January 31, 2014 | Friday

Our modern diet, the biggest enemy against healthy living – Mirlinda Bejta

As a country we are constantly striving to improve many areas of our lives, but in regards to healthy eating and healthy living we are not so self-aware of how little we actually do to look after our bodies.

One of the major priorities in life should be to achieve and maintain a healthy body, achieving anything without health is much more difficult. Not only higher goals, but even worldly success is based on your health and condition. Whatever one wants to do, be it on a spiritual, social or national level, you have to do it with your body. Your thoughts are manifested through your body and you can only fulfil your desires through your body.

Poor diet and nutritional intake, in particular during childhood and then also later in adulthood lead to a high risk of developing any one or more of a multitude of diseases like obesity, iron deficiency, anaemia, dental caries, coronary heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, cancer and various dietary and nutritional deficiency related problems. We should begin by setting priorities to improve our health standards and increase our nutritional intake. This problem needs much more attention and consideration.

It is our primary task to make ourselves healthy. Everything that we eat and we do not eat will affect our health. We all want to feel good and look good no matter what our age is. I know that it is very difficult to make healthy choices, but this is how we damage ourselves with poor food and poor lifestyles. Ideally that would be possible if we lived in the environment of our distant ancestors and on their diet; living in a pollution-free environment, ate only pure organically grown unprocessed foods, drank clean fresh water, exercised regularly and avoided all stress, pollutants and chemicals then our health would be very vital. Unfortunately this is impossible due to the higher stress levels, pollution, modern farming and food processing techniques combined with the direct influences of the Western diet. The modern diet is now high in sugar, refined carbohydrates (refined carbohydrates have a high glycaemic load), processed foods and bad fats; it is so deficient in many key nutrients, high in preservatives and pesticides. Combined with all this processed and chemically treated food are also the additional negative influences on our health such as caffeine, alcohol and smoking, which all lead to the constant formation of free radicals. In addition it is also very important to rethink the cooking methods that we commonly use, such as frying, microwaving and barbecuing. These cooking methods not only reduce the quantity and quality of the most important nutrient food enzymes, but also accelerate the formation of free radicals.

One of the nutrition deficient areas that I noticed in my country is that adults and children are eating less than half of daily recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables. Most of them don’t eat fruit at all during the week.  Nowadays most of us have very low level of activity.
Our modern day diet is now low in many key nutrients, enzymes and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals); therefore the use of good quality supplements is of great importance and becoming a necessity.  During this comparison of our diet and lifestyles and that of the Stone Age diet and lifestyle we can clearly see that there is a mismatch between our diet and our genetically determined physiology that is causing the development of so called “diseases of the modern civilization” such as: obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes type 2, cancer, high cholesterol and stress. The ideal diet for us and our children for better health would be similar to that of our Stone Age ancestors which consisted of: protein 17%, carbohydrates 65%, sugar 0% and fat 18%.

As a country we need to focus much more on nutritional education, in particular raising the awareness about the importance of correct nutrition, achieving and maintaining good health, prevention of obesity, for our future and most importantly for our children’s futures.