Happy World Prematurity Day…

Happy World Prematurity Day…

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. I am not a Doctor, Nutritionist, nor a registered practitioner to give any kind of advice on food, diet or exercise. This article is based on knowledge and research I obtained on the internet and my collection of research and information during my time attending seminars and various types of informal training. The onus is on You to take responsibility for your health and You are encouraged to speak to your Doctor or Dietitian before making any changes to your diet, exercise routine, or lifestyle. This article is meant to peak your curiosity on the subject, and seek to take responsibility and learn more about good health and lifestyle for the good of you and your family.

World Prematurity Day

“Premature birth is a very serious health problem. It is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five worldwide. Babies born too early may have more health issues than babies born on time, and may face long-term health problems that affect the brain, the lungs, hearing or vision. World Prematurity Day on November 17 raises awareness of this serious health crisis. WHO produces guidelines, tools and evidence-based recommendations to help prevent and care for preterm babies.”

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 15 million babies are born too early every year. That is more than 1 in 10 babies. They say that globally, prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5! Half of the babies born at or below 32 weeks die for reasons such as warmth, basic care for infections and breathing difficulties.

What is causing such a problem and at such high numbers?

WHO says that common causes include infections and chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

WHO also stated that “preventing deaths and complications from preterm birth starts with a healthy pregnancy”.

What can you do to lower the risk of it happening to you?

Antibiotics?

Anti-biotics are becoming less and less effective against infection and the WHO says that “Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health.” According to the World Health Organization, chronic disease prevalence is expected to rise by 57% by the year 2020. So despite our best efforts, the problem is getting worse, and the generally accepted solutions are becoming less effective.

If part of the problem is infections and chronic conditions, then lowering the risk means that we need to better deal with infections and chronic conditions, and if possible live a healthier lifestyle with more exercise, and most importantly a better diet including better nutrition. The WHO says that good nutrition together with regular physical activity is the cornerstone of good health. Poor nutrition can on the other hand can lead to increased risk of disease. So what can we really do?

Prevention is better than cure

They say that prevention is better than cure, and if keeping your body healthy can lower your risk and give you a better chance at staving off infection and chronic disease, prolonging your life and giving you more time with your loved ones, shouldn’t it be a priority? But where do you start when it comes to being more healthy? There is so much information out there and it is hard to know who is right and who to trust.

The following diagram is based on the USDA healthy eating pyramid, and includes exercise as the number one item on the agenda for anyone wanting to live a healthy lifestyle.

Wellness Pyramid

Physical activity & weight management

As you can see, exercise and weight management is the most important. Aside from the illnesses that usually accompany being overweight, your joints and organs just can’t go on forever without giving you serious problems as you get older when you really can’t afford to be adding to your health issues. In 2013, the World Health Organization published that “t least one in three of the world’s adult population is overweight and almost one in 10 is obese. Additionally there are over 40 million children under age five who are overweight.” Failure to manage your weight effectively is said to potentially cause heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and some cancers. This is the last thing you need to be worrying about when you are expecting to bring a healthy baby into the world.

Wholegrains

Getting enough whole grains should be easy, unfortunately the quality of wholegrains in what would be staple sources in the average diet such as bread, rice and cereal is not as good as it used to be. Companies now process these items, taking out the oils from those wholegrains in order to prolong their shelf life.

Fruit and Vegetables

Your body needs a specific combination of 13 vitamins and 22 minerals. These vitamins and minerals may increase our immune system, thereby lowering our risk of infection and disease. We should normally be getting enough of these in our fruits and vegetables, among other foods. With the quality of our soils decreasing, the quality of our regular food sources declining at an alarming rate, and the genetically modified strategy backfiring (certain reports are pointing towards GMO’s and certain pesticides being linked to certain cancers) only those who can afford to eat pure, organic fruits and vegetables can still actually afford to eat healthy.

Protein

Protein is made up of amino acids, and our bodies need 22 Amino Acids during the course of our lives to be able to perform at an optimum level. Insufficient amino acid levels could lead to certain conditions, and in extreme cases low protein levels could increase the risk of blood clots. There are 9 essential amino acids, which means that your body can’t make them, and they must be obtained through your diet. But what happens when your body doesn’t have the other 13 amino acids? Well your body will have to go to its muscle and take protein from there, break them down into the required amino acids and use those. So in actual fact, the label “essential amino acids” is a bit misleading to the less educated and they are all needed to maintain a healthy protein balance. Many foods and shakes on the market however, do not contain all 22 amino acids, leaving you in the lurch hoping that you manage to eat enough healthy fish and other protein rich sources on a daily basis.

Sugar and Fat

It is not enough to just try and avoid sugar and fat. Your body may need certain fats for example, such as omega 3 fatty acids. There are 8 families of omega 3, and your body requires all 8 of them to maintain healthy levels. Unfortunately, once again we find that many sources of omega 3 including supplements on the market are packaged with harmful compounds such as mercury and lead, and some even contain petroleum. Then of course we want to avoid unhealthy sugars and fats to lower the risk of diseases like Diabetes and problems with cholesterol.

The points raised in this article may seem to spell doom and gloom, but I do believe that there are healthy alternatives out there. For information on what you can do to improve your health, have a look at the following video:

If you would like to know more about products mentioned in this video, contact me via contact@russelfish.co.za or use my online contact form.

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