Obesity is not the only health risk your child faces if he eats a diet consisting mainly of processed foods and snacks. As illustrated by a recent study, a junk food diet – with is a largely denatured diet, devoid of "live" nutrients such as healthy bacteria – can also set the stage for asthma, eczema, and a variety of allergies, inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases.
Sadly, as the Western-style diet spreads across the globe, much of the natural microbial diversity that is so crucial to good health is actually starting to disappear! Here, the authors stress the importance of "preserving this treasure of microbial diversity from ancient rural communities worldwide."
Indeed, the importance of eating a gut-healthy diet cannot be underestimated. Your gut plays a major role in your physical and even mental health, and having a healthy gut entails maintaining a balance of "good" and "bad" bacteria – something you simply will not accomplish by eating highly processed, "dead" foods.
Until recently, most doctors dismissed the notion that your digestive system did much of anything outside of breaking down food, but in recent years scientists have revealed just how inaccurate this thinking was.
For example, an estimated 80 percent of your immune system is actually located in your gut, so supporting your digestive health is essential to also supporting your immune system, which is your number one defense system against ALL disease.
Therefore, it should come as no major surprise to find out that lack of beneficial bacteria in your intestines will also allow allergies, inflammation and autoimmune diseases to flourish where they might not otherwise.
Common signs and symptoms that you may need to address your intestinal balance include:
- Gas and bloating
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Sugar cravings, and cravings for refined carb foods
Chances are, if you or your entire family eats a lot of processed junk foods and fast foods, this list may be a description of a more or less an everyday "normal" state for you
So What Foods Should You Avoid Like the Plague?
In my mind this is where most people will get the biggest payoff for the amount of effort involved. The average person consumes more than one gallon of soda per week. Reducing or eliminating soda from your diet is one of the easiest shifts to make.
Most diet sodas are worse than regular sodas, as you can read in my recent review on aspartame. When people ask me what is safer to drink: diet or regular soda, I ask them what they would rather be hit in the head with — a baseball bat or a sledgehammer? It’s a tough call, but I think a case can be made for regular soda being the lesser of two evils…
That said, regular soda with its high sugar content promotes yeast overgrowth, which in turn promotes allergies. In fact, many people with yeast-related allergies and food sensitivities tend to have sugar cravings, which is doubly problematic since it actually feeds the yeast that is already overgrown in their systems.
While many of you are not likely consuming many sodas, it is vital to understand the importance of this simple change for your friends and family who are not as health savvy as you. Gentle persistent encouragement of this principle will have massively profound implications on their health.
Fortunately there are simple alternatives that are relatively easy to implement. The best is pure clean water. I just completed a four-hour video interview with a leading water industry water expert and hope to share that with you in the next few weeks for more details.
For those who are really struggling, you can purchase carbonated water and use flavored liquid stevias for a taste that is very similar to most sodas
Doughnuts and Pastries
Overall these foods are worse than soda as they not only contain sugar, typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup, but they also contain dangerous trans fats. The reason I did not list this one first is that they are not consumed by as many people on a regular basis.
For more information about how trans fats promotes allergies, while saturated fats relieve them, please see this previous article.
Oh, they taste so good, but are ever so bad for you as they are loaded with the worst types of fat on the planet — typically highly refined and genetically modified omega 6 oils, such as corn, canola, and soybean oils.
If you’re still unaware of the link between allergies and genetically engineered food ingredients (particularly soy), please review this recent article by GMO expert, Jeffrey Smith.
These highly processed omega-6 oils are bad enough if you eat them in the form of unheated salad dressing, but when these oils are heated to a high temperature, they transform into a potent mixture that is sure to destroy your health.
Avoid these like the plague. Be particularly careful when ordering hamburgers and other similar foods in a restaurant as most will include fries by default, and once they are at your table they’re hard to resist. So please be sure to order a healthier alternative.
Nearly All Breakfast Cereals
Breakfast is, without question, the single most challenging meal to eat outside of your home. Most of the typical breakfast offerings will drag your health down. The most commonly consumed breakfast are breakfast cereals, which are merely disguised forms of high fructose corn syrup loaded with genetically modified (GM) grains. But pancakes, French toast, waffles, scrambled eggs and rolls don’t do much to improve your health either.
Many may wonder about the scrambled egg concern but the high heat oxidized cholesterol in the eggs and severely damages it. Far better to have the eggs MINIMALLY cooked or better yet raw eggs.
Processed Foods and Snacks
In addition to these specific examples, processed foods in general can contribute to allergies for a number of different reasons. Most processed foods contain a variety of food colorings, flavors, preservatives, and other additives can have a major impact. Junk foods also has a detrimental effect on your gut flora, which has major consequences for your overall health, weight control, and the development of allergies.
The Many Health Benefits of Maintaining Healthy Gut Flora
The ideal ratio between the bacteria in your body is 85 percent "good" and 15 percent "bad." That’s right – you need FAR more beneficial bacteria (probiotics) than you might think in order to maintain the right balance.
The key here is to avoid as many processed foods as you can. This is a challenge because over 90% of the foods that Americans eat are processed and the number source of calories is high fructose corn syrup. So the general principle is to avoid processed foods, but some foods are more particularly pernicious than others so let me give you some examples.
This ratio is essential for:
- The proper development and function of your immune system
- Protection against over-growth of other microorganisms that could cause disease
- Digestion of food and absorption of nutrients
- Producing vitamins, absorbing minerals and eliminating toxins
As you can see, probiotics perform a wide variety of functions, which renders them useful and beneficial for a number of health concerns, including the prevention or control of:
- Food and skin allergies in children
- Premature labor in pregnant women
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Recurrent ear and bladder infections
- Chronic diarrhea
One of the ways friendly bacteria help prevent allergies, infections and inflammatory conditions is by training your immune system to distinguish between pathogens and non-harmful antigens, and to respond appropriately.
When you’re deficient in these healthy bacteria, your immune system is ill equipped to address the many pathogens and antigens entering your system on a daily basis, and health problems can easily ensue.
Your Gut’s Microflora Also Impacts Your Weight
The microflora in your digestive system is also emerging as a major player in weight management, and needless to say, junk food and weight g
Dr. Mercola graduated from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1982. And while osteopaths or D.O.s are licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery just like medical doctors (M.D.s), they bring something extra to the practice of medicine.
Osteopathic physicians practice a "whole person" approach to medicine, treating the entire person — rather than just the symptoms. Focusing on preventive health care, D.O.s help patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don't just fight illness, but help prevent it too. Dr. Mercola started out as most medical physicians do, with a practice emphasizing traditional western medicine — prescribing pills, treating symptoms rather than causes, and subscribing to the typical mainstream medical views. However, after seeing the many failures of traditional medicine, he began to investigate the value of holistic and natural medicine, and apply its principles when treating his patients.
Dr. Mercola strongly believes that the current medical system is largely manipulated and controlled by large corporations whose primary focus is profit. These corporations encourage the use of expensive and potentially dangerous drug and surgical interventions… interventions that do not address the underlying cause of disease. His passion is educating people about this manipulation and deception — and teaching them time-honored, natural, and inexpensive lifestyle alternatives.
So his website, Mercola.com, which started as a small hobby interest in 1997, has now grown to one and a half million subscribers — and increases 50% annually. It is the most frequently visited natural health website today, and ranks overall among the top 5,000 websites worldwide.
Besides being a New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Mercola also founded his own world-renowned Natural Health Center just outside of Chicago, Illinois, where tens of thousands have come to be treated with his multidisciplinary natural approach to health. You can learn more at Mercola.com.
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