God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food."Genesis 1:29
Born in 1483, Thomas Parr is said to have lived to the incredible age of 152! If true, that means he saw 10 sovereigns on the throne of England, including the entire 50-year reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
In 1635, King Charles I invited Parr to his palace and inquired as to how the old man managed to have such a long life. Parr answered that he had lived a simple life as a farmer, eating mostly potatoes, fruit, and oatmeal.Unfortunately, "Old Parr" was not accustomed to the rich foods served at the palace. That night after dining, he became very ill — and died.
King Charles felt so terrible for having killed Britain’s oldest citizen with royal delicacies that he commanded Parr be buried in Westminster Abbey, where his grave can still be seen today.It appears that Parr was living proof of the connection between a longer, stronger life and what you eat.
What was the original diet for humanity?
According to the Bible, after Creation, Adam and Eve were instructed to eat fruits, grains, and nuts. God also instructed them to eat vegetables: "You shall eat the herb of the field" (Genesis 3:18 NKJV). These were the original God-given dietary plans for those living up to the time of the Flood.
Following the Flood, due to the global obliteration of vegetation, a total plant-based diet was impossible for Noah and his family. In order to provide a consistent food source, God allowed for the eating of meat. However, God also designated the healthiest variety of animal for consumption, referring to these as "clean." (See Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14:3-21.) Of course, instead of going into the ark in pairs, clean animals went in by sevens!
Even though it was necessary at the time, meat eating apparently contributed to a tremendous decline in longevity. Before the Flood, human life spans remained steady at around 900 years (Genesis 5). After the Flood, we find that Noah’s son Shem lived to be 600. Only nine generations later, Abraham lived to be just 175. Today, the average life expectancy is just a fraction of that of our pre-Flood ancestors. But if a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains positively affected their longevity, could a return to the original diet extend our lives today?
Even though God permitted the eating of meat, He warned people not to eat meat that still has its lifeblood in it (Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 3:17, 1 Samuel 14:32–34). Indeed, some tribes in Africa, like the Maasai, consume blood as part of their diet. Autopsies performed on 50 Maasai men showed extensive heart disease. Though their extremely physical lifestyle offers some protection, they still have the worst life expectancy in the modern world (45 years for women and 42 years for men).
What follows the swallows?
A proper diet starts with proper digestion. Chewing food begins this process, so be sure to chew your food well! While food is still in the mouth, an enzyme (salivary amylase) begins to break it down.
Once swallowed, food is referred to as chyme. The chyme then makes its way down the esophagus and into the stomach, where stomach acid continues the complex chemical digestive process.
After this is complete, chyme passes into the small intestine, where a different enzyme breaks down carbohydrates. Bile is also secreted from the gallbladder to help digest fats, and the pancreas adds enzymes to further break it down too. The small intestine absorbs most of the nutrients as the chyme passes into the large intestine. At this point, digestion is mostly complete … and, well, you know the rest of the story.
The digestion process starts before you eat. It begins when you smell something irresistible or when you see a favorite food. The entire process of digestion will continue for the next 29 hours or so.
What do you need to know about nutrition?
The five basic components of food are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Carbohydrates are sources of starches, sugars, and fiber. Starch and sugar are converted into glucose, which is the body’s main fuel. Fiber, found primarily in plant foods, acts as a bulking agent that helps keep the intestines clean.
Proteins are broken down by the body and converted into amino acids, which are the building blocks for hormones, enzymes, and structural components of the body, such as muscle tissue.
Fats are the most concentrated form of energy, supplying over twice as many calories per gram than protein or carbohydrates. It can also be efficiently stored for later use. The three natural types of fats are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated. The unsaturated fats are by far the healthiest form, especially when it comes from plant sources. Diets rich in refined saturated fats have been linked with numerous diseases.
Vitamins and minerals are essential components of our diet. Whole foods, which have been refined as little as possible, naturally contain the highest amount of these nutrients. Phytochemicals, found only in plants, are added bonuses thought to play a role in the prevention of many diseases.
Don’t you need some cholesterol in your diet?
Cholesterol comes packaged in different ways. High density lipoprotein (HDL) is the healthy form of cholesterol and actually helps to remove bad cholesterol from the body, returning it to the liver for recycling. Here’s a simple way to remember the good and bad of cholesterol: HDL is "healthy," LDL is "lousy," and VLDL is "very lousy."
Cholesterol is found only in meat and animal products, such as milk and eggs. However, newborn babies are the only humans who actually need a dietary source of cholesterol — which ideally comes from breast milk! Because of the liver's ability to produce cholesterol, we simply don't need a dietary source of cholesterol past breastfeeding age.
