Today, more and more people are becoming health conscious. They want to live energetic lives free from pain and sickness. This is especially true since the September 11th attack, because people are concerned about the threat of contracting anthrax, small pox, or some other deadly disease.
God has given us some very encouraging promises that will help us in the days to come. He said, “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.” (Exodus 15:26)
God also said, “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” (Psalms 91:9, 10) God wants us to put our complete trust in Him, that He will sustain us and protect us in the days to come. He knows very well how to protect us from disease.
John expressed the thoughts of God when He wrote, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 1:2) God wishes us to be in good health, and He has provided natural means to keep us healthy and free of disease.
Perhaps you have heard the old proverb, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I have found this principle to be true in just about every aspect of life, including health.
Several years ago, I was introduced to a collection of simple health principles that, if followed, will go a long way in both the prevention and cure of many sicknesses and diseases.
These health principles are very easy to remember and they are free to everyone. They are nutrition, exercise, water, sunlight, temperance, air, rest, and trust in divine power. Let’s look at each of these principles.
It is common knowledge that many illnesses are directly related to the foods we eat. I am sure you have heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” It would be more accurate to say, “You are what your body assimilates from what you eat.” Your body needs certain vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, and other nutrients to perform the daily bodily functions that keep you alive and healthy. When your body is lacking in any of these things it will suffer in one way or another, depending upon what your body is lacking.
For example, many of us have heard about the disease called scurvy that killed many people. This disease primarily affected sailors, and for some time they could not determine what caused this disease. Eventually it was discovered that the lack of vitamin C caused this deadly disease, and from then on ships were well stocked with limes.
Proper nutrition has always played a major role in the prevention and treatment of diseases. The ideal diet for man consists of the original diet given to man in the Garden of Eden. God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” (Genesis 1:29) God’s original diet for man included fruits, grains, nuts and vegetables. God’s people lived for an average of over 900 years on this diet. It was not until after the flood, one and a half millennia later, that God permitted men to introduce flesh food into their diets. After this, their life span rapidly and drastically decreased down to under 200 years, and later down to under 100 years.
Today, studies indicate that people who eat a vegetarian diet live, on average, about seven years longer than people who eat flesh foods. One factor that contributes to this is that vegetarians are spared from diseases that are transmitted through flesh foods, as well as the excessive fats found in meat.
Many people think that a person cannot possibly get enough muscle-building protein on a vegetarian diet. However, it seems that these people have not considered the fact that many of the animals they eat acquired all their protein from a vegetarian diet. When we think of the largest, most powerful animals in the world, they are all vegetarians. For example, the elephant, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, giraffe, buffalo, gorilla, and many other large animals, acquire all their muscle-building protein from a vegetarian diet. Spinach, avocados, broccoli, asparagus, clover, peas, nuts, beans, grains, and rice are all good sources of protein. Lentils are an excellent source of complete protein. Also, beans and rice together make a complete protein.
The fact is, most people, and especially Americans, eat far too much protein. The body has a difficult time dealing with these large amounts of protein. One byproduct of protein digestion is uric acid. The more protein that is taken into the system, especially through meat eating, the more uric acid is produced in the body, leading to many problems such as arthritis, gout, high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, uremia, calcium depletion, kidney stones, kidney failure, etc. (See “Uric Acid” in the World Book Encyclopedia.)
A balanced diet, consisting of fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables in as natural a state as can be acquired (preferably raw), is the best diet for humans.
Muscles that are well exercised are much better prepared to function under stress than muscles that are left unworked. This is also true of the vital organs of the body. They need good exercise in order to function properly. Proper exercise keeps the heart, lungs, and other vital organs in a healthy condition, enabling them to perform their functions efficiently and without hindrance.
The lack of exercise, given time, will cause many physical problems and diseases which could have been prevented by daily exercise.
A 20-minute aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week will help keep the heart and respiratory system in good health. To classify as an aerobic exercise, the heart rate must be increased to approximately 140 beats per minute for a 20-year-old, or 120 beats per minute for a 50-year-old, for the entire 20 minutes.
Working outdoors, perhaps in a garden, is one of the best forms of exercise because it accomplishes two things at once, and exercises the mind as well as the body.
Your body is made mostly of water, and it requires an abundance of water to replenish the cells and to cleanse the body of impurities, thus preventing and curing diseases. Many experts say it is good to drink 8 large glasses of water each day with the glass size proportionate to your body weight. It is a good practice to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces each day. A person who weighs 150 pounds (68 kilograms) should drink at least 75 ounces (2.2 liters) of water each day. However, your body is not able to use all of that water at once, so it is good to spread the water out over the day (starting 2 hours after, and ending one half hour before, each meal). This enables the body to have the water it needs when it needs it.
There is something to keep in mind when it comes to drinking water. Many people are in the practice of drinking water with their meals. This is a big mistake, because it puts an extra strain upon the digestive system. When we eat food, our stomachs secrete digestive acids to digest the food. When we drink water with our meals, our stomach acids are diluted and the stomach struggles to remove the water from the stomach and build up the digestive acids again in order to continue digestion.
