More research is showing that the key to
longevity is what experts call “lifestyle medicine” which simply means
simple changes in diet, exercise, and stress management. To help people
turn that knowledge into results, experts have assembled a manageable
list of health and wellness suggestions.
Three experts , a naturopathic
physician, Dr James Rouse, a dietitian, Christina Reiter and a Physical
therapist, Rick Olderman, spoke on the simple but significant
lifestyle-medicine changes they recommend.
Besides giving different takes on how to
pick health battles, this list gives the choices one can make without
buying a second freezer for preserving meals.
Think positive and focus on gratitude
Research shows a healthy positive
attitude helps build a healthier immune system and boosts overall
health. Your body believes what you think, so focus on the positive.
Shoot for five servings of vegetables a
day , raw, steamed, or stir-fried. A diet high in vegetables is
associated with a reduced risk of developing cancers of the lung, colon,
breast, cervix, oesophagus, stomach, bladder, pancreas, and ovaries.
And many of the most powerful phytonutrients are the ones with the
boldest colours, such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, grapes,
and leafy greens.
Set a “5-meal ideal”
What, when, and how much you eat can
keep both your metabolism and your energy levels steadily elevated, so
you’ll have more all-day energy. A “5 meal ideal” will help manage
weight, keep cool, maintain focus, and avoid cravings.
Did you know that daily exercise can
reduce all of the biomarkers of ageing? This includes improving
eyesight, normalising blood pressure, improving lean muscle, lowering
cholesterol, and improving bone density. If you want to live well and
live longer, you must exercise! Studies show that even 10 minutes of
exercise makes a difference — so, do something! Crank the stereo and
dance in your living room. Sign up for swing dancing or ballroom dancing
lessons. Walk to the park with your kids or a neighbour you’d like to
catch up with. Jump rope or play hopscotch. Spin a hula hoop. Play water
volleyball. Bike to work. Jump on a trampoline. Go for a hike.
Get good night’s sleep
If you have trouble sleeping, try
relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga. Or eat a small
bedtime snack of foods shown to help shift the body and mind into sleep
mode: whole grain cereal with milk, oatmeal, cherries, or chamomile tea.
Darken the room more and turn the clock away from you. Write down
worries or stressful thoughts to get them out of the head and onto the
page. This will help put them into perspective, so one can quit worrying
What we eat and how we feel are linked
in very complex ways. A healthy approach to eating is centered on
savouring flavour, eating to satisfaction, and increasing energy, rather
than focusing on weight. Check the balance of low-calorie foods,
nutrient-dense foods (providing many nutrients per calorie), and foods
that are calorie dense but nutrient poor. Most people need to eat more
fresh whole foods in contrast to processed, highly refined foods. Try to
add more whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and legumes into
your meals. Pair these carbohydrate-rich foods with a healthy fat or
lean protein to extend satisfaction.
Eat like a kid
If adding more fruits and vegetables
sounds ominous, look to “finger food” versions that pre-school kids love
– carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets, grapes,
berries, and dried fruits. All are nutritional powerhouses packed with
Be a picky eater
Limit saturated fats and trans fats, and
aim to eat more foods rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids to
cut your risk of cardiovascular disease and maybe even improve depressed
moods. The equivalent of just one gram of EPA/DHA (eicosapentaenoic
acid/docosahexaenoic acid) daily is recommended. Eating cold-water oily
fish (wild salmon, herring, sardines, trout) two to three times per week
will provide both EPA and DHA. Adding up to two tablespoons of ground
flaxseed and eating meat, milk, and cheese from grass-fed animals will
provide a healthy dose of omega-3s.
Take foods instead of supplements
Supplements are not a substitute for a
good diet. Although many health experts recommend taking a multivitamin
and mineral supplement that provides 100 to 200 per cent of your
recommended daily value, each and every supplement should be carefully
evaluated for purity and safety. Specific supplements have been
associated with toxicity, reactions with medications, competition with
other nutrients, and even increased risk of diseases such as cancer,
heart disease, and diabetes.
Both eating and physical activity are
fun, sensory experiences! In both, aim for pleasure – not pain. Pay
attention to the nutritional value of the foods to eat, as well as the
sense of satisfaction, relaxation, tension, exhilaration, and fatigue
when eating. Check, while eating, rekindling the recognition of hunger,
fullness, and satisfaction when considering when and how much to eat.
Give yourself a break
“I spend countless hours doing cardio
and never seem to lose that last 10 pounds!” is a common complaint I
hear from clients. Give yourself permission to shorten your workout.
