We keep hearing that cancer and heart disease are the top killers in our society and that there is a new treatment coming out for X and Y diseases, but seldom do you hear about what is causing the conditions. Did you ever think that heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis ( Bones & Teeth), obesity, Alzheimer’s Disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, allergies, digestive disorders, fatigue, mental illness, depression, mood swings, mental alertness, sleep disorders, skin conditions, wrinkles, pimples, blackheads, dry skin, stress, and just about every other health condition, are related to your diet? Nutrition and Life Expectancy… So often we dig our own graves with our fork. I have a rule that I follow before I eat anything, if this is going to be good for me, I eat it, if it’s not going to be good for me, I don’t. The average life expectancy is about 26,950 days, that’s not a lot! Why waste even one day for a food that tastes good when you know it will adversely affect your health? It makes no sense to me. National Geographic did a study to see if there is a common link between societies that had long life expectancies. Three societies with the longest life expectancies were Okinawa, Japan, a rural mountainous society in Russia and Loma Linda, California. They sound like three very diverse groups and in fact, they are. The one thing they all had in common is that they all ate mostly a plant based diet. Studies have shown that eating a plant based diet will, on average, increase your life expectancy by almost eight years. These studies did not include what would happen if you had a normally functioning nervous system and a normally functioning digestive system. I feel that if you add these two components to a plant based diet you can most likely extend your life for many years beyond eight. The way the body works is your brain controls everything. Your brain sends messages down your spine, out your nerves, to every cell in your body. There are two things that can interfere with the message getting from the brain to the body. One is chemical, the other is physical. The nervous system is essentially the electrical system of your body. We are not plugged into the wall so we have to generate our own electricity in order for the nervous system to work. That electricity is generated from the chemicals, or the food we eat. If you eat good quality foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and you avoid the bad foods including alcohol, meat, sugar, dairy, coffee, soda, and artificial sweeteners, your body is able to function normally, and is able to produce good quality electricity and good quality nerve function. Nerves can malfunction physically as well. If a bone moves out of place or if you pinch a nerve, it hurts, but it only hurts 10% of the time. 90% of your nerves don’t feel pain, so you can have a pinched nerve and not know it, but that pinched nerve can adversely be affecting the function of your organs. If you have a poor diet, it’s never too late to change. There are several things you can do right now to improve your diet and they are: Get the bad food out of the house. If you’re like most people and bad food is in your house you will be very tempted to eat it. If it’s not in the house you are much less likely to indulge in those poisons. Don’t shop when you’re hungry. When you’re hungry you tend to make bad choices. Always at least have a snack, if not a full meal before going food shopping. Another good rule is to read the ingredients. If you can’t pronounce even one ingredient, don’t eat it. It’s also important that you learn about nutrition, exercise, and how the body works. A great source of this information is my website, www.DrJoeEsposito.com. Here you’ll find hundreds of radio shows archived on many different topics involving nutrition and health. You’ll also find other articles like this one that I hope you find beneficial. When it comes to getting healthy it’s a journey and there is no destination. You’re constantly learning, changing and adapting to make your life better. When it comes to improving your nutrition it’s a good idea to be open to new foods. There are about 120,000 good foods out there but you don’t have to like all of them. A rule that I like to use is whenever I see a new, healthy food that I’ve never tried before, I buy it and try it. Most of the time I like it, but sometimes I don’t. There is also food that is good for you that you would not like. If you try this, I’m sure you’ll be amazed on how many foods you’ll wish you had tried sooner once you give them that first try. At this point, if you’re like most people, you’re thinking “so, what can I eat!” The good news is that there’s plenty of food to eat. If your goal is to improve your nutrition and extend your life, I would suggest you eat a diet consisting mainly of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. I also suggest that you eat about 60% of your diet raw. When you cook the food you destroy some of the nutrients and many of the enzymes that are in the food. The body needs enzymes to function normally and a great source to replenish your stores of enzymes is raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. A simple way to do this would be to start your day with a few pieces of fruit. I recommend you don’t do more than