The digestion of food takes an incredible amount of energy and, if this process is prolonged unnecessarily, it will rob the rest of the body of blood and energy that is needed to maintain proper health.
It is good to drink water one half hour before eating which will ensure that your stomach will have the water necessary to produce digestive acids. It is also good to wait one to two hours after each meal before drinking water again, which will enable the digestive process to be well underway before more water is added.
Many people think that any beverage can be substituted for water and they will receive the same benefits. This, too, is a big mistake. Fresh, clean water, (preferably without fluoride, which is found in most tap water) is much easier for the body to utilize than water mixed with flavors, colors, or carbonation, found in many beverages.
Just as water is important for the inside of the body to maintain proper health, it is also necessary on the outside of the body. Your skin is full of pores that the body uses to expel toxins from the body. These toxins, if they are left on the surface of the body for extended periods of time, will clog the pores, making it difficult to expel toxins. These toxins can also enter the body again through the skin, which means washing your clothes regularly is necessary to remove the toxins from the skin.
Water also can be used to aid in the healing of many types of bruises, and other ailments. Alternating hot and cold water treatments will increase the circulation of the blood to a particular area, hastening the healing process. I have used this remedy to aid in the healing of sprained ankles, wrists, and other injuries, with great success. Care must be taken never to use this remedy during the first 24 hours of an injury, at which time cold water alone should be used to reduce swelling. To utilize this healing method, start by submersing the affected area in hot water, as hot as you can bear, for three minutes. Then submerse the affected area in ice-cold water for 30 seconds. Repeat this process at least three times, ending in cold water. For some parts of the body, it is necessary to use wet towels, which will accomplish the same goal. This process will help with varicose veins, or any other blood circulation problem.
Jesus said, “Your Father which is in heaven… maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45)
Sunlight is very important to good health. Some people are so unfortunate as to live in dark homes where the sunlight rarely breaks through. Others have been confined to dungeons or mines where they spend most of their days without seeing the sunlight.
We should take a lesson from plants, which turn toward the sun to take in all the light they can. When they live in basements or other dark places, they become pale and sickly.
Sunlight is a purifier. It should be let into our homes to clean the air and kill germs. Mold has a difficult time growing in direct sunlight. Sunlight lifts the spirits and brings a calming affect in its path. It lowers cholesterol, reduces high blood pressure, and is essential to the body’s production of Vitamin D. Exercise is much more rewarding when it is done in the open air, with plenty of sunlight.
To receive the benefits of sunlight, one does not need to strip down to their underclothes and bathe in the sun. A small amount of the skin exposed to the sun is sufficient to receive its benefits. Too much sunlight can cause skin cancer and other problems.
We do not know all the benefits of sunlight, but we have seen results of people being deprived of this heavenly gift. Let us take advantage of what the Lord has supplied for our well-being.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22)
Temperance comes to us as a result of having the Spirit of God working in our lives. Temperance means “self control.” It is the ability to master one’s desires and passions, including his appetite.
Paul wrote, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” (1 Corinthians 9:25) We are to be temperate in every detail of our lives, avoiding those things that are harmful, and moderately partaking of those things that are beneficial.
We can see the terrible effects of intemperance everywhere we look. The drunkard, the drug addict, the gambler, the glutton, are all products of intemperance. Much heartache and pain would be eliminated if we could only gain control of our passions. This can be done by receiving the Spirit of God in our lives and following its leading. Paul wrote, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16) He also wrote, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”(1 Corinthians 3:16, 17)
Fresh air is vital to good health. To see the terrible results of a lack of fresh air, we need only look at the black lung disease of the coal miners, the lung cancer of the tobacco smokers, or the pneumonia sufferers who have been confined to small rooms with little or no air circulation.
It is well known that many diseases can be avoided by introducing fresh air into our environment. This is a major concern in many hospitals because of the airborne diseases that are so common there.
We should train ourselves to keep air circulation a priority in our homes and places of work. We should also learn to take deep breaths as often as possible, allowing the lower portions of our lungs to be exercised and purified by clean, fresh air. Our lungs are designed to get oxygen into our blood streams, and we should aid our lungs in their work by surrounding ourselves with fresh air and by taking deep breaths.
Increased oxygen intake is recognized to be so important that many football and other athletic facilities have invested in hyperbaric chambers where increased pressure and oxygen are used to speed the recovery of injuries. The nutrition world is replete with products claiming to introduce more oxygen into the blood stream.
I have heard it said that pneumonia can be completely avoided by taking ten deep breaths of fresh air each morning. I am sure you have experienced the overwhelming need to get a breath of fresh air. Our bodies are crying out for more oxygen. This is another reason why it is so important to do our exercise outdoors in the fresh air. When we exercise, our lungs are working harder than normal, and we can be benefitted greatly by exercising outdoors in the sunlight and fresh air. In this way we are partaking of three of the eight principles of health at the same time.
