by guest blogger Dr. Mao Shing Ni
No one wants to actively think about becoming sick, but being aware of your state of health is an important part of diagnosing a condition before it becomes a full-fledged illness. Be in the know because the life you save may be your own!
Start with Your Genes
The deadliest diseases in the industrialized world, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, are often genetically inherited. To prevent the expression of these susceptible genes, it is crucial to know your family's medical history.
Early Detection Prolongs Life Span
You should be receiving an annual physical exam to keep tabs on your general health. Additionally, both you and your healthcare provider should monitor the state of your health on a regular basis; this way, if a condition does develop, treatment can begin at the earliest possible opportunity. You can take a simple home urine test--available from doctors of complementary and integrative medicine--to assess your level of free radicals. It uses the by-products of metabolism to detect these toxins in your urine, helping you determine the effectiveness of your antiaging program.
Cancer Breeds in Repression and Stress
Nowhere is stress more directly linked to the development of a disease than in cancer. Patients with cancer are more likely than the general population to have suffered severe personal loss at an early age or to have experienced chronic depression with strong, persistent feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. People who have experienced prolonged stress and those with type C personalities, characterized by a strong tendency to deny and repress their own feelings, are much more prone to developing cancers. Many more recent studies have confirmed the effect of emotional stress on the body. Neuroendocrinology is one of the new fields to emerge from these studies on the connections between the mind and emotions on the autonomic, immune, and endocrine systems.
Take Control of Your Health
If you depend solely on doctors to keep you well, you will surely be disappointed. It is incredibly important that you take an active interest in your own level of health, taking steps to improve and maintain it. You are in control of the unhealthy behavior that leads to imbalance and disease, and you alone can accept responsibility for your disease so that you can change it. When you take responsibility for yourself, you earn the power to change from illness to wellness, sadness to happiness, and conflict to peace.
Eat Well to Support Your Health
Essential fatty acids are like fat vitamins, if you will, that are used in making cell membranes. They are also important in the body's ability to reduce inflammation and prevent the many degenerative diseases associated with it. Studies show that women with a high intake of essential fatty acids (EFA) are at much lower risk of developing breast cancer. Dietary sources of EFAs are flaxseed, borage, walnut, and hemp seed oils. You can consume these oils on salads and in smoothies, or simply take a tablespoon daily as a supplement. Of course, make sure you're getting EFAs from cold-compressed, organic oil.
Take a look at the way you are preparing your food. Are you killing the nutrients in your food? Many important nutrients are cooked away in high heat. Boiling can destroy half of the vitamins found in vegetables. Deep-frying produces the worst kind of fat, trans fat, which can clog your arteries and increase your risk of cancer.
Eating barbecued or grilled meat that is burnt or blackened on a regular basis is another way to make your cancer risk soar. Treat your food gently! You can preserve the nutritional value of your food when you lightly steam, quickly stir-fry, or simply broil.
Combat Cancer with Cruciferous Veggies
Sometimes, mother really does know best! When she told you to eat your broccoli, she was looking out for your life span. Broccoli, bok choy, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables are potent defenders against cancer. These vegetables contain phytonutrients--plant-derived chemical compounds--that help cleanse the body of cancer-causing substances.
One of these compounds, indole-3-carbinol, is a potent anti-estrogen that hinders cancerous growths in the estrogen-sensitive cells found in the breasts, colon, and prostate. That's not all. Crucifers are also a great source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, and calcium.
Awareness Exercise for Early Warning
When you become aware of your body's natural states, you can detect subtle changes in your state of health. Try this simple yet powerful awareness meditation that can be done anywhere, anytime! Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath for one minute. Is your breath slow or fast, long or short, shallow or deep? As you breathe, can you feel your lungs and abdomen expanding and contracting? Now, for one minute, expand this awareness to your whole body.
Do you feel discomfort or pain anywhere? Can you feel your digestion working? Is there movement in your abdomen? How is your posture, whether sitting or lying? Can you feel the energy and blood flowing throughout your body? For this last minute, extend your awareness to your surroundings.
If you or someone you know is currently suffering from cancer, Breast Cancer: The Path of Wellness and Healing DVD set offer help. The DVD leads viewers from diagnosis to recovery, offering both conventional and alternative medical advice and the personal experience of other women. Additionally my book, Secrets of Longevity: Dr Mao's 8-Week Program offers an interactive workbook with insightful quizzes, satisfying checklists, and delicious recipes all designed to unlock the secrets to a longer, healthier, and happier life.
May you Live Long, Live Strong, and Live Happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao, is a doctor of Chinese medicine, an antiaging specialist, and the author of the best-selling book Secrets of Longevity. He practices acupuncture, nutrition, and traditional Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness Center in Santa Monica and Newport Beach, CA, and is the cofounder and Chancellor of Yo San University in Los Angeles. He appears regularly on Dr. Oz and has appeared on The Doctors and E! News. Visit Dr. Mao at www.taoofwellness.com or www.askdrmao.com
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.
Follow Maria Rodale on Twitter: www.twitter.com/farmkitchenblog