My health is my number 1 priority, and it should be yours, too. The food that we eat is the strongest predictor of how well and how long we live. (1)
Many people take their health for granted.
I understand how blissful it can be to be ignorant about health. I realize that there is something freeing about not caring about the health of our bodies. I’ve been there, sort of. I got sick at a pretty young age, but “managed it” with medications, and for all I knew, I was doing quite well. I continued to eat whatever I wanted, which was a lot of junk food, but I did workout. I worked out only because I wanted to look better, not necessarily to be healthier. In any case, I was happy not caring much about my health, until I got sicker.
Unfortunately, this is pretty common for most people. We grow up feeling good, pretty good, or good enough, and continue living our lives as though we are oblivious to the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle. Sometimes, we may even convince ourselves that we won’t get sick, or get cancer, or whatever, even though science tells us we will if we continue eating like crap, smoking cigarettes, getting drunk often, and sitting all day long. It’s not until we get sick do we realize how important our health is, and how much it can effect literally every aspect of our lives.
Here’s the kicker. You might do everything correctly. You eat well, you exercise, you meditate, you live a life of low stress, have great relationships, and then you end up with cancer. We cannot control everything; I’m mostly thinking in terms of environmental toxins and infections. Environmental toxins and infections can cause mutations and changes in our bodies that are likely very hard to control and prevent. But, why not prevent as much as we can, instead of just giving up and hoping for the best.
We need to give our bodies a chance to thrive.
Did you know that most deaths in the United States are both preventable and related to the food we eat? Yes, nutrition can keep you from dying from preventable illnesses. (2)
The number one cause of death in the United States is dietary risks, which beats out tobacco smoking, high body mass index, high blood pressure, and other risk factors. (1)
Money and Less Visits To The Doctor
Money is a strong driver for most people.
The US spends the most on healthcare out of all the countries, but we aren’t the healthiest. (1) 69 million people in the US report missing work due to illness each year, which reduces economic output by an estimated $260 billion. (3) (If you ever wanted a health care or whatever, just making healthier food a priority would save the economy billions of dollars)
If Americans ate the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, greater than 127,000 deaths and $17 billion in medical costs could be saved from cardiovascular disease prevention alone. (4)
If people in the US consumed one more portion of fruits and vegetables than they already are eating, it’s estimated that it would save more than $2.7 trillion. (4)
Basically, if you eat healthier, and live an overall healthier lifestyle, you’ll miss work less, which means you’re likely to bring more income home, and you’ll spend a lot less on medical care costs. Plus, the economy will be better.
We don’t get much time to live as it is, why cut it short? I don't want to spend my time here feeling like crap, and I want to live as long as I can. It’s pretty simple. If you eat healthier, you’re more likely to live not only longer, but also healthier. That gives you more time to do the things that you enjoy, to be with family, to follow your dreams, or whatever you want to do.
Quality of Life – an overarching theme
If you feel like crap all the time, life gets pretty hard. I know from experience. When you get sick, your quality of life will likely decrease. This means you won’t have as much fun, you won’t be able to do all of the things that you want to do, and even simple things that allows us to live independently like going to the grocery store and taking care of ourselves can be affected. Quality of life is something that we often talk about in health care, because it makes a huge difference in people’s lives. Sometimes, even a “simple” thing like wondering why your legs feel crampy often and realizing you’re not getting enough potassium can make all the difference.
Stress and Mood
Decreased mental health and depression are associated with physical illness. (5) Stress can make us sick, and being sick can make us feel stressed out. When you don’t feel good, it affects your mood. For most people, they either feel so sick that don’t care about anything, they feel ill or pain to the point that it makes them irritable, or they may fall somewhere in between.
Your friendships will suffer if you are ill enough. This is especially true if you are a bit younger or middle aged. While your friends are heading out to dinner or taking a fun trip together, you’ll be too sick to join them if you don’t take care of yourself. You’ll miss out on some good times, all because you just didn’t care about your body, or you didn’t “know any better”.
Family and Significant Other
As goes with friendships, the same thing goes with family.
Your relationship with your significant other will be affected. Sometimes, if you overcome an illness, it’ll likely strengthen your relationship. Best case scenario, you don’t get sick and live happily ever after. Second best care scenario, you get sick, miss out on a few fun things and good times, overcome the illness with the help of your significant other, and live happily ever after. Worst case scenario, you get sick, don’t get any better, find that your relationship is much harder to maintain than you thought it would ever be, and die sooner. Your mood is different, your stress levels are high, you feel like crap, you can’t do the things that you used to, you no longer feel like the strong woman or man that you use to, etc., etc… Do you and your lover a favor and take of yourself.