Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Health -- and holiness

"Health" is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, third edition, as follows:
1.The overall condition of an organism at a given time. 2. Soundness, especially of body or mind; freedom from disease or abnormality. 3. A condition of optimal well-being: concerned about the ecological health of the area. 4. A wish for someone’s good health often expressed as a toast. [Middle English helthe, from Old English haelth. See kailo- in Appendix.]
kailo- is the Indo-European root for “health” and other words. Looking into the roots of words is extremely edifying. God, originally, gave language, and insight may be derived from root words.
kailo-. Important derivatives are whole, wholesome, health, heal, holy, and hallow.
These are the important words from the same root – look at the company that “health” keeps!
kailo-. Whole, uninjured, of good omen. 1.a. HALE, WHOLE, from Old English hal, hale, whole; b. WHOLESOME, from Old English *halsum (>Middle English holsum), wholesome; c. (HAIL); WASSAIL, from Old Norse heill, healthy; a, b, and c all from Germanic *hailaz. 2. HEALTH, from Old English haelth, from Germanic *hailitho. 3. HEAL, from Old English haelan, to heal, from Germanic *hailjan. 4.a. HOLY, from Old English halig, holy, sacred b. HALLOW, from Old English halgian, to consecrate, bless, from Germanic derivative verb *hailagon. Both a and b from Germanic *hailagaz. [Pokorny kai-lo 520].
John, Christ's apostle, says:
“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 2, NIV).
Holiness, wholesomeness and health are very closely related words. They all have to do with being perfectly – optimally – sound and whole! This word study lends credence to the belief that one should eat “whole” foods for health – rather than fractionated or highly altered foods, such as white sugar and white flour and partially hydrogenated fats.

Recent scientific research confirms that whole natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, olive oil and wine have many health-enhancing and protecting qualities that industrially “refined” foods lack.
“If everyone ate at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, that alone would reduce cancer incidence by as much as 20 percent,” says Melanie Polk, director of nutrition education at the American Institute for Cancer Research. (Newsweek, Winter 2001, Special Edition, Health for Life, page 45).
Newsweek summarizes the findings of a 25-year study of 120,000 nurses by Harvard Medical School researchers in What the Nurses Know:
Eat Right. This one is trickier than it sounds. “The type of fat is more important than the quantity of fat,” says Manson. “There are good fats and there are bad fats.” Many “low fat” processed snacks (and most brands of margarine) are oozing with artery-clogging transsaturated fats, also known as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.” The nurse’s study exposed their previously unsuspected role as the deadliest form of dietary fat. Stick with natural snacks such as nuts and fruits. And remember that overdosing on sugar can be as bad as too much fat.”
Manson is one of the four main co-authors of Healthy Women, Healthy Lives, the book they wrote. Partially hydrogenated fats, produced by industrial processing, are unnatural, and unlike whole natural fats, have no nutritional value other than calories. Their “shelf life” is very long, and they're good carriers for flavors and colors, which explains their popularity with food processors. But for your health they are much worse than lard!
Macular degeneration “is the leading cause of blindness in those over 65. It’s devastating and irreversible. But you can help prevent it by packing your diet with a compound called lutein, which is found in dark leafy greens, such as kale, spinach and collard greens. Lutein works in two ways. As an antioxidant, it absorbs the free radicals that damage the rods and cones in the macula, the supersensitive center of the retina. As a yellow pigment, it also absorbs energetic blue light before it can injure the rods and cones. “Lutein functions as internal sunglasses,” says Billy Hammond, professor of vision science at the University of Georgia.

Lutein also helps reduce the incidence of cataracts, which arise from a lifetime of free-radical damage to the lens of the eye. The Nurses’ Health Study from Harvard found that those who dined regularly on two especially lutein-rich foods – spinach and kale – had up to 40 percent fewer cataract surgeries. Those who eat the most foods rich in vitamin C also reduce their risks, according to a new study from Tufts.” (Newsweek, page 46).
Your parents really have your best interests at heart when they enjoin you to “eat your spinach”!


Blogger Esther said...

Ever read Eat to Live? by Joel Fuhrman or Mc Dougall for Women?
Great resources!

3:02 PM  

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