What 3 Things Can You Do NOW that Can Improve Your Health

I was interested to hear Dr Jeffrey Bland (the father of Functional Medicine and author of The Disease Delusion, answer the question “ What 3 Things Can You Do NOW that Can Improve Your Health?”

Here is his answer.

  1. Get away from the fast food restaurants for a period of a couple months and see how that influences your health. That alone will make a difference
  2. Improve your omega-3 oil intake from fatty fish like salmon. I know there’s a lot of back-and-forth controversy about omega-3s right now, but I can tell you if you weigh the studies going back to Joel Kremer who was at New York Medical College and did the first studies on placebo-controlled trials in rheumatoid arthritis with fish oils and showed a very positive clinical benefit under controlled conditions.
  3. Move your body without overdoing it. You need to keep moving because a low level of your immune system activities reforming and recycling old materials is really important for reducing inflammation. It almost seems paradoxical that a small amount of inflammation induces anti-inflammation, but that’s how it works. So you want to be in a proper physical conditioning program— movement, massage, physical medicine, chiropractic, acupuncture, all these things can be very helpful in the structural component of these conditions. Structure and function are intimately tied together. Often we forget that function is structure, and structure is function. So we need them to be tightly tied.

 

Tips for Eating Right on the Road – PART 2- ROAD TRAVEL

Road travel is a slower way to travel than flying. With most of the day spent in the car, you can easily lose track of time and what you’ve been eating. So, if you plan on snacking, fill up on whole foods with nutritional value— berries, bananas, and pistachios are a great place to start.

Plan Ahead: Long car rides are peppered with pit stops. But your choices for food aren’t limited to cheeseburgers and fries. Bringing along a picnic lunch helps you take control of your travel nutrition to help you eat healthy while you travel.

Pack snacks and meals that are easy for your body to digest. This will help you feel satisfied without the bloating and bellyache caused by fast food. Baby carrots, apples, grapes, and turkey  are examples of healthy snacks to bring on the road. Full of fiber, complex carbohydrates and protein, they provide a sustained source of energy and will keep your blood sugar from crashing later in the day. Making a meal ahead of time will help you avoid the temptation to stop for something greasy.

Picnic lunches don’t need to be eaten in the car, either. Find a rest stop or park along your route. Getting out of the car to eat and stretch your legs will break up long periods of driving with some fresh air and exercise. Walking after eating helps your body process your meal. So, stop and enjoy some time outside to ward off boredom and help digestion.

At a Gas Station or Fast Food Restaurant: Stopping at a gas station to fill your car’s tank and use the restroom doesn’t need to end with soda and candy. There are several healthy choices for snacks inside. Walk past the chocolate bars and pick up some trail mix instead. A bottle of unsweetened iced tea is a better selection than soda—regular or even diet.

Many gas stations have refrigerator boxes with pre-prepared salads, yogurt, fruit, and vegetables. These whole foods offer valuable nutrition and will keep you focused and alert on the road.

Should you find yourself in line at a drive-thru, order your meal strategically:

  • Choose an entrée with grilled chicken, rather than fried.
  • Exercise portion control and order off the kids’ menu.
  • Skip the soda and have ice water instead.

How Owning A Pet Can Improve Your Overall Health – PART 2

Pets can improve your emotional health. They give unconditional love and are always happy to see you. They shower you with love and attention.

This is PART 2 in a series on How Owning A Pet Can Improve Your Overall Health

CLICK HERE for PART 1

Knowing that you have someone who loves you at home gives you a sense of security and stability. Even if the rest of your world is chaos at the moment, having a loving relationship—even if it’s with a pet—can keep you grounded enough to cope. People with loving relationships toward their pets (it doesn’t count if you find them to be a burden or nuisance) also are more likely to be more confident in their day-to-day lives and have higher self-esteem.

Here are some specific ways pets can improve your emotional health

  1. Being around animals improves your mood. Throw a ball for a dog. Pet a bunny. Watch a fish swim or a turtle mosey around. You’ll feel calmer and less frantic.
  2. Just interacting with a pet can decrease the stress-inducing hormone cortisol and increase the feel-good hormone serotonin. You already know (from what you read in PART 1 of this series) that owning a pet can lead lower blood pressure. But that’s especially true during times of high mental stress, when pet owners are more likely to keep a lid on their blood pressure. .
  3. Pets make you feel happy. You know that gooey feeling you get when you stare deeply into your pet’s eyes and it lovingly stares back? That triggers the same hormonal feedback loop that a mother and her newborn baby feel when they gaze at one another. This release of oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, helps you bond to your pet and vice versa. It makes you feel happy, secure, and well. If you feel like your pet is your best friend—or even your child—now you know why.
  4. Growing up with a pet helps children develop empathy. Parents have long used pets to teach their children the responsibilities of physically taking care of someone else. Research shows that is just the start, because having a pet also improves kids’ emotional intelligence. The bonding hormones discussed above help children relate to a creature other than themselves. That helps kids learn to care for the feelings of their pet in addition to their physical needs. These lessons in empathy will help kids relate better to humans as they grow up. Children who have higher emotional intelligence tend to be more successful later in life.

PART 3 will discuss how Owning A Pet Can Improve Your Mental Health