Elson M Haas, MD
This educating, writing doctor is also the author of many books including Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, 21st Century Edition, The NEW Detox Diet: The Complete Guide for Lifelong Vitality with Recipes, Menus, & Detox Plans and more. Visit his website for more information on his work, books and to sign up for his newsletter.
We can truly alter our aging process by the way we live. Whether we can ultimately alter our longevity is not as important, in my own and most patient’s opinions, as enhancing our health and vitality as we age. It’s the quality and vitality of life that matters, not merely the quantity.
In this article, I discuss the aging process in general for men and then focus on maintaining prostate health and sexual function over our years. And clearly for men, their prostate and sexual function is important to feeling youthful. Those that remain sexually and sensually active feel better in many other ways as well.
Allergies include a variety of bodily reactions to our external and internal environments. These often include reactions to agents such as:
- Pollens, weeds, dust, molds and animal hair (dander)
- A multitude of foods, most commonly cow’s milk, wheat, eggs, and baker’s and brewer’s yeast, and sometimes other foods such as corn, soy, almonds, and even garlic or beans
- Chemical agents
- Invasive microbes, such as yeasts, parasites, and some viruses and bacteria
1. Become Current in Your Life in this inspiring Spring season. Embrace yourself honestly as you look at all of your habits and areas of your own life. Even with all the worldly concerns, care for yourself and your loved ones. Assess the various aspects of your life to see where stresses or weaknesses exist, such as in your diet, exercise program, work or relationships as examples. Focus on the ones that need improvement.
In this last month of winter, we still have cold and/or damp weather, and it’s wise to stay warm and protected from deeper coldness getting into the body. This is a health maxim in both Western and Eastern medicines. Here are some tips you can apply if you have trouble staying warm at this time of year. Ladies?
1. First look at your wardrobe, your clothes. Are they seasonal? When the weather is colder, think layers; be a “seasonal stripper.” This helps you adapt to being indoors or out, and makes it easier to warm up during the day or with outdoor activities. Wear a T-shirt (silks are great), another shirt, sweater and jacket. For your lower body, you have leggings or long underwear, and different weight pants. Use natural fibers whenever possible as they allow the skin to breathe, are less irritating, and more balanced electromagnetically. We also go in and out of differently heated environments, and this can affect our inner thermostat and immune system. Even though you may be buried under those layers, make sure you keep your body clean and fresh for better health protection. Also, wash your hands to reduce germ exposure and spread, clean under your nails, and floss your teeth to stay kissing clean.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the most common interference with healthy aging and long life in the modern world. Here are a number of proactive ideas and tips to help you prevent the problems associated with heart disease. The triad of primary risk factors is smoking (nicotine addiction), high blood pressure, and inflammation*. Even if your parents had high cholesterol or early heart disease, you can override, or at least delay, these influences with a proactive, healthy lifestyle.
1. Open up to the harvest of your year and be willing to work hard and discipline yourself as you head into a new season. If you are a student (we are all students of life), get back to your studies. Yes, it is time to shift from the frivolity and laziness of summer. Nature is so giving, and it helps to be receptive to her and what the Earth has to offer. What do we have to give to life for all the energy, love, and beauty I hope we all receive?
Generally, the best way to insure a safe and healthy diet is to eat meals that are prepared in your own home. However, many of us are eating away from home more than ever before. One of the keys to healthy eating is to plan your meals and snacks before you get hungry. Bring your own good quality food to work or school so that you have what you need when you need it. If you can’t make your own meals and snacks, find out where to go to get good, healthy food in your neighborhood and near your job.
1. Proper hydration with water is essential. Most of us need at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of good, clean drinking water daily. Coffee, alcohol, and sodas or other sugary beverages do not count toward our daily two quarts of liquids as they do not hydrate our tissues and often have the opposite effect, causing dehydration. Water is the best choice for proper hydration. However, herbal teas and fresh juices do count because of their high water content; furthermore, fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet do add to our water intake. Water is second in importance to air, which we need by the minute. We can survive about a week without water, whereas most of us can live as long as six weeks without food. Water supports our immune system and flushes toxins from the lymph system and body. Our bodies are about 70 percent water that’s 10 to 12 gallons! In fact, brain and muscle are about 75 percent water and blood is 85 percent water content. Except for bone and fat tissue, most of our body is water.
What is called “Preventive Medicine” in America in the 21st Century is really more appropriately termed early intervention and early diagnosis. Having immunization injections or taking tests such as x-rays and mammograms, prostate exams, and blood tests are not really preventive in nature. Rather, they are an attempt to detect diseases in an early state. What is promoted as cancer prevention with the use of mammograms or prostate exams, sigmoidoscopes or colonoscopes is really early cancer diagnosis. This is done in hopes that cancer can be aggressively attacked before it spreads and destroys the entire body and life. Cancer represents a state of toxicity and its reaction on cellular mechanisms in the body; it is a disease of our body and not separate from it, and represents some breakdown or misguidance of our intricate immune system. After it occurs, it clearly is difficult to treat without great measures. Preventing cancer (and cardiovascular diseases, for that matter) is indeed an important goal in preventive medicine.
