The Lancet journal recently published a study framing the daily diet as a bigger threat to our health and mortality, than smoking. So much so that one in 5 deaths around the world, is associated with the nutrition (or lack of) in our diet. You might be thinking it’s all about fat and sugar – but be prepared to be surprised.
Actually, salt is the biggest threat of all!We may not know it, but salt is infused in the bread we eat, the sauces we apply to our food (e.g. soy sauce, as a major culprit) and of course processed foods – those cheap, convenient and deliciously attractive packets we pick up when we are in a hurry, or just in need of a fix. But we may fail to appreciate that in our rush to make time and juggle the demands before us, we are inadvertently shortening our lifetime. If that isn’t false economy, it’s hard to say what is.
14% of deaths can be attributed to diet.It’s not about weight, but the poor quality in the foods we eat. Over time, this damages the cardiovascular system, and invites cancer into our homes. It isn’t just about having too much salt, which accounts for 3 million deaths each year globally, but also about the lack of whole grains in the diet (related to 3 million deaths) and as we may expect, too little fruit and vegetables (associated with 2 million deaths). We also don’t get enough nuts, seeds, omega-3 (sea-food) or fibre, and these deficiencies also take a massive toll.
So how does salt actually kill us? It’s about the impact salt has on our blood pressure, which adds tension to the inner workings of the body, and links directly to stroke or heart attack. Through a few dietary changes, we could ensure we took in enough whole grains, fruit and vegetables, which would protect our heart and blood vessels, in many ways.
We are increasingly aware of the impact of type-2 diabetes (a national crisis in the UK at this moment in time), which can be controlled, prevented and in some cases even reversed, with a focus on diet and exercise. We have to start focussing much more on healthy choices of food, rather than just what we need to avoid. People may quibble about enjoying life – perhaps even being willing to lose a year or two at the end of the lifespan, if this means eating what brings us joy and happiness. But what we really need to consider is not just the years in our lives, but the life in our years! Being healthy, strong and flexible in our physical bodies will allow us to do so much more, particularly as we get older.
Here in the UK, we may not be as challenged with our diets as some countries in South Asia or the Far East. But we are a long way from the relative health to be found in Mediterranean countries, and even France. Denmark and Belgium beat us too.We may not be able to change the whole country, but we can make some changes as individuals, and within our families. The habits we set for our children, should be as rich as the financial inheritance we may wish them to have some day, if not more.
With this in mind, we are regularly offer advice on nutritional cleansing and nutritional wellness, with experienced and well-trained Nutritional Therapists. We also have weight loss experts at Solihull Well Being Clinic, who use medical consultation, psychological therapy and hypnotherapy to manage unhelpful eating patterns and habits. Getting in touch to explore options may be the best gift you have ever offered – either to yourself, or a loved one.
Psychotherapeutic Counsellor and Hypnoterapist
Founder, Living Well Therapies
Co-Director Solihull Well Being Clinic
Menka works independently with adults, children and teenagers who have a range of problems, especially stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, habit problems and issues with weight. She uses person centred, solution focussed, NLP, mindfulness and hypnotherapy approaches. She has extensive experience in working with special educational needs and can offer therapy in various languages. She is founder of Living Well Therapies, and Co-Director at Solihull Well Being Clinic.