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Bakari
biodieselhau...
Male
Oakland, CA



 
Posted By Bakari

The word "Health" has become almost meaningless.

This is due to a number of factors, but one of the chief ones, I suspect, is marketing.
It helps to sell things as "healthy" if there is no clear idea what that actually means.
I will resist the temptation to get into that whole topic...

What I do want to do is try to remove some of the abstraction, by breaking it down into its constituent parts. While the term itself eludes a single precise definition, there's a list of components that are part of it, and those parts are reasonably concrete.

 

-A lack of, resistance to, and/or ability to recover from, infection (by viruses, bacteria, protozoa, fungus, or parasite)

Even a healthy person may get the occasional cold, but they will get better more quickly
-A lack of, resistance to, and/or ability to recover from, (non-infectious-agent - such as diabetes or angina)
-A lack of, resistance to, and/or ability to recover from, injury
-Longevity (how long you live)
-General fitness*
-Mental/emotional health - I wholeheartedly acknowledge that this is a very important part of overall health; however there is so much to cover just considering physical health that I won't mention it here any further than this sentence.

Many people seem to get obsessively caught up on just one or two components, sometimes to the complete exclusion of considering the others. And as a result there are raw-foodists who can't do a single push-up, athletes who eat junk food, people who take all manner of drugs and vitamins, and others who take herbs and supplements and "superfoods", both thinking health can be reduced to just what you ingest.

 

When someone, be it a friend or an ad or even a doctor, claims that X food, Y herb, or Z activity, is "good for you" or "unhealthy" or whatever, ask exactly in what ways does it contribute to health? Which of these elements does it affect, and how? Personally, I suspect that extremely few of the millions of things passed off as healthy stand up to that sort of test.

 

Just to complicate things again, some of these components can sometimes conflict with others. For example, while strength leads to resistance to injury and pathogens, the process of exercise itself is sometimes the cause of injury, and intense exercise (which is the only effective kind) tends to lower immunity (although only temporarily). Similarly, exercise lowers the risk of most non-communicable disease, but at the same time higher metabolism rates accelerate aging.

 

Since some components can be considered in conflict with each other, it would be hard to say in absolute terms what is the healthiest a person can possibly be. None-the-less, there is clearly a range, from someone who is sick all the time, can't walk far without being winded, and dies at 50, to the people who are still running marathons at 70 and live to be 100.

 

[this blog space came free with my website.  It isn't very good.  It has severe character limitations.  The rest of this entry can be read here: http://neapolitanblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/be-healthy-my-friend.html ]

 

 


 
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