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3 Strategies To Stay Healthy

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  1. Eat Plant-Strong
  2. Once, people who ate no meat were known as vegetarians. But these days, the term “plant strong” is becoming more prominent, both as a way to eradicate any negative connotations and to showcase the role that plants — mainly fruits and vegetables — can play in keeping us vigorous and healthy.
    When I mention protein, most people think of eggs, cheese, and meat. But, in fact, plants also contain protein. Among the most protein-packed are:

    • Almonds
    • Asparagus
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Mung bean sprouts
    • Quinoa

    Plants are also high in fiber, a carbohydrate that is low in calories, but fills you up. Fiber also helps to lower cholesterol, decreasing heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. For plants with higher fiber content, choose:

    • Beans
    • Berries
    • Nuts
    • Oats
    • Spinach

    Finally, plants are high in antioxidants, molecules that prevent or slow down oxidation, which is a process that ages our bodies and contributes to heart disease.
    In order to fully harness the power of antioxidants, choose a rainbow of fruits and vegetables for your plate; the more vivid the colors
    (red, yellow, and green peppers, for instance), the more antioxidants the food contains.

  3. Move Your Body
  4. Did you know that sitting is a lethal activity? A study published last March in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who sat more than 11 hours a day had a 40 percent higher risk of dying in the next three years. This was after adjusting for factors such as age, weight, physical activity, and general health status. The study also found the longer people sat, the higher their risk of death. There’s a simple antidote for this: Get up and move. As regular readers know, Dr. Crandall‘s advice is to walk at least one hour a day. Once you’re accustomed to that, build in other forms of exercise — such as weight-lifting, dancing, or tennis — as well.

    You can also add an activity simply by breaking up the hours you sit. If you’re watching television, use the commercials as a natural exercise break; do some jumping jacks, stretch, or march in place. If you’re the type of person who gets lost sitting in front of the computer, set an electronic alert to remind you to take a walk around the block, or even around the house. Don’t be passive. Get up!

  5. Reduce Stress
  6. Stress kills. And yes, I mean that literally. When you are under stress, your body releases a surge of harmful chemicals that increase alertness and pump extra blood to your arms and legs — basically getting you ready to either fight or run away. These chemicals also speed the heartbeat, raise blood pressure, and increase cholesterol. Whether it’s a sudden shock, like bad news of a loved one, or simmering levels of stress from financial or occupational troubles, these substances damage your heart and will destroy you in the long run. The first thing to do is to become aware of where your stress comes from. It may be that some of the things you are worrying about are entirely within your power to change. If you have long-term problems, consider seeking counseling or talk to your pastor.

In addition to aiding heart health and fighting diabetes, exercising also unleashes good chemicals into your bloodstream — such as endorphins, which are your body’s natural mood lifters. Too often, when we’re under stress, we isolate ourselves. This can lead to loneliness, which is another risk factor for heart disease. Instead, become a volunteer at your church, synagogue, or school. And let God into your life. I have found that by accepting the Lord, many burdens are lifted.

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