Believe it or not, overtraining could be the problem. Your body can
plateau if not given adequate rest to restore itself, ultimately leading
to a decline in performance. Fatigue, moodiness, lack of enthusiasm,
depression, and increased cortisol (the “stress” hormone) are some
hallmarks of overtraining syndrome. Creating a periodisation program –
breaking up your routine into various training modes – can help prevent
overtraining by building rest phases into your regimen. For example, you
might weight train on Monday and Wednesday, cycle on Tuesday and
Thursday, run on Friday and rest on Saturday and Sunday. You can also
help balance your program by simply incorporating more variety.
Often the biggest deterrent to improving
health is feeling overwhelmed by all the available advice and research.
Try to focus first on one small, seemingly inconsequential, unhealthy
habit and turn it into a healthy, positive habit. If you’re in the habit
of eating as soon as you get home at night, instead, keep walking shoes
in the garage or entryway and take a quick spin around the block before
going inside. If you have a can of soda at lunchtime every day, have a
glass of water two days a week instead. Starting with small, painless
changes helps establish the mentality that healthy change is not
necessarily painful change. It’s easy to build from here by adding more
Keep good company
You can do all the right things – but if
you have personal relationships with people who have unhealthy habits,
it is often an uphill battle. The healthiest people are those who have
relationships with other healthy people. Get your family or friends
involved with you when you walk or plan healthier meals. Making healthy
changes with a loved one can bring you closer together as well as
Make a list…and check it twice
Take a few minutes and write down all
the reasons you can’t begin an exercise program. Then look at the basis
of each reason. For instance, if you wrote, “No time” as one of your
reasons, then perhaps that’s based on a belief that an exercise program
takes a lot of time. Starting with even five minutes a day will have a
positive effect because you will have created a healthy habit where one
didn’t exist before, and that’s a powerful mental adjustment. A closer
look at your list will expose those false beliefs hiding behind each
Sign up for an event
Let’s face it, exercising just for the
sake of exercising or losing weight can get boring. Spice things up by
signing up for an event like a run/walk race or a cycling ride where one
can be part of a team. Doing so gives workouts a new purpose, and it’s
fun to be around others who are exercising just like you – not to
mention that most events benefit nonprofit organisations, which doubles
your feel-good high.
Foods that quicken ageing (2)
Your own lifestyle can affect how your
body ages to a great extent; from your diet and fitness regime to
product-usage and general health levels, everything can affect how fast
or slow signs of ageing begin to appear. It is thus recommended that
anyone looking to preserve their youth and live a healthier, balanced
life should avoid anything that quickens the ageing process. There are
some particular foods that speed up ageing which you could easily avoid.
Here’s what you can keep off of your diet if you want to be youthful
and fit for as long as possible.
Chips and salty food
Not just sugar, you should also cut down
on the salt intake as it is equally bad for your health. You might not
add salt to your food, but you still can’t be sure about not consuming
salt as most of the canned foods already come with preserved salt. Excess of salt causes the skin to
dehydrate completely, thereby drying out the skin and making it appear
puffy. It is best to check the labels when buying canned food, to make sure you aren’t getting too much salt in your diet.
Burgers and fries
While junk food won’t age you overnight,
continuous indulgence in such diet can surely speed it up. Though some
fat is required per day i.e. about 75 grams, but excess can result in
clogged blood vessels. Burgers and fries can cause sticky
artery walls and this stops the oxygenated blood from reaching all the
important body organs. No oxygen means damaged skin cells, and they
won’t repair on their own. Also, junk food can cause bodily inflammation
and release of free radicals.
All those addicted to sugar rush of soda
and other sugary beverages are not just putting their health at risk
(condition like Type 2 diabetes), but also causing their skin to dry out
and become flaky. Again, soda contains excessive sugar content that can
result in glycation (as discussed in point 1, above). This, in turn,
causes inflammation in the body and many chronic diseases like diabetes
and dementia. Even diet pop is bad for your skin. Artificial sweeteners
must be avoided as they contain chemicals and artificial colours; they
can make your skin appear thinner.
Spicy food and peppers are extremely
good for metabolism, but they can also aggravate acne-prone skin,
particularly during menopause. As the blood vessels in your body are
most active during that phase, spicy food dilutes them and that is why
your skin appears less youthful at that time. However, you should not
worry that much about indulging in spicy curry once in a while as only
over- indulgence is going to result in permanent redness and puffy skin.
White breads and pastas
Simple carbs such as pastas and white
breads are known to have high- glycemic index – which is associated with
premature aging. These compounds inflame the skin and raise insulin
production. These carbs break down speedily and result in premature
aging of skin. They put you at the risk of Type 2 diabetes, acne, and
even skin inflammation. Alternatively, brown breads and brown rice do not break down easily, and that is why one can skin the aging process.