MY PRESCRIPTION FOR LIVING LONG AND STRONG
If you know me or my wellness philosophy at all, then you would know that I am not a fan of prescriptions in the form of pills, patches, potions, lotions, or anything chemical, synthetic, or chemistry-lab created. I avoid it at all costs. I know there are, of course, times when prescription drugs are necessary, I have had surgery and I sure appreciated not feeling any part of it. However, IF we knew the power of prevention we may make better decisions for our personal healthcare so that the doc whose first stop is to grab a pad to write a prescription for you. I don’t have a pill, patch, or potion but here is my prescription for living long and strong.
ASK “Doc, what can I DO”, instead of “Doc, what can I take!”
During a discussion on this very topic, I asked my physician friend here in Atlanta, “Why is the prescription pad the first thing you do?” Her statement changed my dis-affection for MDs to an affectionate level when she said, “Because that’s what we know they’ll do! They (the patient) will take a pill.” Wow, I get it. It is the patient that drives the train on the power of the pad. The average patient wants a quick fix, immediate relief, or a magic bullet. No work required. Like sleep-away – the diet drug that touted weight loss while you sleep! Do nothing and look like a top model. Yeah, right. Sorry, I am a bit critical of those who make these people rich buy the lies and the products that go with them. Do not rely on pills – where skills are more beneficial! Learn what you need to learn and then make small changes that matter. If you don’t, there may be a day when you will wish you did. Stay tuned for the following blogs I am calling “My Prescription for Living Long and Strong”. Be aware that it will focus on your willingness to DO something, instead of TAKING something.
Physical, Mental, and Emotional HEALTH are profoundly influenced by diet and lifestyle.
Science supports a host of “therapeutic lifestyle changes” – TLC for short – that can improve your mood and lower your risk of depression. Here’s the complete list based on my most recent scientific review. (Please note these strategies are in no specific order.
- Be physically active / exercise daily. Any activity counts, but formal exercise and participation in regular sports are among the best. Also, the more vigorous the activity the better, and resistance-type strength training for building, maintaining and protecting muscle mass. Muscle burns 3x as many calories and fat (even when sleeping).
- Minimize processed and fast foods. Consume mostly whole “nature-made” foods, particularly plant-based foods. Those that are grown-not manufactured, very colorful (like the colors of the rainbow), and can be eaten raw (not that they must be eaten raw, but that they can be eaten raw).
- Consume omega 3 rich foods These include: oily fish (salmon, sardines, lake trout, herring, cod), omega 3 eggs, walnuts, whole soy foods, hemp/chia/flax seeds, canola oil, and small leafy greens. Fish oil supplements are also an option for getting in optimal amounts of omega fats, but eating oily fish regularly is likely the very best way.
- Keep your weight in a healthy range. Do not rely solely on the scale numbers for this measurement. Your waist circumference is the best tool for this.
- Eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Those with the most anti-inflammatory benefit are likely the best and include red onions, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, red/orange/yellow bell peppers, dark leafy greens, apples, red grapes, berries, cherries, oranges, and plums. Excess inflammation in the body has been linked to depression.
- Maintain optimal blood levels of vitamin D via safe sun exposure, consuming vitamin D-rich foods (oily fish, fortified dairy products, mushrooms, eggs) and appropriate use of high-quality vitamin D supplements in some cases.
- Include magnesium-rich foods in your diet regularly – green vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, and wheat germ.
- Increase your intake of tryptophan-rich foods. Foods high in tryptophan include turkey, whole soy foods, lean meats, and lots of grilled/baked fish.
- Increase your consumption of water. Your body needs half your body weight in water each and every day.
- Include folate-rich foods in your diet regularly. Green vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, wheat germ, any form of tomato product, oranges, nuts, seeds, whole soy foods, parsley, and beets are excellent sources.
- Include vitamin B-12 rich foods in your diet regularly. The healthiest sources would be dairy products, fish, and shellfish (though I do not eat any shellfish). If you are older than 50, get your level checked periodically. Supplementation is an option but be very careful with this.
- Avoid sugary beverages and artificially sweetened (diet) sodas. Too many benefits to list here in this space. You know they are all bad, bad, bad and you know the reasons why. Just stop it.
- Use anti-inflammatory herbs and spices regularly in your foods – turmeric, curry, ginger, and rosemary are especially potent. Eat an abundant amount of anti-inflammatory foods and avoid pro-inflammatory (processed) foods.
- Cultivate and nurture a relationship with the outdoors. Water, wind, soil, trees, paths. Spend time in nature regularly. Daily is best. A walk. Sit on the porch. Eat on the deck. Just step outside and take a deep breath.
- Maintain positive relationships with family and friends. Get out with friends. Go see, go do!
- Engage in relaxation/mindfulness practices regularly – deep breathing, yoga, meditation, etc.
- Volunteer your time and talents. Give of yourself and your money to help those in need. It feels good.
- Don’t dwell on negatives. “Look down, go down.” I learned that from an instructor while taking my motorcycle drivers license training. It works with bikes, motorcycles and in life.
Science tells us that Nature offers powerful, broad-spectrum health protection.
That was the resounding conclusion from the largest and most comprehensive evaluation to date. For this landmark report, researchers combined data from over 140 studies involving over 290 million people living in 20 different countries, including the US, Europe, Australia, and Japan. They uncovered that people with the most green-space exposure enjoyed significantly superior protection from the following list of maladies: type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, preterm birth, premature death, stress, and high blood pressure.
For this report, green space was defined as undeveloped natural landscapes as well as urban green spaces (city parks, street greenery, etc.) Regarding Nature’s potential “active ingredients” responsible for these amazing findings, the list is remarkable. They include volatile organic compounds released by trees, vitamin D/sunlight, fractal visual patterns, melodic bird sounds, beneficial soil bacteria, cleaner air, and negative air ions, amongst others. I sell Tower Gardens and some of my most appreciative customers are those whose surroundings do not allow them to garden – apartments, townhomes, assisted living or senior living, and they can now enjoy their own produce from their own hands – green thumb or not!
Based on personal experience, as well as an impressive body of published science, I am convinced that Creation or Mother Nature is our best-kept secret to the best health. Strive to get more “green” in your life!