Monday, September 19, 2011

The Role of Juicing in Reversing Chronic Degenerative Disease

Chronic degenerative disease in the United States has far superseded an epidemic. As a US citizen you have a 75% chance of dying from a chronic degenerative disease (see chart below). That is a staggering number! You only have a 25% chance of dying from old age or natural causes, the way most of prefer to exit this life. According to former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop, of the 2.4 million deaths that occur in the United States each year, 75% are the result of avoidable nutritional factor diseases. That is a very different picture than one gets from visiting with your local MD or at the time of diagnosis. When you are diagnosed with a chronic degenerative disease, whether it be cancer, heart disease or Alzheimer's, how often are you told by your doctor that there is a 75% chance that your current disease was caused by a problem with your diet? If you WERE told this how much differently would you approach your disease? It is not entirely your medical doctor's fault. Less then 7% of MD's have any nutritional training in medical school and of the 7% that do most do not complete more then 1 semester of training in nutrition. If the disease they are trying to treat is caused by something they have no training or experience in how skilled are they at treating and reversing the root cause of your disease? The answer is not very. The responsibility for seeking out treatment and care relevant and directly related to reversing and healing the body lies with the consumer or patient. But if the patient is given false and misleading information, such as your disease is caused by heredity or unknown causes in totality, and not given the correct information, that there is a 75% chance your disease is caused by your diet, the consumer has no way of knowing.

If the cause of your disease is almost completely caused by what you are eating does it make sense to ingest a pharmaceutical medication to treat the root of the disease or does it make more sense to correct the cause of your disease, your diet? The answer seems straight forward yet most individuals facing a chronic degenerative disease do little to nothing to change their diet. This in turns continues feeding the root cause of the disease. When the root of the disease is never addressed or corrected how likely do you think it is that your body will be able to heal or reverse the disease?

The epidemic of chronic degenerative disease mainly lies in what it is we are eating and what we are not eating. For thousands of years our ancestors lived off the land. They grew and raised what they ate. They didn't use chemicals or advanced growing techniques, such an genetically engineered growing methods. Their livestock lived and fed on the open range and they ate in tune with the seasons. If it couldn't be grown in the current weather, in the area in which you lived you didn't eat it! Most of the diet was comprised of fruits, vegetables and grains. There was meat consumption but it was limited and eaten for special occasions. Processed and refined foods were unheard of, if you wanted a snack you didn't open a package, you went out a picked it.

The more we learn the more we know about the body. We know the body needs a plentiful supply of vitamins, minerals and trace elements to function optimally. It needs foods that it can digest and eliminate effectively. In very recent time we are now learning the body also needs phytochemcials. We still know relatively little about the these amazing chemicals but the more we learn the more in awe we become (phytochemcials are discussed in detail a bit later). So without giving the body what it needs it cannot run effectively or optimally. On the other side of the coin what does the body do with all that it can't use or doesn't need? Well for instance, and as one example, we know that white and processed foods, such as white breads and pastas clog and become stuck in various regions of the digestive system most notably the colon. Just take a white piece of bread and place it in a cup of water and see what it turns into. This will give you a good idea of what it turns into as it enters your body. A pasty, thick, sticky substance. When this occurs the body is unable to eliminate waste the way it should and everything gets congested. When waste does not leave the body in a timely manner it begins to putrefy and you can only imagine what happens during the putrefaction process. It doesn't take a Ph. D., just a trip to your out to your trash can on a hot day, to know you don't want purification going on in the body for even a moment, let alone a day, a month or longer....ewwww!!!! 

Giving the body what it needs is vital to the prevention and treatment of the root cause of chronic degenerative disease. Raw and living foods is at the very top of the list for giving the body what it needs. Now let's specifically look at the role of juicing and why it is so effective at treating and preventing chronic degenerative disease.

Much of degenerative disease lies in the inability of the gastro-intestinal tract and the cells to absorb nutrients and eliminate toxicity at the cellular level. When this occurs there is an imbalance at the cellular level between sodium and potassium. The cells swell with sodium and their ability to produce energy and function effectively is diminished. When this occurs cellular changes happen and degenerative disease can begin. Fresh living juices flush the cells of sodium and restore potassium levels at the cellular level. When this occurs cells begin producing energy effectively again and can heal and repair themselves.

