It is a sad fact that most people pay little attention to their health until it is at risk. It is only then that people truly realise that health and wellbeing is far more important than money, and that all the money in the world cannot always buy health.
From an early age we learn that prevention is better than cure - a stitch in time saves nine. Nowhere is this more true than in caring for our health, and with our health we don't always get a second chance if something goes wrong.
With the exception of some factors determined by genetics our general state of health is essentially determined by our lifestyle - our diet, the exercise we get, the respect we have for our bodies. All of these are the key determiners of our present and future health.
There are a number of things we can do to be healthy but essentially it boils down to this - we must live as nature intends. By eating healthy natural foodstuffs, by exercising in the open air, and by listening to our bodies we can have a positive influence on our health - even in the midst of factors we cannot control such as chronic disease.
More than half of all people are afflicted by digestive disease. Many people opt for so called convenience foods these days - these foods are rich in ingredients that are essentially poison to the healthy working of our bodies. People pay the price of these 'convenience' foods with the inconvenience of chronic ill health.
It is true, that even "bad" foods (like alcohol and tobacco) in small quantities are useful and "good" foodstuff (for instance vitamins) become harmful when overdosed. A glass of wine is useful for the cardio-vascular system; a cigarette can speed the functioning of the digestive system and relieve stress. Vitamins stimulate everything, including the growth of malign cells! There are good and bad fats ~ ones we need and ones that harm us.
Another factor for our physical health is our mental health, although it is oversimplified to separate them, because they are so interconnected. Our emotional status affects our health and stress contributes to so many diseases - cancer, heart attacks, mental diseases, etc. In the developed countries (USA, Japan, and Western Europe) mental diseases and disorders are the number one reason for disabilities.
For instance, depression can be considered a minor disorder - so many people suffer from it for years and since they are still alive, it cannot be that dangerous. Yes, it is true, that one does not die immediately of depression, but when people are depressed, they either eat more (chocolates, fat- rich foods) or refuse to eat at all, which in turn impacts their physical health.
The world in which we live can have a profound impact on our health. Pollution, noise and even radiation are facts of life in industrialised nations and they have a very negative effect on our lives. This can be counteracted by taking trips to places with fresh air like mountains.
Sports and exercise are proven friends of health. Moderate physical activity at least two times a week is relaxing to body and soul for old and for young. Besides burning calories, regular exercise helps one feel happier and in good shape. This in turn affects positively his or her health.
Peter Sachford is the webmaster and operator of FP Health which is a popular and extensive resource for health information. For more information, plus Health links, articles and newsletter go to: http://www.fphealth.com