four or five pieces of fruit a day because fruit is high in fructose and too much fructose can put a strain on your liver and lead to things like fatty liver. Absolutely stay away from fruit juices, and any sweetened drinks that are sweetened with sugar, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners. If you have to have something sweet I recommend raw Stevia. Stevia is a sweetener about 200 times sweeter than regular sugar. It has no calories, plus it has over 70 nutrients and is even safe for diabetics. For lunch I recommend a salad made with a salad dressing consisting of half organic extra-virgin olive oil or organic coconut oil and half raw organic apple cider vinegar. The apple cider vinegar has been shown to help your digestive system which will allow you to absorb food more efficiently and can slow down the aging process. If you don’t like lettuce or you find lettuce alone boring, you can eat tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, broccoli, cabbage, or any vegetables you like. Think outside the box when it comes to making a salad. Also, you can add organic chickpeas which will give you lots of nutrients and help you feel full. I like to add nutritional yeast to my salads because it has a great flavor and gives you ton of protein, good fats, and B vitamins which will give you energy and help your nervous system work more efficiently. If you don’t want to eat salad every day, just try to avoid the seven deadly sins of nutrition. Remember them, alcohol, meat, sugar, dairy, coffee, soda, and artificial sweeteners. If you like Mexican food try refried beans and guacamole salad and salsa mixed together. I really like this meal but I find that when I eat it I usually get pretty tired. If you positively cannot avoid eating corn chips at a Mexican restaurant, I’ll allow you to have a maximum of six chips. If you like Asian food, try ordering a vegetable version of what you usually eat. Instead of Kung Pow Chicken, try Kung Pow Vegetables. This is not the ideal meal but it’s certainly a step in the right direction if your goal is to be healthier and live longer. When ordering Thai food always make sure you order it without fish sauce. Fish sauce contains monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is a neurotoxin to the brain. For that matter, whenever you eat any Asian food, be sure to order it without MSG. Some MSG will already be in many of the sauces and soy sauces they use but at least you’re limiting the amount you get. A good rule I like to use when I go to a restaurant is to cover up the prices and look at the main courses. The least expensive one is usually the healthiest one. Avoid gluten, which is a protein found in wheat and barley and rye, because it can put a big stress in your digestive system and prevent you from absorbing your nutrients and passing out your waste products properly. Another good rule to increase your life expectancy is to only eat food that your grandmother would’ve eaten. That means if you’re going to eat any animal products including meat, dairy products or eggs, they have to be organic. The toxic chemicals that are put in much of our commercial food were not available when grandma was alive. So, the closest thing we have in our modern society to grandma’s food is organic animal products. It’s also good to eat organic fruits and vegetables as well. I can’t write an article on life expectancy without covering one more thing, keep your body healthy. That is, its beneficial to ensure that your nervous system is functioning properly. If you have neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, leg pain, numbness, tingling, headaches, or any type of pain, you have a malfunctioning or pinched nerve. It is malfunctioning either because of chemical and/or physical issues. This is why chiropractic is such a vital component to getting well and staying well naturally. Many people think of chiropractors as back doctors but it’s way more than that. If you pinch a nerve to an organ, that organ cannot function properly so it’s vital that you get that nerve unpinched and get the body working properly. Another bonus to chiropractic care is when you get your spine aligned properly it doesn’t wear out as quickly and in many cases I’ve seen the wear and tear of the spine, called arthritis, reverse somewhat and actually start to get better. It may never get back to the way it was when you were 16 years old, but once the spine starts wearing out it does one of two things, it either gets better or gets worse. Why would you want your spine to get worse when there is something that might actually help it improve? That’s why you need chiropractic care. It’s not hard to get healthy and stay healthy. In many cases it’s not what you do; it’s what you don’t do to help it heal. If you would like to set up a no charge, private consultation with me personally so that we can check the function of your nervous system, check your digestive system, and discuss any other health issues you might have, please call my office at 770-427-7387 and say that you’d like to set up a consultation with Dr. Joe. Naturally, I want to get you well and keep you well. So now that you know the link between Nutrition and Life Expectancy, eat well! To set up an appointment please call my office at 770-427-7387 or you can send us a message in the live chat.