Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An Apple a Day

We have all been told countless times, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." But do any of us truly understand how valuable this advice is? The past few weeks, I have eaten out many more times than I have cooked, and made excuse after excuse to avoid the gym. With all of the colds and illnesses going around combined with my sub-par immune system, I finally got myself to the grocery store. While it is incredibly tempting to buy chocolate ice cream, halloween candy, and frozen pizza, I opted for the healthy options, like apples, grapes, and lean turkey. I will be the first person to admit that I can take eating unhealthy to another level; but I have been raised to understand that eating poorly now, will most certainly catch up with me.

So, having just gotten back from the library, I was in need of a late night snack. Instead of filling my body with greasy potato chips or a sugary snack, I chose an apple and some grapes. It is quite amazing how different a healthy snack leaves you feeling as opposed to a fattening one. It is as if my body is thanking me for the nutrients. Normally, the chocolate chips cookies I would chow down on would leave me feeling like a lazy lump with an upset stomach. However, tonight I do not need to chase my snack with Tums. Tonight, I will sleep feeling good about my decision.

I am not writing this to inform everyone of my late night eating habits, instead I am hoping to shed light on some of the most basic knowledge we have. EAT HEALTHY. How many news articles and documentaries have to be made before we listen? Well, if the effects of obesity are not enough to motivate you to change, maybe these facts will...

While the media loves to tell us that our cell phones, hair dyes, and microwaves are going to kill us, they are much less threatening than our lifestyle habits. Moderate consumption of alcohol is common among Americans, yet it has been linked to an increased risk for breast cancer. Smoking, of course, will also increase one's chance of being diagnosed. Weight is also linked to our risk for breast cancer. We have all heard these facts over and over again, but let me put this a little differently.

Breast cancer is primarily driven by estrogen. Our weight and being obese leads to an increased amount of fat. Fat cells make estrogen. Get it?

In fact, being heavy can increase our chances by as much as 40%.

Now, do not take this the wrong way. Estrogen is a natural part of all of us. However, it can also fuel the growth of breast cancer. So we should be aware of the power of estrogen and it's effects on our bodies. Do not give estrogen the power to take over. Stay in charge of your health and of your body. Eat your fruits and veggies because they too are a key in minimizing our risk for breast cancer. So, next time someone tells you that an apple a day will keep the doctors away, listen; because of the estimated 230,000 cases of breast cancer to be diagnosed this year, less than 10% will be due to inherited genes.

I have a long way to go before I am truly 'healthy'. I could cut out my terrible sweet tooth and walk to class instead of driving. However, I make an effort everyday to achieve my goals. I find it easiest to take it day by day instead of focusing on making some drastic change over night. No one is perfect but I cannot emphasize enough, you are the best advocate for yourself. Do not be the one to destroy your body. Love your body and in return it will love you.