The Bible is not a nutrition textbook. However, it gives us all the necessary guidance for righteous and healthy living. “For
whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning…” (Romans 15:4; 2Timothy 3:16,17). The dietary laws God gave to the Israelites through Moses in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 show that God is interested in the food we eat. One of the reasons why God gave them those laws at that time was to protect them from certain diseases. As a person living in a world of increasing famines, diseases, environmental pollution and poverty, you need to pay close attention to what you eat and how you eat because your health is directly determined by what you eat. We must prepare our bodies for vitality if we are to be effective in carrying out our domestic responsibilities as mothers and wives as well as our Lord's Great Commission.
The Christian's body is God's temple by virtue of the fact that God the Holy Spirit indwells her (1 Corinthians 3:16). So to do anything injurious to this body constitutes a sin. Just as we teach our toddlers not to eat any piece of trash found on the ground so we learn from the dietary laws God gave the Israelites that we have to eat right in order to live well and be protected from diseases. Someone said, “If we only know enough, all diseases could be prevented, and could be cured, through proper nutrition.”
(1) Little or No Meat
Research has shown that the digestion of animal protein (with the exception of cultured diary products such as buttermilk and yoghurt) depletes the body's natural supply of pancreatic enzymes believed to be essential for destroying an invading malignancy. Hence, diet therapists often call for little or no meat.
(2) Whole Natural Food
Because processed foods are notoriously void of many essential nutrients and may also have cancer-causing additives, innovative doctors stress the importance of whole, natural foods in the diet.
(3) Raw Fruits and Vegetables
Most doctors using nutritional therapy, especially for cancer, recommend that 80 percent or more of the fruits and vegetable in the diet be raw. Reason: only in raw foods are the maximum amounts of enzymes, vitamins and minerals preserved. Due to their nutritional value and cleansing effect, raw vegetable juices play a major role in the degenerative disease therapy.
(4) High Fiber Content
Research has revealed a definite connection between colon cancer and other degenerative diseases, and the low fiber diet characteristic of highly processed foods. A high fiber diet results in frequent elimination and better cleansing of toxins from the colon. Whole natural foods such as whole grains, raw fruits and raw vegetables all have high fiber content.
Preservatives are chemicals added to processed food either to prevent quality deterioration or micro-organism growth. Either way, they result in extending the shelf life. The concern over preservatives focuses mostly around three areas:
1) Food needs to be decomposed in digestion; do preservatives hamper digestion and assimilation of foods?
2) Since preservatives are inorganic chemicals, are our bodies being “embalmed” by them?
3) Many food additives have been found to cause cancer; do preservatives encourage cancer? Let's examine some of them.
(A) SODIUM NITRITE
Most processed meats including hot dogs, hams, bacon and sausages contain sodium nitrite as preservative. The meat processing industry uses the ingredient as a colour fixer to make foods look more attractive and appealing. Yet sodium nitrite is a precursor to some potent cancer-causing chemicals that accelerate the formation and growth of cancer cells throughout the body. According to Mark Adams, author of the Grocery Warning Manual, “When consumers eat sodium nitrite in popular meat products, nitrosamines (cancer-causing chemicals) are formed in the body where they promote the growth of various cancers.”
(B) SODIUM BENZOATE
Also known as benzoic acid, sodium benzoate is often used as a natural preservative in liquid drinks (soft drinks, juices etc) and in processed foods such as jams, salad dressings and pickles. According to nutrition experts, by itself, there's little or no evidence that sodium benzoate causes any problems in people. But when mixed with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), a chemical reaction occurs and benzene is formed. Unfortunately, benzene is a proven cancer-causing chemical. In an effort to make their drinks more nutritious, many soft drink manufacturers in recent years are adding vitamin C to their drinks and juices. Since most of these drinks already contain sodium benzoate, the mixture poses serious health risks.
Calcium propionate and sodium propionate are mold inhibitors in bread. Propionates have been shown to cause allergic reactions in the gastro-intestinal area and migraine headaches.
Flavorings form the largest category of food additives. They are often added to processed foods. Most of these are synthetic. They are not food and tests are revealing their dangers. Common salt (Sodium Chloride) the oldest flavoring should be taken sparingly because it is not food, it cannot be digested or assimilated. When taken in excess, it causes harm to the heart and robs the body of calcium. Many other synthetic flavors and flavor-enhancers exist. Food producers use them because consumers have demanded more and more flavors to tickle their taste buds. These on analysis are found to be detrimental to health. Colorings, dyes, and artificial sweeteners are to be avoided as much as possible.
(Psalm 103:1-5) In Genesis 1:26-31, the Bible says that God has blessed man and given every herb (plant) bearing seed for meat, that is, for food so as to have a healthy body. From scientific findings, food has been discovered to contain curative properties. Food is regarded as a potent medicine. People who eat right will build up healthy and strong bodies. The following are some foods/fruits and what they can do in the body:
1. PAPAYA (PAWPAW):
High in digestive properties, with tonic effect on the stomach.
A good blood medicine; lowers blood cholesterol; thins blood; retards clotting in the heart; regulates blood sugar and relieves bronchial congestion.
: Lowers the rate of lung cancer; rich in beta-carotene; also an effective blood thinner.