Did you know that skipping breakfast could be deadly? In one study, skipping breakfast was linked to an increased risk of premature death. By far, the best meal to skip or, at least minimize, is dinner. Another study reported better weight loss, improvement in diabetic conditions, and increased thyroid efficiency among a group of 595 people who consumed their last meal of the day by 3:00PM.
Research proves the connection between nutrition, health, and longevity.
Cardiovascular Disease: Is it harmful to have a little cholesterol here and there?
One of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease is following a cholesterol-free diet. In fact, one study found that consuming a balanced plant-based diet reduced the incidence of heart disease by 86 percent. Another scientific article point out that a total vegetarian (vegan) diet could prevent approximately 90 percent of all strokes and 97 percent of all heart attacks!
Indeed, research shows that consuming animal byproducts has a harmful effect on health. According to Dr. Hans Diehl, founder of CHIP, the Coronary Health Improvement Project, "The average risk of heart disease for a man eating meat, eggs, and dairy products is 45 percent. The risk for a man who leaves off meat is 15 percent. However, the risk of a vegetarian who leaves off meat, eggs, and dairy products drops to only 4 percent."
Do some foods actually offer protection against heart disease?
Yes! It has been found that the "healthy fats" founds in nuts and seeds can protect the heart. In one study, people who ate nuts at least five times a week lowered their risk of heart attack by 50 percent. Another study found that people who consumed high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (found in walnuts) had an almost 50 percent reduction in the risk of a fatal heart attack. Studies also show that these fats might even prolong life among those who already suffer with heart disease.
Eating ample amounts of whole grains has also been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 25 percent. In another finding, women who consumed the largest amount of whole grains had a 31 percent reductio in the incidence of stroke!
Finally, eating your fruits and vegetables can also protect you against heart disease. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that consuming leafy green vegetables reduced the risk of heart disease by 23 percent. Furthermore, those who consumed the largest amounts of fruits and vegetables had a 31 percent lower stroke risk. Fruits and vegetables are also naturally high in fiber, which has been shown to lower LDL (lousy) cholesterol.
God knew what He was doing with the diet in Eden! Nuts contain the antioxidant vitamin E, folic acid (which reduces homocysteine levels), and plant fiber (which can reduce cholesterol levels). In addition, nuts contain arginine, a precursor to nitric acid, a substance made in the walls of blood vessels that prevent clotting.
Diabetes: Is it true that diabetes is caused by eating sugar?
If eating simple carbohydrates (highly refined foods, such as sugar) contributes to excess body weight, then yes, the risk of type 2 diabetes is increased. However, research has shown that consuming complex plant-based carbohydrates (food as grown) actually reduces the risk of developing diabetes. One study of 36,000 women in Iowa found that those who ate the largest amounts of unrefined carbohydrates and fiber had the least incidence of diabetes. Furthermore, a study conducted at the National Public Health Institute in Finland found that people who are the largest quantity of whole grains had a 61 percent reduced risk of developing diabetes!
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body is unable to produce and properly use and store glucose (a form of sugar). Glucose backs up in the bloodstream, causing blood sugar to rise dangerously high. Signs of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, increased hunger, blurry vision, irritability, tingling or numbness in hands or feet, wounds that don't heal, extreme fatigue, and frequent skin, bladder, or gum infections.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture study revealed that Americans eat an average of 32 teaspoons of sugar each day in their foods.
What about fat?
The two most significant risk factors in developing diabetes have to do with fat. Being overweight is one risk factor - but the most prominent factor is consuming large amounts of dietary fat. A study involving 1,300 Colorado residents determined that those with low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets were much more likely to develop diabetes. In another study of young men, researchers fed high-fat, low-carb diets to one group and a high-carb, low-fat diet to another. The group with the high-fat diet developed "chemical diabetes," but the low-fat group had no signs of diabetes by the conclusion of the study.
Eating highly reined foods has also been shown to increase the risk of developing diabetes. One study determined that consumption of partially hydrogenated oils is responsible for approximately 40 percent of all cases of type 2 diabetes in the United States!
God knew about fats. He commanded Israel to avoid bad fat - "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Ye shall eat no manner of fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat" (Leviticus 7:23).
Can type 2 diabetes be reversed with diet?
A total vegetarian diet not only prevents but can even reverse diabetes. In a study conducted at the world renowned Pritikin Center, 40 medication-dependent diabetics were given a low-fat, plant-based diet combined with moderate exercise. Within 26 days of the start of the program, 34 participants were able to discontinue all diabetic medication!
