing. In spite of the many advances made in medicine, the incidence of cancers, heart diseases, diabetes, to name only a few, are on the rise. Under these circumstances, how can we avoid all these abuses to our bodies?  

For many of us, avoiding all these abuses is difficult and not practical, therefore taking health and nutritional supplements as a preventive becomes increasingly important. 

A balanced diet 

Some of us feel that we are eating a well-balanced diet and do not need any health and nutritional supplements.  

The word “balanced diet” is more easily found in books than actually on the dining table. Many of the foods we eat have been processed, preserved and heat-treated that a good part of the nutrients has been lost, degraded or destroyed.  

Repeated cultivations have led to the depletion of the micro minerals such as zinc selenium, copper, manganese in the soil, yielding fruits and vegetables lacking in these micro but essential minerals.  

The short-term deficiency in these micronutrients will not produce any noticeable effects. However, chronic deficiency of the essential micro minerals can negatively impact our immune system, predispose us to infections, allergies and even cancers. 

Unless we are able to consistently nourish ourselves with a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, we can guard against the deficiency by taking some form of multivitamin and mineral supplements. For those who prefer a more natural approach, you may want to consider chlorella or spirulina. 

The insidious killer 

For those who eat out often, there is additional danger lurking in foods. Besides the hygienic aspects of food preparation, we have heard horror stories of some unscrupulous hawkers using re-cycled cooking oil discarded by fast-food outlets, in their cooking. 

Cooking oil which has been subjected to prolonged heating will yield peroxides which are very injurious to health and can be cancer causing as well.  

The same goes to food such as fried chicken, goreng pisang and so on, which have been fried in cooking oil subjected to prolonged heating. 

Prevention is better than cure 

How can we protect our bodies against all these obvious and insidious abuses? Besides being more conscious and cautious of what we eat, we can help our bodies by consuming some of the more established health and nutritional supplements as a preventive.  

Among the more widely used supplements are Ginkgo biloba, Milk thistle, Green tea, Evening Primrose Oil, Garlic and Ginseng.  

Ginkgo biloba extract, besides improving blood circulation to every part of our body, is also a powerful antioxidant. Milk thistle extract helps to protect the liver cells from damage by toxins as well as stimulate the regeneration of new liver cells. It is also a powerful antioxidant.  

Antioxidants are compounds that neutralise free radicals generated in our bodies. Excessive free radicals are responsible for a host of degenerative diseases and even cancers. We are all familiar with the saying “Prevention is better than cure”. It is much safer to take some form of preventive measures than treating conditions that have already occurred. 

Four cornerstones of good health 

Many of us lead a sedentary lifestyle, working in the office in the day and becoming a couch potato in the evening. Remember that our body is built to move. Therefore regular exercise is absolutely essential for our health and well-being.  

Besides improving blood circulation, keeping our muscles, tendons and joints flexible and supple, exercise helps to relieve tension. During exercise, certain brain amines (endorphins) are released, creating a feeling of invigoration and well-being.  

In conclusion, it pays to take heed of the four cornerstones of good health, namely: a positive mental attitude, healthful diet, regular exercise and supplementary measures. 

 

  • The above article is courtesy of Herbal Revival Sdn Bhd. For more information, you can e-mail starhealth@ thestar.com.my . 

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