My blog is about real estate and building real estate sales businesses, but I’m veering off course with this post. However, I’m going to write about your health, which is more important than your business and way more important than money.
A week ago, I was with someone, who I love very much, at a chemotherapy treatment. These treatments usually last 3 to 5 hours. There was another patient receiving chemotherapy and we were all talking. This other patient had been receiving chemotherapy, on and off, for a year or two. He was struggling with some of the side effects of the treatment. One of the side effects is neurosis, which is numbness in your feet and hands. This complication tends to be permanent and is in addition to several other side effects from cancer treatments.
At one point in the conversation, he said the following:
“I would give anything to be healthy for just one day…”
Here I was worried about various problems with my investments and businesses and he was dealing with a multitude of physical problems. All of my so called problems were trivial when compared to what he was dealing with. It became very clear that our health is something we tend to take for granted. In fact, if you’re healthy right now, you don’t have any real problems.
Cancer has impacted everyone in one way or another. More than likely, you know someone who has cancer. You may even have someone in your family who has cancer. I do and almost everyone I know does, too.
The BIG problem with cancer is we haven’t had any major significant progress in reducing the loss of life. We’ve made a lot of progress on extending life, but not very much progress on saving lives. This is very evident in the graph below:
(I found this chart in great presentation from TEDMED 2009.)
I realize this chart is hard to read. You can click on it to increase the size. It highlights death rates from heart disease, cardiovascular disease and pneumonia/influenza in 1951 compared to 2001. We have made major progress in every life threatening illness, except cancer. As you can see on the right side, we haven’t made any progress in reducing the death rate from cancer in 50 years.
Not good considering the millions of dollars invested to cure this dreaded disease.
The best strategy seems to be prevention.
In a TED 2010 presentation by Dr. William Li, he detailed new strategies focused on preventing cancer. Unfortunately, this presentation isn’t available on Ted.com yet. However, at one point in the presentation he said, “What we eat is our chemotherapy.” He went on to provide a slide highlighting foods proven to help with cancer prevention. Here’s the slide he included in his presenation:
There is obviously a lot more to this slide and the reasoning behind it, as discussed during his presentation. However, the key point to consider is eating these foods 3 times a day may be similar to having chemotherapy 3 times a day as a cancer prevention strategy.
Shortly after watching this presentation, I read a little article in the Readers Digest titled “How to Save Your Own Life.” The article highlighted the results of a new study showing that people who:
- avoid smoking
- exercise three and a half hours a week
- maintain a body mass index of less than 30 (the cutoff point for obesity)
- and eat a diet favoring fruits, vegetables and whole grains
Reduce their risk of developing diabetes, heart attack, stroke, or cancer by a whopping 78%. The suggestions from this new study seem to coincide with Dr. Li’s recommended foods. Unfortunately only 9% of some 23,000 people studied achieve all four of these goals.
I started this article off sharing a story about a man who would give anything to be healthy for just one day. I’d bet if he could go back in time, he would follow these guidelines religiously. The only question remaining is what will you do with this information? Do you value your health or are you taking it for granted?
I’ve made many changes to my daily routine after learning this information because I’ve seen first hand the impact of cancer. I try to exercise for 45 minutes a day. I also try and eat one of the cancer fighting foods included in the chart above with every meal. I’m also drinking green tea every day and I’m not a tea kinda guy! Cancer is a horrible disease that impacts just about everything you do and everyone in your family. You may be able to prevent this from happening. I certainly hope so.