The subject of health care itself often seems plagued with conflicting advice, or even heated controversy. Witness the recent Cruise-Shields incident, which will doubtless occupy several chapters in future health and nutrition texts. So what to do about this advice-riddled and divisive field when you want to find out what you can do to better your own health? We suggest that you do a little research, read differing opinions, and the reasons given for them, and then go with what you feel confident about.
Although I am neither a doctor nor a health care professional, I have studied a great deal about the effects of various kinds of personal habits, vitmains, etc., and their known consequences to your health. So here I will offer what I regard as well-proven tips for really improving your own health in very practical and effective ways.
1. Eat yogurt and a banana every day. Yogurt has live cultures in it, meaning "good bacteria" that your body absolutely needs, and which any caffeine beverage or alcohol will tend to reduce or eliminate. Electricity and anti-biotics kill these off too. This good bacteria functions like millions of tiny janitors, eating up and cleaning away any sort of debris which might float about in your bloodstream or body. You must replace these daily to stay healthy in the long run, and yogurt is one of the easiest sources both for this, and for calcium. You can also buy acidophilus milk at the grocery store, or pro-biotics from your local health food store.
Bananas contain potassium, a mineral necessary for many bodily functions, including muscle development and maintaining proper hydration, and which can ? and often does ? suffer depletion from environmental and dietary factors. So, as they say, go bananas.
2. Eat fresh ? not cooked or canned - vegetables and fruit every day without fail. Once you heat a vegetable to over 120F degrees, the enzymes they contain begin to break down. These enzymes aid the digestion process, which forms the central part of good health. There are other ways to get enzymes in your diet, but eating fresh fruits and veggies remains the best way.
A great way to enjoy your daily dose of enzymes comes by "juicing." This has become something of a health craze of late, and a great one at that. You can buy a good juicer for about $200 or so, or for less if you don't mind bargain hunting. Try e-bay. To "jucie," you simply turn the juicer on and stuff your fruits and veggies down the chute. The juicer then aggressively works them over, yielding only the juice inside them out the bottom chute to fill your cup.
Fresh fruit and veggie juice is delicious, and it will really help improve your health in many little ways. Try combining different juice "partners," including oranges and carrots. They go well together. And, yes, ladies, the vitamins and minerals in fresh fruit and veggie juice can help give your skin a healthier, more youthful tone. And the anti-oxidants they offer overflow with other health benefits too.
3. Exercise For Fun. Find a game or sport you enjoy, and do it for 10 minutes a day. My children love it when I chase them around the park ? so I do. They laugh and we all exercise, but no one outruns "the claw." Studies show, time and again that most people don't exercise because they think they don't have enough time. But this is nonsense. Most people waste more than 10 minutes a day just chatting.
Start slowly if you are a beginner, and go easy. Maybe just walk for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace. Just do SOMETHING. 10 minutes of exercise every day will greatly enhance every aspect of your health, starting with your cardiovascular system. After you feel confident with your level of health, set some short term goals. Time yourself, and see if you can do it "just a little" farther or faster. If it's too hard, slow down or back off a little. Enjoy your exercise. It really can be fun.
Studies also show that you derive far more benefit from exercising if you do it at intervals. If you walk for ten minutes, walk slowly to warm up for the first minute, then speed it up with a little burst for the next minute or two, then slow way down to relax and rest up for your next, more rapid interval. This way, you are never more than a minute away from a resting point, and you don't feel so much pressure to perform. Interval training (or I.T.) has remarkable benefits (compared to mere "steady state" exercising) ? including the reducing of stress. So go alittle harder on Tuesday in your exercise routine, and a little easier on Wednesday. Then pick up the pace again on Thursday. Train at intervals.
4. Keep your house very clean at all times, especially the bathrooms and kitchen. This is where germs tend to accumulate. All houses have some dirt and mold in them. Dirty houses have a great deal more than clean ones, and over the long haul to much micro-garbage in the air will tend to cause all sorts of allergy problems and other harmful side-effects. Keep the toothbrushes well insulated when not using them, and store them in a room OTHER than the bathroom. It could tell you why, but some of you might be eating. Trust me, just do it.
If your circumstances make it too difficult to keep the house very clean, hire a cleaning service. Your health is worth the cost. And wash your hands ? and your children's hands ? often throughout the day. This simple practice can reduce illness-related "down time" by as much as 50% or more
5. This one may seem a bit odd at first, but there is good logic behind it. Try not to use the heater or air-conditioner in your vehicles much, especially if you travel on rural or dusty roads. The air blown into the cab (and blown into the faces and lungs of the driver and passengers) has NO FILTER. This is nuts, but it is true. Just think about it for a minute.
Your engine has an air filter in it because dirt blows under the hood and can clog up the mechanical works. Hence the filter. But the same dirty air, which blows across the engine and into the cab of your vehicle, doesn't have to traverse a filter before it reaches your lungs.Yikes.
It is often quite dirty ? especially if you live near a construction site or dirt road ? and this dirt can accumulate in your lungs, and possibly even your bloodstream. I have no idea why no one seems to have thought of this when they built the vehicles we drive, especially when so many now spend countless hours commuting ? sitting behind the wheel, with the heater or A/C blasting away. I know of no studies on this topic either, but common sense says "Don't blast a steady stream of dirt into your lungs over long periods of time."
If you can, instead of using the heater, put on another layer of clothes, or a very warm jacket. If you can, instead of using the A/C, just roll down the window(s) to cool off ? or drink some cold water. And remember, exercise helps keep your system stay cleaner too, so take that advice seriously and put it into practice.
Your personal health ranks very high among your personal assets, so take it seriously enough to spend some time thinking about it, and doing something to improve it. Start with our "big five." You will be glad you did.
Carson Day has written approximately 1.3 gazillion articles and essays, many with very insightful, if alternative, viewpoints. He presently writes for Ophir Gold Corporation, and specialized in the history of ideas in college. He has been quoted in the past as saying "What box?" and remains at large despite the best efforts of the civil authorities.
You can visit the Ophir Gold Corporation blogsites at http://scriberight.blogspot.com (Writing With Power), http://ophirgoldcorp.blogspot.com (OGC's Free Web Traffic), or http://ophirgold.blogspot.com (Church and State 101)