COLUMN: From the inside out

By Dr Hisham Abdalla

Start 2010 with my motto "Let’s seek health rather than fight disease" and reap the health benefits, Dr Hisham Abdalla blog on MiNDFOOD.

Happy New Year and decade everyone. Have you made any personal health resolutions this new year? Remember, it is much better to have goals, no matter how big or small, than to not have anything to strive for. 

Here are tips that will help guide you to make better health (and of course oral health) decisions in 2010:


The most important factor in maintaining balance in your life and health is moderation. A balanced body is generally a healthier body. The only things that are safe in excess are love, laughter, white fish, green vegetables and water. Everything else that we do or consume, has limits.


The amount and type of food we eat is one of the most important health considerations we have in the Western world. Shortage of food is not our problem; excess of it is.

Excessive processing and chemical degradation of our food have created new health risks that our bodies have not adapted to dealing with. Eat more unprocessed food and vegetables, and reduce your consumption of fatty meats (pork is the worst) and processed food.

Eat three balanced meals a day, just enough to satisfy your hunger and reduce snacking to once a day.


Alcohol is one of the most widely consumed addictive substances in the Western world. Many people drink too much alcohol and do not think they have a problem, as they don’t fit the ‘alcoholic’ stereotype we see on TV. You can learn more about alcohol overuse here.

My point is, if you enjoy something, have it; but just in moderation. Know the limits of what is risky to your health. Alcohol is a risk factor for liver cirrhosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke and fetal deformation.


Nicotine is another widely consumed addictive substance. We all know the health risks of smoking range from mouth, throat and lung cancer to heart disease and stroke. Smoking pure tobacco in a social gathering occasionally is how it all started with indigenous people in different parts of the world. That was healthy smoking! The daily abuse of chemical-laden cigarettes that is endemic of today’s society is not healthy smoking. Take care of yourself.


Sugar is a contributor to so many pleasures in life (cake anyone?) and so many health problems at the same time.

The problem lies in the excessive amounts people consume – particularly of the highly-processed kind. Excess fruit and honey is still risky, even though it is natural sugar, so always eat these foods in moderation.

We can’t avoid sugar – nor do we want to – but let’s make a conscious decision about how much we eat, what kind we eat (and give to our children) and what other options we have (xylitol, erythritol and inulin).

Excessive sugar consumption leads to tooth decay that could become a life threatening gangrene in the head; diabetes; obesity; and a range of serious health risks associated with these endemic problems.


As discussed before, gum disease (being a chronic infection) is a direct risk factor for heart disease, stroke and premature babies. It is also the leading cause of bad breath, an unattractive smile and tooth loss.

Cavities in teeth are the result of acids dissolving the outer shell of the teeth, then bacteria rotting away the inside when they get in. So cutting down on sugars that feed the bad bacteria and acids that dissolve teeth and bones are very important for your oral and general health.

Using alkaline products and eat more alkaline-rich foods to prevent dental problems. Seeing a good hygienist regularly will help you get rid of bacterial build up in your mouth that you cannot clean by yourself. Save your health, time and money and enjoy that great smile.


Spiritual wellbeing is just as critical for health and longevity as any other physical aspect. Pray, meditate, take up yoga or tai chi. Be happy now and don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy. Enjoy the everyday blessings of life, for they are too many to count.


Also in moderation. Excessive exercise without proper rest and nutrition can cause more damage than good. Do some physical exercise daily, even if just a little. Going at it hard once and then nothing for a while is not a good way to keep healthy, and going hard all the time will wear your body out. Do it and enjoy it in moderation according to your body needs, your health, age and goals.

Following my motto “Let’s seek health rather than fight disease” I urge you to take a conscious step towards improving your quality of life by actively seeking health and avoiding excessive risks. Don’t just play the victim and constantly fight disease once it has occurred. You are on a journey, so decide where you want to go. Even if you take some detours along the way, you’d still get back on track to where you’re going. Otherwise life takes you anywhere it wants, and you may not like it there!

Have a lovely day and enjoy life with passion.

For more on oral health visit the Laser LifeCare Institute website.


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