Fresh, live juices, are rich in enzymes (amylase, protease and lipase), which are destroyed when heated at wet temperatures higher than 45ºC/117ºF and 85ºC/150ºF with dry heat. Processed juices found in the store have been heated, and therefore all the active enzymes have been killed. Enzymes are the catalyst within the body that make all internal processes work. Diets that are high in cooked foods are completely enzyme deficient. When the body becomes enzyme deficient it must pull its own enzymes from other processes and processes begin to slow down and work ineffectively. Giving the body lots of fresh and living juices provides the body with living and active enzymes, allowing the body processes to again begin working optimally.

Juicing also allows the body to intake a huge volume of nutrients, an amount you could never intake by just eating alone. While it is important to be eating a diet that is comprised of at least 50% and more toward 80% of living foods, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains and legumes, the ability to ingest as much of these foods through eating could not be attained as you can through juicing. Flooding the body with the deficient and needed nutrients it needs to function helps to restore balance and begin the process of reversing disease.

Juicing also removes the fiber from the plant. The digestive system is usually impaired and of small capacity in those that are sick, juicing helps to promote maximum absorption with minimum digestive effort. While fiber is important and necessary for the digestive system and cleansing purposes it also inhibits the ability of the body to absorb all of the nutrients within the foods. By juicing you removing the fiber and the body is able to easily absorb the nutrients without any digestion and little loss of nutrients.

When you juice you are also in taking a large quantity of vitamins, minerals and phytochemcials that otherwise are destroyed through processing or cooking in other vegetable and fruit preparations. Phytochemicals are the active chemical components within plants that interact with our body chemistry and have a variety of functions from blood pressure and hormone regulation to cancer regression.Phytochemicals are most notably known for their anti-cancer properties.There are literally thousands of phytochemicals contained within one plant. These phytochemicals are destroyed through heating and processing but when you juice you are in taking these chemicals unharmed and fully active.

The pH balance of the body is also highly important. Few people know what their body pH is. (I have written a detailed discussion about body pH and why it is important on this blog for more information). The main point is that most people are far too acidic, which mostly comes from dietary factors, but also can occur when disease has been present in the body. If the body stays acidic body processes and organs are worn down and disease is able to thrive. Disease thrives in an acidic environment but cannot live in an alkaline environment. Juicing helps to restore the pH balance of the body. pH strips can be purchased inexpensively at any natural grocer. I recommend testing your pH several times a day until you begin reaching 7.4 which is optimal. All vegetables are alkalizing. So adding in fresh vegetable juices is important. The benefits of making your body pH level less acidic including:

  • Improved brain function 
  • Improved heart function
  • Slowing down the aging process
  • Improved joint function – helping with arthritis
  • Less disease-prone body environment. Acidic environments breed diseases.
  • Better digestion

Green juices help to rebuild the blood and give the body higher oxygen levels which are imperative to restoring cell balance and functioning which in turns helps the body to heal from disease. This is because on a molecular level chlorophyll and hemoglobin (the part of the blood that carries oxygen) is almost identical. More amazingly scientists have found that when you assimilate chlorophyll into the body, it makes the chemical shift and actually becomes hemin. Essentially, taking chlorophyll is almost like getting a blood transfusion! A huge benefit to those with chronic disease.

Juicing also helps to boost the immune system. In chronic disease the immune system has been overrun and unable to effectively rid itself of diseased cells. Restoring full functionality of the immune system is essential to healing from disease. Juices give you a wide variety and large volume of antioxidants which are essential for a healthy immune system. The antioxidants from fruits and vegetables include vitamins A, C, E, plus a wide range of phytochemicals.

The liver has hundreds of functions but most notably it functions to clean the blood and remove toxins and metabolic waste. Diseased cells put off a tremendous amount of toxins that the liver then has to process and eliminate from the body. As the liver becomes overrun its ability to rid the body of this waste is greatly diminished. This means toxins remain in the body which re-enters the blood stream and eventually ends up in other organs and deep within body tissues. It also means the body is unable to keep the body properly detoxified which continues the cycle of disease. Certain nutrients are needed to provide the liver proper cleansing. Antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and N-acetyl cysteine are potent liver cleansers. In addition, B-vitamins riboflavin and niacin also aid liver cleansing. Cabbage, brussel sprouts and cauliflower have been found to be great for the liver. Juicing helps to provide these nutrients to the liver so that it can properly detoxify and keep and stay in optimal health to rid the body of toxic disease waste.

Juicing is a powerful and effective way of restoring balance within the body, correcting the problems of deficiency and toxicity both of which are the main causes of disease and gives the body the abundancy of nutrients it needs to heal. 

If you are looking for some wonderful and delicious juicing recipes there is a great list included on this blog. 

Much health and happiness!

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