Do not stop your diabetes medication. Talk to your doctor first about your intention to invest in a good lifestyle.
Cancer: Does food impact your risk?
Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants - some of the best cancer-fighting ingredients that exist! In fact, one study found that men who eat three or more servings of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) per week lowered their risk of prostate cancer by 41 percent. The World Cancer Research Fund found that people who consumed five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day reduced cancer risk by approximately 50 percent. Vegetables, in particular, were found to help prevent cancers of the rectum and colon.
Conversely, diets rich in red meat and cholesterol have been linked to colon cancer. In fact, a study of 88,751 American nurses found that those consuming red meat daily were 2.5 times more likely to develop colon cancer that those who consumed less than 1 serving per month.
Finally, numerous studies have shown the relationship between a high-sugar diet and cancer. High-sugar intake has been linked to an increased risk of cancers of the colon, rectum, breast, ovaries, uterus, prostate, kidney, as well as cancers of the central nervous system. One of the reasons suggested for sugar's effect on cancer is that sugar weakens the immune system. A study published by the Southern California Dental Association found that after consuming only 24 teaspoons of sugar, the ability of white blood cells to destroy bacteria was decreased by 92 percent!
Mental Health: Food for thought?
Not only is a meat and dairy diet risk factor for cardiovascular disease, studies have actually shown that elevated levels of cholesterol can affect mental health. One study revealed that elevated levels of cholesterol are a significant factor in mild cognitive impairment.
Diet also plays a significant role in the development of Alzheimer's disease: Consuming large amounts of partially hydrogenated fats increases the risk of Alzheimer's by almost 2.5 times. Another study revealed that eating meat increased the diseases associated with Metabolic Syndrome, characterized by high insulin levels, which may also trigger Alzheimer's disease.
Obesity: Does the type of food you eat really affect weight gain?
It’s a fact: the traditional Western diet leads to increased rates of obesity. Statistically, First World countries have dramatically higher rates of obesity than developing countries.
Indeed, an astounding 63 percent of American adults are overweight – and 26 percent are suffering obesity.
Unfortunately, children are also suffering. Research focusing on Japanese children has shown that an increase in meat and dairy product consumption increases childhood obesity by more than three times. The CDC also reports that approximately 13 percent of America’s youth are overweight. Obese teens have a significantly shorter lifespan, dying at an average age of just 46! We also know today that people who are overweight have a significantly higher risk of developing diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, and other potentially serious diseases.
Can soft drinks contribute to a weight problem?
Yes, big time! Soft drinks are the largest sources of sugar in teh American diet. In fact, daily soft drink consumption adds roughly 9 teaspoons of sugar to the diet of adolescent girls and about 14 teaspoons for adolescent boys. According to the USDA, sugar consumption has been steadily increasing since 1982, with highly refined foods as the largest contributor. The average 12-ounce can of soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar – but even white bread contains roughly 3 teaspoons per slice!
Will “grazing” help you lose weight faster?
The terms “grazing” refers to decreasing the size of meals while increasing the frequency. this approach has been suggested by weight loss “experts” as a logical approach to keep the body’s blood sugar at steady levels throughout the day. However, such a diet can be harmful. Several studies have shown that snacking between meals increases the risk of developing colon cancer. The healthiest approach to stable blood sugar levels is to avoid highly refined foods and to increase your intake of dietary fiber.
Too much of a good thing …
Even an extremely healthy diet can be unhealthy: Overeating is the number one cause of obesity in the United States and has been linked to the development of numerous digestive disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux, hiatal hernia, and cancers of the esophagus and stomach.
Eat for Strength…and Enjoy It!
A plant-based diet might sound bland…but you can transition tastefully!
If you feel like the satisfaction of a meat diet could worth the health risk, stop! Yes, a slice of tofu tastes different than a sirloin steak – but eating a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, a tasteless diet. Food was meant to be enjoyed! Fortunately, there are some great optimal-diet cookbooks to help make the transition. Living longer and stronger really is worth the investment.
The Bread of Life
Complex carbohydrates, omega-3 acids, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and a plant-based diet can give us a better quality of life and increase out longevity. However, we all will eventually face death. Yet if there was a food that promised to reverse the ravages of death and give eternal youth, would you eat it? There is only one "food" that promises such amazing results.
Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger...And the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out" (John 6:35, 37). What He said to His disciples 2,000 years ago, Jesus says to you today.
Do you desire to come to Him? He has promised not to send you away hungry. Visit www.GodLovesJasper.com to discover more about Jesus and everlasting life.