Recently, an E-mail news article from the Maryland University of Integrative Health center caught my eye. The article, written by Dr. John Schumann, stated the obvious to those of us in health care. There are simply no shortcuts to health. The power of prevention and a healthy lifestyle are just so well documented, they can’t be ignored.
Here’s Dr. Schumann’s list to stay healthy: 1. Get enough sleep. Eight hours a night minimum. 2. Move your body throughout the day. Prolonged sitting is the new silent killer. 3. Eat well (Michael Pollan’s diet of healthy foods, mostly plants, not too much). 4. Interact socially. Isolation leads to depression among many other health issues. 5. Spend time reflecting on what you are grateful for. Daily gratitude actually improves the immune system.
I would add three others: 6. Drink enough water to have a clear urine twice a day, morning and late afternoon. Hydration is a very good thing for every organ in the body. 7. Engage in some form of daily mind/body activity such as deep breathing or meditation (see my previous posts), yoga or t’ai chi. 8. Lastly, deal honestly with unresolved emotional issues, UEI’s as I call them. Everyone has them lingering below the surface, disrupting our lives in subtle and not so subtle ways. Forgiveness is the path to solving their harmful effects on the mind, body, spirit.
Dr. Schumann also mentions the world’s so called Blue Zones. These are places where people live the healthiest and longest lives with many people living well beyond a 100 years. They include Okinawa, Japan, Sardinia, Italy and Loma Linda, California. These places have built in healthy diets rich in local plants, lots of walking to most places and plenty of inter-generational social interaction.
Interestingly, these people are modest alcohol drinkers and eat small portions of meat ( Loma Linda being the exception because of the large number of Seventh Day Adventists). But they don’t use refined sugars which are ingredients in almost all packaged foods.
You can significantly improve your health if you are willing to make most, if not all, of the lifestyle changes listed above. Preventing chronic illness is far superior to waiting until you develop it. I’ve said for a long time that the only good cure for cancer is not getting it. Once you get it, the treatment choices are limited and less than pleasant. Here’s to a Happy Valentines Day, with a healthier lifestyle going forward.
Dr. Allan Bazzoli, MD is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Holistic Medicine, and Physical Medicine in the Mt. Vernon/Central Ohio and Columbus area. He is available for speaking engagements on a variety of holistic medical topics. This material can be distributed free to the public as long as there is no remuneration and credit is given to the author.