As we ring in the new year, it’s a good time to reflect upon things each of us can do to be healthier. The biggest impact that can be made on our health is in our day to day actions. Reviewing those actions and resolving to change just a little each year can set us on a course to better health. Here are some areas for consideration.
Fruits and vegetables. Yes, it’s that basic – eat more broccoli, cabbage, green beans, spinach, squash and other non-starchy vegetables. Eat an apple for a snack instead of crackers or potato chips. Eating fruits and vegetables, preferably raw or lightly cooked helps our bodies in several ways. Fruits and vegetables contain enzymes (when raw), essential minerals and vitamins, and fiber. Fruits and non-starchy vegetables are somewhat cleansing to the body, helping us to eliminate the byproducts of what we eat so that our body doesn’t have to create something like inflammation, or cholesterol, or joint pain, etc.
Food chain. Eat as close to the natural form as possible. In other words, the freshest and least processed is the better choice. For instance, fresh steamed green beans rather than green bean casserole made with canned green beans, or an apple instead of that cool rolled up fruit snack, or plain old-fashioned oatmeal instead of those super puffed, frosted oat flakes, or raw nuts instead of honey roasted nuts.
Vitamins. Take a high quality vitamin and mineral supplement. A quote from the congressional records during Eisenhower’s time – "Laboratory tests prove that the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the eggs, the milk and meat of today are not what they were a few generations ago. The alarming fact is that fruits, vegetables and grains now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain minerals are starving us, no matter how much we eat." This document goes on to point out that 99 percent of American people are deficient in minerals, and that a marked deficiency in one of the really important minerals actually results in disease.
Exercise – Movement is necessary for health. If your work is not physically active, make time for regular exercise. Brisk walking 4 times per week for 30 minutes or more is enough to keep your internal organs fit. Also add some stretching and resistance exercises. There is much documentation on the benefits of these today.
Cleansing – Internal cleansing is extremely important in the chemical age we live in today. Our bodies weren’t designed for additives, preservatives, synthetic hormones, prescription drugs, and other chemicals. I recommend an herbal cleanse once or twice a year to help our bodies eliminate the things that tend to accumulate from our modern lifestyle.
Attitude - The power of positive thinking influences our health significantly. Our thoughts actually affect our internal chemistry, and as you would suspect, positive thoughts yield positive body chemistry and negative thoughts yield negative body chemistry. You can choose what to think.
Remember, it is what we do daily or habitually that has the most impact on our health and well being. Have a happy and healthy new year!
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas. www.naturalcowgirl.com