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A merry, healthy Christmas

by Marilyn C. Arayata

IT’S two weeks before Christmas! With gatherings and celebrations this season, the temptation to indulge in sweet, salty, and fatty food is greater compared to other times of the year. Since our physical health affects our quality of life, daily activities, relationships, finances, and even our mood, here’s a rundown of health facts that will hopefully make us think twice before we get another serving of our sweet, salty, and fatty favorites.

Too much sugar can lead to diabetes which, according to the US Centers for Disease Control, is the seventh leading cause of death in the US. “Diabetes is the No. 1 cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations, and adult-onset blindness.” The Philippines has an estimated six million diabetics, according to the Philippine Center for Diabetes Education Foundation. The Department of Health (DoH) says diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the country (based on 2013 statistics).

Next is a warning from Harvard School of Public Health: Salt accumulation can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. “It can also lead to heart failure. There is also some evidence that too much salt can damage the heart, aorta, and kidneys without increasing blood pressure, and that it may be bad for bones, too.” It also says that high blood pressure is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease.

Fatty food raises cholesterol levels, and too much cholesterol may lead to heart attack or stroke. We know that sisig, lechon, pork chops, burgers, butter, and French fries are fatty. Did you know that ice cream, doughnuts, pizza, croissants, cookies, and other baked goods are also fat-laden?

Food is just one factor. The genetic predisposition to develop a disease is another. We can not change the latter, but we can modify our diet – and our lifestyle. That is, if we want a merry and healthy Christmas – andif we want to add quality years to our lives! By the way, doctors have been warning us about the risks of developing non-communicable diseases among heavy smokers and drinkers, even among people who are overweight and sedentary. Change is coming?

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