I wrote this article a couple of years ago for P28 Foods, and felt it was worth reposting. Enjoy!
With the recent upheaval in the world of health insurance coverage, I thought it would be a perfect time to talk about ways that we can safeguard against the need to access insurance benefits and keep our out-of-pocket costs to a minimum. If you have a predisposition towards conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, joint issues, depression or anxiety, a little self-nurturing can go a long way in keeping those issues at bay. Though there is no absolute guarantee that being proactive about your health will completely prevent disease from manifesting in your body, you can minimize the chances by following sensible guidelines.
1. Get Regular Exercise: If you have yet to take part in regular exercise, here are a bunch of reasons why you should. First of all, regular exercise supports and encourages healthy circulation, lowers blood pressure and reduces cholesterol levels. It also reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. When you strengthen your muscles with resistance training, you protect your bone density and improve your mobility. There are also mood-elevating benefits which exercise confers which can push away depression and anxiety. Lastly, exercise keeps your mind and memory sharp as you age. A good plan is to exercise 30 minutes a day, 4 to 5 days per week at a moderate intensity. Make sure to schedule exercise sessions into your day, and STICK TO THEM!
2. Reduce Stress: You may be thinking that reducing stress may be next to impossible in this hectic society, but it is absolutely essential for your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. When you go through life at top speed, anxiously rushing through in an effort to meet deadlines, you not only miss out on special moments, but you also overtax every major organ in the body, including adrenals, heart, pancreas, liver, colon, brain and skin. Similar to over-revving an engine, you cannot expect to keep going at a gallop constantly without burning out the engine. Have you ever noticed that you are more prone to catching colds when you burn the candle at both ends? Simple things, such as practicing breathing techniques when anxiety creeps in, or truly allowing yourself to BE IN THE MOMENT when you take a break, can be very helpful in reducing stress.
3. Practice Sound Nutrition: Proper nutrition is critical to supporting optimal health. This means eating smaller meals throughout the day and turning to whole food sources as much as possible. By incorporating leafy green vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, lean meats and healthy fats, you will equip your body with the fuel it needs to function properly and to repair itself optimally. Without proper nutrition, inflammation and free radicals can wreak havoc on an already challenged body, culminating in disease and illness. It is important to stay away from fast foods at all costs.
4. Get Sufficient Sleep: Slumber enables our bodies to repair cells and tissues so that we can function during our waking hours. It supports a healthy metabolism and also reinforces learning and memory from the day’s activities. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body cannot adequately repair itself. If sleep deprivation is a common event, the metabolism becomes sluggish, inflammation accumulates, and the risk for diseases of all kinds becomes significant. Make sure to get a solid eight hours of sleep each night, and try to go to sleep at around the same time each night.
5. Laugh: I listed this as a separate topic from stress reduction because I honestly believe that laughter as a daily medicine can do wonders for one’s health. Over the past year and a half, I have resorted to listening to comedy when I am in my car instead of listening to music, literally adding comic relief to the commutes I make around the Los Angeles area. Laughter truly is the best medicine!