Lowers blood cholesterol; thins blood, and stimulates the immune system.
Helps lowers blood cholesterol.
Promotes good digestive effects in the intestinal tract.
Cooling effects on the body; purifying effect on the bowel; used as a digestive aid.
Rich in fiber and vitamins.
An excellent blood-builder.
Rich in vitamins; lowers the risk of cancer, for example, of the colon; kills bacteria, viruses and prevents ulcers.
Cut down the chances of contacting cancer of the pancreas; good for the eyes and hairs; eaten to prevent constipation; lowers blood cholesterol.
Stimulates activity of the digestive organs thereby relieving problems associated with poor digestion; also used to emulsify cholesterol and loosen it from the arterial walls.
13. EGG PLANTS (GARDEN EGG):
For balancing diets that are heavy in starch and protein; blocks certain viruses and cancer-causing agents; helps protect the arteries from cholesterol damage.
14. WATER MELON:
Rich in vitamins.
15. WALNUTS: Rich in fiber and vitamins; lowers blood cholesterol and regulates blood sugar.
16. TOMATO: Supplies beta-carotene and tycopene (anti-cancer agent).
17. YOGHURT: Prevents intestinal infection; contains chemicals that prevent ulcers; improves bowel functions; lowers blood cholesterol and strengthens the immune system. Rich in calcium; good for bone and teeth. Scientists have found several cancer-fighting properties in yoghurt.
18. SOYA BEAN: Regulates functions of the colon; said to reduce constipation; prevents bowel problems; used to reduce blood cholesterol; regulates blood sugar; lowers blood pressure; contains a chemical called lignans that helps to fight off breast and colon cancer.
19. POP CORN: Good source of intestinal roughage.
20.PUMPKIN: Lowers rate of lung cancer; rich in beta-carotene.
21. PINEAPPLE: Excellent blood builder; used to aid digestion and catarrh conditions. Also good for bone building.
22. PEARS: A good intestinal and bowel regulator.
23. ORANGE: Protects the arteries from diseases; fights arterial plaque and lowers blood cholesterol; citrus fruits have definite anticancer capabilities.
24. OLIVE: Said to be good for heart diseases; thins blood; lowers blood pressure; and reduces cholesterol.
25. HONEY: Has some disinfectant properties for wound and sores; recommended for the relief of asthma; soothes sore throats; calms nerves and induces sleep. Don't give to a child under one year.
26. GRAPES: A good blood purifier; also good for catarrh conditions.
27. AVOCADO: Good for colitis(an inflammatory bowel disease) and ulcers.
28. APPLE: Keeps the cardiovascular system healthy by stabilizing blood sugar and lowering blood cholesterol ; people who eat more apples have higher resistance to cold and upper respiratory ailments. Apple skins are recommended to help control urinary infections.
29. SPINACH: Good for blood supply, and helps with eye problem; eases the bowels, and provides relief from catarrh.
30. WHEAT: Rich in 16 minerals, iron, phosphorus and calcium including vitamin E.
31. JUICE: Juices from guava, carrot, cucumber, beet, tomatoes, apple, pawpaw etc. are rich in vitamins and minerals.
It is worth noting that some foods should not be mixed or eaten together for health reasons. Wrong food combination often results in indigestion or poor digestion. Therefore:
* Do not eat acidic fruits (oranges, grapefruit, pineapples, tomatoes) with carbohydrates. It prevents proper digestion. Rather, take acid fruits 15-30 minutes before the meal.
* Do not eat two concentrated proteins at the same meal e.g. nuts and meat, egg and milk, cheese and milk, cheese and egg etc to prevent high cholesterol level.
* Do not eat melons (water melon, musk melon, cantaloupe etc) with other foods. They should be taken alone because they decompose rapidly.
* Take milk alone. For adults, yoghurt is easier to digest than milk. Choose low-fat or non-fat varieties of dairy products.
* Overeating starchy foods at a meal may lead to fermentation and poisoning of the body. Diabetic patients especially should avoid meals that contain only carbohydrate.
* Do not eat fats with proteins; avoid fatty meat; use lean meat, white meat (chicken, turkey, rabbit etc) and fish. As much as possible, also avoid the following: * Eating snacks between meals.
* Drinking caffeinated products.
* Eating fried foods.
* Eating junk foods candy, cookies, meat pies etc.
* Eating too much meat.
* Eating salad with excessive salad dressing.
* Eating vegetables drenched with butter or sour cream.
* Taking dessert (cake, custard) at every meal.
Rather, go for:
* Fresh fruits and vegetables.
* Healthful snacks, decaffeinated fruit drinks, whole grain crackers etc.
* Whole-wheat flour or other whole grain flours. You can purchase the grains, clean and grind them yourself.
* Cold-pressed cooking oil e.g olive oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil etc.
* Yoghurt - plain or frozen.
* Vitamin and mineral supplements.
* Organically grown fruits and vegetables.
* Honey, instead of sugar.
* Nuts (raw, unsalted almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, soy nuts etc). And always read labels and choose foods free from sugar, bad-fats etc.
Questions or Comments about Eating Right and Living Well? Leave your concerns in the contact form here and we would get back to you.