Jennifer Closshey shares some wisdom for people looking to live healthier.
Are there genes in your family you are concerned about?
Does heart disease, cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease run in your family? Be encouraged: those genes only account for about 20% of your health status, while the remaining 80% is determined by your lifestyle choices, according to both the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.
Modern medical research has shown lifestyle choices factor heavily into one’s health. There are limited categories of lifestyle choices, such as diet, exercise, sleep, smoking, transportation and stress management, but there are thousands of choices in these categories we must make. We usually acquire our lifestyle patterns from our parents, from training or changes implemented over time.
Huge changes in lifestyle can be challenging to make. Try these simple tips to make a big difference with minimal effort.
Sleep and weight management
Getting adequate sleep plays a huge role in weight control. Sleep loss changes body chemistry, resulting in increased appetite. Sleep loss drives a craving for sweets and salty foods. Leave the candy alone and catch some ZZZs.
Remember that crazy aunt?
You know, the one who ate all of her foods one at time and in a special order? She might have been on to something. Eat all your veggies and proteins first. Save the richer foods, such as mashed potatoes and gravy, bread and butter and casseroles, for last. I like to fill up on veggies and protein and then just taste the others.
A higher metabolism burns more calories and helps control body fat. A simple way to boost and keep your body burning calories is to stay active. Your day off is the perfect time to restore your body with activities in a healthy environment. Go for a walk, whether you’re barefoot in the grass or on the beach. Play in the sun with your children or dog. Borrow the neighbor’s kids or dog to keep you young in heart and body.
Look for rainbows
Naturally-occurring, bright, colorful food choices are natural body healers. A recent U.S. study of 3,600 adults, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, associated the increased intake of carotenoids with slower aging. The powerful antioxidants found in plant-based foods assist with slowing aging.
Think color for your foods, such as carrots, cantaloupes, mangoes, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, watermelon, apricots, apples, oranges, grapes, zucchini, peppers and squash. Popeye was right about spinach.
Include omega 3 every day
The body relies on omega 3 fatty acids to function at a cellular level. A benefit of daily omega 3 intake is blood fat management (triglycerides), which helps control heart disease. Curb stiffness and joint pain of rheumatoid arthritis with omega 3, which also seems to boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs. According to WebMD, some research suggests omega 3 may help protect against Alzheimer's disease and dementia and may have a positive effect on gradual memory loss linked to aging. Omega 3 is also associated with benefits to those with depression, asthma and ADHD and in baby development.
Naturally occurring in fatty fish, such as wild-caught salmon, anchovies, bluefish, herring, mackerel and sardines, omega 3 is also available in supplement form at your local health food or vitamin store. I enjoy tuna and salmon at least three times a week for this anti-aging, secret fatty acid.
Jennifer E. Closshey, Ph.D., is a doctor of integrative health based out of Plant City. She teaches yoga classes at the Plant City Family YMCA on Thursdays. Contact her at JenniferClosshey@gmail.com.