- Don't be in a daze these holidays. Be aware and be fair to your body. Most of us can get away with some treats or indiscretions to our usual eating habits. However, if we vary too much and go to extremes, we may suffer the consequences and get sick. Get to know yourself and find a balance. This is a good time to deepen and clarify your love and family connections. Emotional nurturing offers a satisfaction that may allow less emotional eating and avoid the excesses of the holidays. Be a supportive friend, and ask for support if you need it. Take care of one another. Give it a try and your spirit will be calmed and can also fly free of the burdens of time.
The Purification Process: Healing for Modern Times
This is an article about thinking simply, in a new way, and using commonsense in your choices about your health. A choice I often recommend is cleaning up your act, your relationships, your home and planet, and supporting you to lighten up and heal. I encourage all of you to think about health and health care from the philosophy of Integrated Medicine.
- Follow a non-toxic lifestyle. Eat wholesome, natural foods, drink good water, exercise regularly, and avoid junk foods and additives—to minimize the need to detoxify.
- If you feel toxic or congested from aches and pains, allergies and sinus congestion, sluggish digestion, or skin rashes. You might consider a detoxification program as outlined in The Detox Diet.
- If you have habits to any SNACCs—Sugar, Nicotine, Alcohol, Caffeine, or Chemicals—take a break occasionally to evaluate how you really feel. These short breaks can give you a new perspective. Is your habit an easy pleasure or is your body paying a price?
The simplest way to understand symptoms and disease integrates Western linear thinking, Chinese medicine and its philosophy of yin and yang, and the naturopathic approach to health and illness. Problems in the body (and mind) often arise from either DEFICIENCY, where we are not acquiring sufficient necessary nutrients to meet our needs and body functions—and CONGESTION, where we are having excessive intake, both from reduced elimination functions and the over-consumption of foods or non-food substances, such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, refined sugar and food chemicals.
Take a few minutes to identify the habits you wish to change. Do you pack a wholesome lunch, only to be distracted by fast or junk food places around your work? Do you provide healthy lunches for your kids, but at the end of the day find them smashed in the bottom of their backpack? It is important to be realistic about yourself and your family’s likes and dislikes. It is unlikely that anyone can switch from hamburgers and French fries to tofu and whole grains in one day. Prepare foods that support your health, vitality, and optimum weight. How fresh are your choices? Do good foods fit into your budget? Do you have a refrigerator at work if you need it to keep foods fresh?
Hypertension, or High Blood Pressure (HBP), is a common disease in modern cultures, more common in men than women, and in African Americans over Caucasians. Hypertension means “too much tension,” and of course, stress plays a role in HBP which, when untreated, can cause many other problems in the cardiovascular systems as well as in the kidneys and brain. It is also called the “silent killer” because typically people are not aware they have high blood pressure unless they have it checked. So, check yours out at the local pharmacy, your doctor’s office, or from a company nurse, or friend who has a blood pressure cuff. Check it both when you are relaxed and also when you are under stress, as in just out of heavy traffic or right after work. The normal numbers should be below 130/80, and ideally between 110/70 and 120/80. The old level for labeling HBP was 140/90 as borderline, yet that is now considered hypertension because even those numbers have been shown to be problematic over the long-term.
I know that it is often difficult to improve our habits for the benefit of others; this life-enhancing process needs to be something we do for ourselves. However, if anyone can make positive changes, it is parents for the sake of their children. Improving your children’s health and helping them start with good habits begins with you. Here are my top-ten guidelines for parents who want to teach their children good nutritional habits.
Our digestive track is at the core of our health. This of course begins with a good balanced diet and healthy eating habits, which are reviewed below. It can be very simple. Best of health to you.
1. Eat in a relaxed way in a pleasant setting, and take your time. CHEW your food well until it is liquid. If you are under emotional pressure or in a hurry, take simple food, such as fresh juices, fruit, yogurt, some sunflower seeds, or a healthy protein bar.
Assess your health, your strengths, as well as your problems and bad habits, and look for (ask yourself and take time to listen) the causes or basis of each concern. What are your issues? It’s best to ask for this deeper information and healing in your quiet, meditative place or before sleep to ask your dream imagery to come forth. (Review my Staying Healthy Tips on The Nature of Healing.) This is a time to work on solutions.
Make a list of your goals. What are you willing to work on, work out, and achieve? Do you need to lose weight; have more energy; or find a new doctor/practitioner to help you resolve a problem or illness? Or would a therapist or intuitive be more helpful? For example, you could assess your teeth in January, schedule a Thai massage and an acupuncture or chiropractic session in February, and a five-day health retreat in March. First assess your health budget and see what is covered by insurance if you have it, but also look at what you are willing or able to invest into the health of you and your loved ones.
When I first began looking at the relationship of Nutrition to Health, I was a new doctor way back in 1975. At that time I could find very few medical doctors who would agree with my ideas and interests. Now, 30 years later, you would have to be in blind denial not to know the importance of this basic relationship. Our body, and how we look and feel, is a result of our lives. And what we feed ourselves is the basic building block. Mind you, it may take 20 to 30 years to see the adverse effects of poor dietary choices.