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20 MINUTES THAT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE

Each and every day your habits and routine can either be promoting good health, or undermining your health. What you do each day has a great effect on how well you feel today, and also how long and healthy your life will likely be. Maintaining good health does not need to be time consuming.

All it requires is some organization and forethought. Is your lifestyle working for you or against you? Below you will find some healthy habits that can go a long way to improving your health and extending your life. It should not take more than 20 minutes to incorporate all of these into your day:

EAT A SALAD EACH DAY

Raw vegetables are essential for good health. It is important to have a raw vegetable salad every single day, not just during summer. Try to have a variety of different coloured vegetables, as they each have unique benefits. Try the following to make your salads more exciting: grated raw carrot and beetroot, sugar snap peas, torn cos lettuce leaves, sliced red capsicum, fresh avocado, red radish and torn basil leaves. Vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phyto chemicals that have proven cancer fighting properties.

MAKE A RAW VEGETABLE JUICE

This can be time consuming and cumbersome unless you are well organized. Choose a time when you are not stressed or hurried; if the morning doesn’t suit you; make your juice when you come home from work. When you are preparing vegetables for dinner, wash and chop some extras and leave them in a bowl in the fridge, ready for the next time you make a juice. Newer model juicers are very user friendly and easy to clean. A raw vegetable juice is packed with nutrients that require very little digestive effort on your part; they have a powerful detoxifying effect on your body.

EAT OMEGA 3 FATS EACH DAY

Omega 3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that is very lacking in modern diets. Most people consume an excess of omega 6 fats (found in most vegetable oil and margarine) and don’t get nearly enough omega 3. Great sources of omega 3 fats to choose from include oily fish (e.g. Salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, and tuna), walnuts, green leafy vegetables, ground flaxseeds and flaxseed oil. Omega 3 fats have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, assist memory and concentration, reduce depression and help inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

TAKE A MINERAL SUPPLEMENT

The Western diet is typically very deficient in minerals. White bread, white rice and most pasta have been stripped of minerals and are mostly just starch. Intensive factory farming has depleted soil quality, leaving it low in minerals. Processed and refined foods are largely devoid of minerals. A diet high in sugar, caffeine and red meat can flush minerals out of your body in your urine. The minerals you are most likely to be deficient in include magnesium, calcium, selenium and zinc. Magnesium, calcium, boron, and manganese are required for strong bones and healthy muscles; selenium and zinc are needed to keep your immune system strong and help you fight off viruses. You can find all of these minerals combined in the one capsule to provide bone and joint nutrients.

DON’T FORGET TO HAVE A LAUGH

Laughter is a great way to cope with the stress of everyday life, and life would be pretty bleak without it. In our body laughter literally undoes the harmful effects of stress. Laughter is a great immune system booster; it helps to raise infection fighting T cells, B cells and gamma-interferon. When we laugh we release a flood of endorphins; feel good chemicals that act as natural painkillers. Laughing also helps to lower blood pressure and levels of stress hormones.

DRINK A CUP OF TEA

Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water, and it is an excellent source of antioxidants called flavonoids. The four main types of tea: white, green, oolong and black tea are all derived from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. White tea and green tea are unfermented, and therefore are highest in antioxidants. However, you will still obtain a lot of benefits no matter which tea you prefer. Research has shown that tea drinkers have lower rates of cardiovascular disease than non tea drinkers. Tea may also help protect you against cancer, strengthen your bones, and reduce the risk of cavities in your teeth. Just don’t spoil the beneficial effects of your cup of tea by putting sugar in it. A healthier alternative to sugar is Stevia; it is calorie free and has no effect on blood sugar levels.

GET SOME SUNLIGHT

Fears of skin cancer and premature ageing have caused many people to unnecessarily avoid the sun. Some sunlight is vitally important to our good health. When sunlight hits our skin, the cholesterol in our skin is converted into vitamin D. We need vitamin D in order to absorb calcium properly, but this vitamin also has a range of other health benefits: it strengthens our immune system, helping to protect us against cancer, and it improves insulin action, reducing your risk of diabetes. As little as five to ten minutes of sun exposure to the skin, three times per week between the hours of 10am and 3pm is enough. If you can’t always get into the sun, egg yolks and sardines are other great sources of vitamin D. Sunlight is especially important in winter, as it can prevent a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).


Margaret Jasinska
Naturopath
Co-author of “Cholesterol: The Real Truth” and “The Ultimate Detox”

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