Everyone wants to live a healthy and long life. Growing old healthily is no art, claims American medical guru David Agus. If you’re going to stay healthy, you should eat mainly natural foods. Health does not have to be exhausting: a glass of wine, a smile, the right questions at the right time.
- Become a “self measurer.“
Take stock of your health. Write down how you feel in general, how well you sleep, if you have any aches or pains. More specifically, every day for three months, note the time of day, your blood pressure, your pulse rate, and what is going on at that time (you just had breakfast, for example). Ideally, repeat this exercise every few months to see changes. If you like it very precisely, get one of the many health apps for your smartphone or other tech toys like pedometers. Medicine is very personalized today, but you need to get started and gather information about your health. Take your health diary to your next doctor’s visit!
- bring regularity into your life
Your body loves predictability. Did you get up at the same time today as you did yesterday? Will you eat your next meal around the same time as the day before? One of the best ways to reduce physical stress and maintain your body’s state of equilibrium (homeostasis) is to keep solid habits, day in and day out, 365 days a year – regardless of weekends, holidays, social occasions, or overtime at the office. Your body especially values regularity in eating, sleeping, exercising, and taking medications.
- make your medical data available
Do you have copies of all your medical records, and are they available somewhere online? What if you end up in the emergency room and can’t talk? Store all of your data digitally, so you always have it available – either on the Internet or on a USB drive that you always carry with you. Give a trusted family member or friend your passwords so they can access those files if necessary.
- buy real food
Except for frozen fruits and vegetables, anything that doesn’t come with a label and nutritional information is probably real food. That’s precisely what you need. Focus on foods that are as natural as possible. Beware of health claims on any packaging! Don’t eat it if you have to be told why you should eat something.
- talk to your grocer
Your food should be natural and as fresh and seasonal as possible. That’s when it has the most nutrients. Supermarket employees should explain to you what just came in, where it came from, and how it was grown. The butcher can give you details about the livestock producers. You’ll be even closer to the source at farmers‘ markets. You automatically avoid nutrient-poor, industrially processed, out-of-season goods when you buy your fresh produce there.
- eat what suits you
Should you eat a gluten-free diet? Low in carbohydrates? Raw foods? Low in fat? Following the Weight Watchers system? Honestly, it doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy what you eat; it agrees with your body, and you don’t force yourself to follow a rigid plan that will likely cause you to miss out on certain nutrients. We can also learn from traditional eating habits: eat modest portions, eat meals together at the same table, and allow hunger pangs to develop between meals. You may even enjoy snacks and delicious desserts as long as you prepare them yourself with natural ingredients and as long as you eat at set times every day.
- stay relaxed at work
Stress at work makes you sick – there are numerous studies on this. So how can we alleviate the stress? Get into the habit of certain simple behaviors that will lift your mood. Here are a few suggestions: Take a walk in the bright sun during your lunch break. Walk around the office more, and stand and move around while talking on the phone. Take a deep breath each time before answering a call. Have relaxing music playing while you work. Forego the after-work beer, and hit the gym instead to blow off steam. Be specific about when you visit your favorite blogger or website during the day and when you check email and respond to messages.
- Have a glass of wine with dinner.
Moderate alcohol consumption, especially that of red wine, can reduce the risk of heart disease, we now know. One glass for women two for men is ideal. And an abstinent work week is not a free pass to binge drink on the weekend!
- pay attention to hygiene
Wash your hands. Regular soap does the trick wonderfully. Studies have shown that subjects who washed their hands at least five times a day were 35 percent less likely to catch the flu than those who did so less frequently.
- Don’t live alone
If you live with someone, you have a reason to pay more attention to your health and hygiene. You’re more likely to cope with stress because there’s someone at home to pour your heart out to. That may explain why happily cohabiting couples do better blood pressure tests than singles.
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