Rest is an amazing and necessary element in maintaining good health. Scientists have not yet been able to discover why the body needs sleep, but it is abundantly evident that it does. One only needs to deprive himself of sleep for a few days to realize that the body desperately needs sleep. Many accidents have occurred due to lack of sleep.
When a person is well rested they are much more able to think properly and carry out the daily duties of life more efficiently. For some people, a short nap during the day is needed to give them that extra edge to complete the days duties. A short nap can invigorate the body and clear the mind.
My dad used to tell me the old motto, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” That is good counsel that I have not forgotten. I always feel much better when I retire early and rise early. I find that my body requires less sleep when I do this. Some say that one hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours after. I am not sure if the math is exactly correct, but I have found this principle to be true. Try it and see for yourself.
Another thing to keep in mind regarding rest is that when your body is busy digesting food, it is very difficult to sleep well. I have found that when I eat a meal just before bedtime I am restless during the night and often spend the night dreaming, and awake nearly as tired as when I went to sleep. When this happens, I also have little appetite for breakfast because my meal from the night before is still in my stomach. The human body takes approximately five hours to digest food. It is preferable to give your body at least three to four hours after eating before going to bed.
This brings up another point. Not only does your body need rest at night, it is good to allow your digestive system to rest during the day. When we eat between meals our bodies struggle to keep up with the unnatural digestive requirements. To demonstrate this principle, a lady was given breakfast at 7 a.m., and at 9:30 a.m. she was given a brownie. At noon she was given lunch, and at 2:30 p.m. she was given another snack. Finally she was given dinner in the evening, after which her stomach was pumped to reveal that her stomach still contained the food that she had been given for breakfast.
You see, the body begins digestion about ten minutes after you eat your last bite. It takes approximately five hours for the food to be completely digested. When food is introduced into the stomach before the previous food leaves, the stomach must begin its process over again, leaving the partially digested food until the new food can catch up to that stage. When new food is again introduced into the system, the same thing occurs, allowing the old food to begin to decay before it is digested. This causes the entire system to be overworked and leads to many digestive problems if this is continued. For some less-active people two meals a day would be better than three. We would all be much better off if we would exercise temperance regarding our eating habits. Let your digestive system rest as well as your body.
Trust in Divine Power
Last, but definitely not least, we must trust in God’s power to bring us healing and to keep us from disease. The Psalmist wrote that our bodies are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalms 139:14) God made our bodies, and He is the best qualified to instruct us as to how to care for them and to heal them when they are sick. All of the principles I just shared are powerless to heal or keep from disease without God’s power. I have heard some say that medicines heal people. I have heard others say that only natural remedies heal people. I have learned that neither of these statements is correct. God is the only One who is able to heal. He says, “I am the LORD that healeth thee.” (Exodus 15:26)
There is a sad story in the Bible of a man who forgot this great principle and, instead of trusting God for healing, he trusted the physicians. “Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.” (2 Chronicles 16:12, 13)
God wants us to trust in Him for healing, not in our own strength, nature, physicians, medicines, or natural remedies. Please don’t get me wrong, God has used all of these means to bring healing to people, but it was always He who brought the healing, not the remedies themselves.
Personally, I believe that God wishes primarily to use prevention and natural remedies to prevent and heal diseases, rather than drugs and doctors. Many drugs are designed to hide the symptom rather than treat the disease, and for this reason I try to stay clear of medicines, and seek to treat the cause rather than the symptom. Many doctors are trained to treat the symptom and have little knowledge of how to treat the cause of the problem. The problem with that is that the symptoms are not permanently removed, and often the drugs used to treat the symptoms cause more problems which will require more drugs to cover those symptoms as well. Following this route can lead to many unnecessary problems that would have been completely avoided had the cause been treated instead of the symptom.
How would you like it if you brought your vehicle to the mechanic because the engine had begun to make a terribly loud and alarming noise, and he said, “No problem, I’ll have it fixed in a jiffy. I’ll insulate the engine cavity so you can no longer hear the noise?” I don’t know about you, but I would not be satisfied with this type of treatment for my car. Yet how many people, who would never dream of treating their car that way, would treat their bodies with as little caution by treating the symptom rather than the cause?
Now, please, don’t get me wrong. If I break a leg or an arm, you can be sure that I am not going to put a charcoal poultice on it and hope for the best. I will visit a hospital very quickly. There are some things that doctors and medicines can treat better than natural remedies. In each case, though, it is only God who brings the healing.
I am thankful that I can trust in the Maker of my body to give me instruction and healing to maintain this body. Let us trust in divine power more, and in human power less.
These eight principles of health, when followed, will eliminate many hours of suffering and many wasted dollars treating diseases. These principles of health are easy to remember by using the simple acronym NEWSTART.
Trust in Divine Power
Try these principles, and see if they make a difference in your life. They are free to all, and yet powerful enough to make life-long changes.