Five tips for a healthy mind, body and spirit

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Most of us are not aware of simple things we do every day that affect our health, good or bad. I am a firm believer that being healthy is a direct reflection of what you put into your body, mind and spirit. You are made to live in harmony with nature, which means everything you put into your body is designed to become a part of you.

I have some very simple recommendations which, if you practice regularly, can prevent many of the illnesses that may bring you into the doctor’s office. The goal is staying healthy and living a long life, with the added benefit of feeling well and energetic.

1. Remember that food is intended to become a part of your DNA.

When you eat organic, whole foods as close to the way they appear in nature — untouched by pesticides, genetic modification, or general processing — it is the healthiest for you. Highly processed foods often have excess fats and sugar, which can lead to diabetes and cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke or kidney disease).

2. Exercise is essential to stay healthy.

Exercise induces your endorphins which are natural hormones that counterbalance stress. Exercise also increases your good cholesterol called HDL and decreases bad cholesterol called LDL. It also increases your body’s efficiency of using glucose for energy and decreases your insulin levels. As you might guess, these things decrease your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

3. Minimize refined sugar, carbohydrates and some dairy products.

These are inflammatory and inflammation leads to cell damage. Inflammation leads to plaque buildup in your blood vessels, also called atherosclerosis. Plaque can break off and cause heart attack and stroke. Inflammation is also a huge contributor to arthritis and related diseases. Using natural spices such as turmeric can help you reduce and eliminate inflammation.

4. Adequate sleep is extremely important

Your body repairs itself during sleep. But not all sleep is equal. You need deep sleep, or eight hours, to allow the most efficient cell repair. Decreased sleep equals decreased repair. Your vitamin D levels also affect your sleep. When you get direct sunlight to the skin, your body will metabolize and increase your vitamin D levels naturally.

5. Minimize stress.

There are multiple ways to accomplish this. Exercise is often helpful. If you cannot run on a treadmill or spend an hour in the gym then try Tai Chi or Yoga, which are both low impact and work well for improving balance, increasing muscle tone, and calming your mind.

To minimize stress, I also highly recommend mindfulness — some may call it meditation. Studies have proven that mindfulness reduces stress considerably. You can try sitting or lying still without stimulation from electronics or other devices. Practice deep breathing and perhaps have soft, instrumental music in the background. Try five minutes at a time until you find the right combination and time frame that works for you.

Prevention of disease is the framework for a long life, and a healthy mind, body and spirit. As you work to improve one area, the others are sure to follow.

Author

Tammy Jones, MD, is a primary care doctor with Anne Arundel Medical Group (AAMG) Chesapeake Family Medicine, a new practice opening in Annapolis, Md., on April 18. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 443-481-4080.

 

 

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