6. An apple a day…
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? The truth is that we have to eat a lot more than just an apple a day to stay healthy. We must consume plenty of different fruits and vegetables to benefit from the many vitamins, minerals and enzymes they contain. I like to tell my kids that they need to eat a rainbow of foods. Our plates should be filled with colour; the orange of squash, the red of tomatoes, the purple of cabbage and the green of bok choy. Living in China we are very lucky to have such a wide selection of fruits and vegetables to choose from. Add variety to your diet and try something new. The Canadian Food Guide recommends eating seven to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day! See what the World Health Organization has to say about the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables.
7. Pray or meditate daily
Studies show that practicing meditation every day has a positive effect on our health by helping us cope with stress. For some, no scientific evidence of the benefits of prayer is needed, for others it is. A recent study shows that prayer can improve one’s ability to forgive others. A good time of the day to practice meditation or prayer is in the evening before bed. At this time we can calm our emotions, leave our mind blank, and allow our body to relax and prepare for sleep. Meditation and prayer cause the sympathetic nervous system to be switched on and enable us to reach a more peaceful state of mind. This can be helpful at any time of the day. I came across a very interesting article written on this subject. Click here to read this scientist’s take on spirituality and healing.
I couldn’t talk about healthy habits without mentioning exercise. It is important for so many reasons, too many to list here. Exercise has been shown to help maintain a healthy weight, improve cardiovascular health, prevent various cancers, and enable us to better deal with the stresses of everyday life. Conditions that can be improved with exercise include fibromyalgia, GERD, obesity, diabetes, back pain, depression, and the list goes on and on. I’m not referring to going to the gym for two hours every day. Walking at a moderate to fast speed 3 to 4 times a week has also been shown to benefit health in a number of different parameters. An active lifestyle can have many benefits for children as well, helping to maintain a healthy weight and setting the tone for a healthy lifestyle when they are older.
9. Always eat breakfast
Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day. After not eating for almost 12 hours, the body is in need of some fuel to start the day. Skipping it can trick the body into thinking it’s starving, thus conserving calories and building up stubborn fat stores. If we don’t eat until late morning we’re more likely to feel weak, cranky and grab the first thing that’s available to us. A healthy breakfast can help establish the rhythm for the rest of the day. Breakfast can be as simple as a piece of fruit with some nuts and seeds, or some oatmeal with a hard boiled egg.
With no side effects and free of cost, laughter has been shown to benefit patients with depression, lower blood pressure, and even strengthen the immune system. Laughter releases the natural feel good chemicals in our bodies, called endorphins, much like exercise does. And like exercise, muscles are fired and calories burned. Laughing has been demonstrated to help us manage stress, anxiety, and even tragic situations, like terminal illness. People can make themselves feel better just by laughing, regardless if they actually do feel happy. This is often referred to as Laughter Therapy. So go ahead have a good laugh, be merry and be healthy!
If you liked this blog, see Part 1 here.
Dr. Melissa Rodriguez is a Naturopathic doctor who lives with her family in Beijing, www.drmelissarodriguez.com