Medical headlines are kind of scary lately, from news of uncontrolled outbreaks of the Ebola virus in Africa to today’s announcement by England’s Prime Minister David Cameron that if we don’t do something about superbugs, we might end up back in the Dark Ages.
It is interesting to me that the more advanced the planet gets, the more dangerous it becomes. Crime rates are high, children are dying senseless deaths and family values seem to be going out the window. And despite the fact that we, of course, have made great strides in medicine, some basic stuff continues to eat away at the foundation of our longevity. Smoking is still a problem, obesity is out of control and drug abuse is rampant.
As I continue to look for common-sense answers to these problems, I somehow always end up turning to the Bible. I personally use my Bible for my faith, but also for my mental health. It relaxes me, it gives me comfort and takes away some of the negative thoughts that I might be having at any particular time. But what is amazing to me is that nobody talks about the health tips – yes, health tips! – contained within the Bible.
Now, I grant you, the healthy living advice found in the Bible might not look like the health tips you find in news articles or magazines. But if you read between the lines, you’ll get the message. After all, when you hear a sermon, that’s exactly what the preacher does – he takes the content in the story and tries to summarize it into a logical conclusion.
God has been writing these tips since the beginning of time – and in 2014, we doctors should continue to advise our patients in a similar way.
In Daniel 1:12-15, he says to the King of Babylon: “’Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.’ So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.”
A simple, vegetable diet is better for you than a rich, meat-based diet. Brilliant, huh?
In Leviticus 7:23, we read the words, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, You shall eat no fat, of ox or sheep or goat.”
Believe me, there were no studies on cholesterol then.
Also in Leviticus, we find very specific instructions on how to handle food. In summary, the words of the Bible forbid the eating of food that is leftover for many days, and says it should be destroyed.
Other health tips found in the Bible talk about stress and how to reduce stress. In Matthew 6:25, we read, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”
When I read this, it reminds me that God will give you those material things that you need, and you should use your time to de-stress and practice your faith, rather than worrying.
These are just a few of the many, many examples that the Bible gives us to show us how to live a healthy life. The bottom line is that no matter how many studies come out specifically talking about preventing disease, we always end up with the same cliché: Everything in moderation, try to avoid things that are bad for you and focus on your lifestyle.
Well, my dear friends, the original lifestyle magazine was published by God a long time ago. I think that we, as a society, should start living by some of the positive advice found in the Bible. I know that it’s not as sexy as buying green coffee bean extract off the Internet. But I think it will help you achieve your health goals much more quickly – and perhaps with life-long benefits.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Click here for more information on Dr. Manny's work with Hackensack University Medical Center. Visit AskDrManny.com for more.