SOUTH BAY TOTAL HEALTH
The Cardiovascular/Endocrine Constellation:
The Common Roots of High Blood Pressure, Abnormal Blood Lipids, Obesity,
Atherosclerosis, Strokes, Diabetes and Heart Disease
THE STANDARD AMERICAN DIET (SAD)
The commonalities between all these conditions are the abnormally high levels of simple carbohydrates, trans-fatty acids and long-chain hydrogenated oils in our diets, coupled with severe deficiencies of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. Stress clearly plays a role in the progression of these conditions as well.
The process starts literally at the roots -- farm soils have been deficient of minerals since the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s, when abusive farming practices combined with a periodic drought in America's heartland resulted in most of the mineral-rich American topsoil (having been accumulated and maintained for many centuries) literally blowing away. Our farmlands have never recovered. Follow-up studies in the 1980s as part of the Earth Day conference concluded that the situation then was even worse than it had been in the 1930s. With continued abusive farm practices, and no effort made to re-mineralize the soil, it only stands to reason that the soil won't miraculously heal itself. Here in 2005, 20 years later, the situation continues to degrade.
Why does this affect our health today? Minerals are among the list of essential nutrients that have been identified by scientists. Essential Nutrients are thoses things that are absolutely necessary for life, but which our bodies are incapable of making from simpler raw materials. They can only be obtained through the food we eat. Mineral and vitamin deficiencies are identified with many chronic illnesses. Vitamins are primarily manufactured by plants using minerals as crucial raw materials. No minerals in the soils means the plant cannot absorb them through their roots. No minerals in the plants, meanwhile, means there are also no vitamins in the plants. Any animal which later eats that plant, expecting it to be rich in vitamins and minerals, will be sorely disappointed.
FOOD PROCESSING AND POISONING
When crops finally are harvested, the degradation of our food supply continues. The become processed, mainly with the objective of increasing the shelf life of the substance (I hesitate to call it food any longer) by removing those portions of the plant most likely to spoil. Using grains as an example, the germ and bran are removed. These just happen to contain most of the essential oils, protiens, vitamins and minerals that were originally present. All that remains is the starch, i.e. sugar, that had been stored in the grain to provide energy for the seed when it sprouts (grains are the seeds of different plants, mostly in the Grass Family).
The resulting substance is so devoid of any nutritional value it can sit on the shelf for months, even years, without spoiling -- even the bacteria can't eat it! Studies have been done feeding labratory rats either white flour or the cardboard box it came in. The rats eating the boxes lived longer than the rats eating the flour.
THE DISEASE PROCESSES
As blood vessels become damaged the body's defense mechanisms build cholesterol plaques to patch holes and prevent leakage. This is the root of atherosclerosis. Narrowing, more rigid arteries give rise to high blood pressure, which in turn is the precursor to many kinds of heart disease and strokes.
THE STRESS CONNECTION
The Fight or Flight response by our body works great, but not if we have to respond to a perceived threat every 5 or 10 minutes, all day long. One of the primary organs involved in regulating the stress response is the adrenal gland. If our adrenals only have to "fight the sabre-toothed tiger" every few days or weeks, they do fine. If, however, we perceive something in our world as stressful many times every day, eventually, they lose their ability to respond.
Cortisol is our body's main stress hormone and when the adrenal receives a signal from the SNS, cortisol is released into the blood stream. It then causes many of the body's functions to be shut down until the stressful situation is over, when the Parasympathetic Nervous System kicks in, the "Feed and Frolic" portion of the nervous system responsible for rest, eating, digestion, healing and sleeping.
Continued exposure to stress keeps the body and adrenal glands in a constant sympathetic state, never allowing the body's parasympathetic system to re-juvenate us. Long term sympathetic predominance leads to a depressed immune system and frequent colds, flus and other illnesses. We also experience decreased absorption of nutrients from the GI tract, which means every organ and tissue in the body begins to be starved for crucial nutrition.
Long term exposure to frequent stress also tricks the body into thinking it has entered a famine, and again, shuts down certain body systems such as the reproductive centers. This famine-like stress is a large component of the modern infertility trend, for instance. It also triggers the body to slow down our metabolism and try to save every possible calorie as fat, because clearly there is a famine and severe food shortage going on -- the cortisol levels say so. When we continue to eat every day our body simple stores the food you were fortunate to find as more fat, which is a good thing, because clearly you're in a famine!
THE NUTRITIONAL SOLUTION
The "Take-Home Message" is simply this: all these conditions are rooted in a low quality diet compounded by a high-stress lifestyle, and they can all be prevented, and reversed, using nutrition and natural remedies. None of them require you to be sick and on dangerous medications for the rest of your life.
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