A daily barrage of TV and magazine ads, featuring bodies most of us can only dream of having, tell us how to be fit and healthy. Eat right, get lots of exercise, sleep well, meditate lower job stress, get regular physical check-ups, and laugh more. All of these will promote better health and physical fitness. But, they are insufficient to assure it.
Every “expert” claims that their way is best. Eat a balanced diet, eat lots of fruit and vegetables, eat more fish, get enough omega-3 and omega-6 nutrients, take multiple vitamins, eat only raw foods, avoid meats, avoid sugary drinks, drink no alcoholic beverages, drink alcohol in moderation (a little red wine), replace meat by tofu, eat only cage-free chicken, eat only organic beef, etc. Of course, minimize calories. Such conservative diets, faithfully followed, will promote your health.
Every exercise guru has his or her own recommended regimen, from running, using their exercise machine, doing yoga, swimming, playing vigorous sports, ingesting high-protein supplements, and more. You watch for the blood pressure to go down and the fat roll to melt away. Sticking with any exercise practice will increase your muscle tone, cardiovascular fitness, and overall health.
These prescriptions will make you more fit and healthy today, but will they assure your continued health, free of cancer and debilitating illnesses? Decades ago the answer was probably “yes.” However, in the present era of massive pollution of the environment by invisible toxic chemicals, the answer is “probably not.” The air is contaminated with exhausts from cars, trucks, and coal-fired power plants. Water is often contaminated with industrial wastes and agricultural pesticides and fertilizers. Meats and diary products contain hormone and antibiotic additives. Fruits and vegetables are contaminated by myriad pesticides. Our homes are infiltrated by toxic chemicals that cause cancer, disrupt the hormone system, depress the immune system, and sabotage the reproductive system.
There is consensus among scientists that traces of toxic chemicals in people’s bodies cause many diseases and illnesses. More than 400 studies have linked pesticides to cancers, Parkinson’s, asthma, reproductive and developmental disorders, and birth defects. The President’s Cancer Panel Report for 2008-2009 states, “A growing body of research documents myriad established and suspected environmental factors linked to genetic, immune, and endocrine dysfunction that can lead to cancer and other diseases.”
What can a person do to protect himself or herself from these invisible toxic substances that permeate the environment in which they live? Fortunately, the solution is easy, much easier than demanding exercise and diet routines. Simply learn what toxic chemicals you are exposed to, the sources of the toxics, and how you can avoid exposure to them. Several books, including the author’s How to be Healthy in a Toxic World (published by Amazon) provide the vital information needed to enhance your long-term health.