What are some habits of super healthy people?
- Sleep between 7–8 hours; not less, not more, according to a recent research reported in European Heart Journal. Sleeping keeps you in approximately the same position for a long period encouraging inflammation. Force yourself to get out of bed especially when you just merely watching TV or reading.
- Chronic lack of sleep has been associated with a host of physical ailments, including heart disease, diabetes and memory loss. People who sleep less than five hours a night for five years have a 300 percent increased risk of hardened arteries. Once arteries are damaged, returning to a healthy sleep pattern is unlikely to heal them.
- Chronic inflammation slowly ages you. It is caused by conditions such as obesity, lack of exercise, prolonged sitting, diet packed with red meat and void of vitamins and fiber. You can minimize chronic inflammation and even reverse it by doing the following: Adopt a wholesome diet, get regular exercise, avoid or reduce excess weight, get adequate quality sleep, minimize stress and don’t smoke.
- Along with depression, sleep apnea might be the cause of sleeping long hours as you are trying to make up quality sleep. Treat apnea as soon as you can, as it takes a toll on your heart, is linked to Alzheimer’s, erectile dysfunction, arrhythmia and high blood pressure. Apnea causes you to seize breathing for short periods and mostly robs your REM – the restful sleep. It shocks your system many times at night. People who are overweight and therefore have fat deposits in their wind pipe that blocks the air. Usually they snore loudly- produced by the air as it passes through the narrowing. This is called an obstructive apnea. Once treated, many describe that their depression goes away in about 3 months and the clarity of thinking improves. even ADD symptoms correct themselves. Unfortunately, many don’t know they have apnea. I’ve learned about mine during my knee operation. The surgeon noticed my interrupted breathing and referred me to a sleep study, I’ve learned that I was briefly ceasing to breathe 20 times per hour. In my case, I suffer from a different kind of apnea, the central apnea. My brain somehow “forgets” to breathe during sleep probably due to genetics. Central, obstructive and mixed apneas are treated by a CPAP/BiPAP machines.-about $4,000-paid by insurance. It took some time getting used to wearing one, but now I can’t sleep without it.
- Those who regularly take anti-anxiety medications such as Ativan, sleeping pills, Benadryl, Vistaril and some heartburn medications. (the operating word is “on regular basis”) should know that these medications have been been linked to dementia later in life. These meds should never be taken for a long period. A Group medications with anti-cholinergic effect – drying effect- example, meds with side effects of dry mouth., btw, dry mouth increases cavities and requires special gargles or medication to correct and save teeth. Nexium taken to relieve heartburn is such medication and should not be taken for more than 2 weeks at the time. If you suffer from frequent heartburn try to change your diet rather than pop the pill. The top offenders of acid reflux are caffeine and tomatos.
- To further avoid inflammation in your body, make sure you Interrupt sitting or laying position every 30–45 minutes with a walk or stretch for at least 2 minutes. This will help to get your heart circulate faster and prevents accumulation of inflammation in your body. Research consistently confirms that prolonged sitting is as harmful as smoking. Our body was not meant to sit. My doctor at Duke, uses a treadmill at a low speed with a computer attached to it. He charts for prolong period while walking at low speed.
- If you exercise 1 hour a day and then remain sedentary, it cancels the effect of your exercise. So spread it through the day. The very minimum required to prevent sudden death is 4000 steps a day, calculated in recent study (search NY Times). Aim for 10,000 steps at day (about 35-45 minutes of walking). If you want to affect your heart, intentionally increase the speed for about 20 minutes. People with healthy hearts- from various Greek islands, for example-spend most of their day walking and working outside even nowadays: picking grapes, making cheese, lifting, bending, reaching up and down and so on. The very healthy societies usually spend daily activity equivalent to walking 17,000 steps per day. You’ll be surprised that it’s not as much walking as you may think. It requires short bursts of walking throughout the day.
- A very good friend of mine, comes from a large family-4 brothers, 3 sisters. All of his siblings about the same age in their 50–60. Everyone except him has a variety of chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, CHF, high cholesterol. They are African American, and therefore have a higher risk. They all eat similar type unhealthy diets. What sets my friend apart, I believe, is the fact that he works as a busy massage therapist. For the past 30 years, while massaging Clients he stands on average for 6 hours for 6 days a week. At 60, he does not have a single chronic condition his family has; his cholesterol is low, and he is not taking any prescription medications. To me, this suggests that exercise counteracts negative effects of unhealthy eating and maybe even bad genes. There of course might be other factors, but if you look at Sumu wrestlers, in general they are healthy despite being overweight and eating high caloric diets. They do exercise daily.
- At least, twice a week, lift weights or otherwise stress your muscles for 20 minutes minimum. Muscles grow when you rip them by lifting, pushing them slightly beyond comfort. Make sure you get enough sleep as muscles grow while you are asleep. Muscles burn calories faster and it takes more calories to maintain muscles than fat. Besides, your heart is a muscle. We begin losing muscle mass in your 30’s.
- Do Kegel exercise regularly for your sexual health and if you are older to prevent incontinence.
- If you are older, try Tai Chi. It improves muscle tone, balance and is low impact. Balance exercises, including dancing helps to prevent falls. As you age, one of the outcomes of falling is a broken hip. The danger of breaking a hip for a senior person is death within a few years after the fall.
- Brush your teeth at least 2x day and floss. Flossing is as important as brushing. The bacteria that’s harming your gums ends up in your heart. Very bad gingivitis has been known to infect your heart’s valves. I’ve met patients with heart attacks caused by by gum health. (of course heart attacks have more than one cause but flossing can’t hurt. Moreover, bacteria from you teeth can also end up in your lungs and cause access or pneumonia.
- It turns out that bad carbohydrates are more dangerous than meats and cause heart attacks and stroke. Bad carbohydrates are processed grains, sugar, white bread, white rice. Try to reduce them in your diet. You can eat more of them if your lifestyle is active, then they are burned with activity but definitely emphasize complex carbs. The issue with them, they have a very high glycemic index and spike your blood sugar very fast and damage heart and blood vessels by doing so. Healthy carbs usually have fiber and go into the blood stream much slower, which is what you want. From Walter Willett’s Eat, Drink and be Healthy-Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating.
- Diets rich in vegetables, nuts, olive oil, berries, fish, and whole grains (such as the Mediterranean diet or the MIND diet) have been shown to improve working memory and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Obesity causes many of our ills including diabetes, strokes, poor sexual performance, and poor self-esteem. Most of a healthy diet should consist from a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. 2–3 times a week you should eat beans. 5 days a week eat nuts (especially walnuts, almonds), Eat mainly good sources of protein: poultry, eggs, fish, beans. If you must eat red meat, get the leanest you can find. Eat it in small portions and no more than once/twice a week or less. Mediterranean dieters eat red meat once a month.
- As it turns out, the canned fish are pretty healthy and probably better than fresh as they are usually wildly caught and freshly canned. In terms of mercury levels, a canned fish like salmon probably contains less mercury than fresh, because smaller-size fish, which carry less mercury than larger ones, are more likely to end up in cans. If you choose canned, fish canned in oil is more likely than fish packed in water to retain more omega-3 fatty acids, considered good brain food, because the oil helps keep the nutrients in the fish. Oil adds extra calories, but if packing in oil means someone will eat fish they wouldn’t otherwise, it’s worth it.
- McDonalds salad is a poor choice. Salad dressing is high in salt and saturated fat. It’s really a serving of salt with the lettuce on the side. Lettuce is just water and has a low nutritional value. However, other leafy greens are a much better choice. Kale, chard, spinach, collards. Spinach is great for your brain. Raw is better, but has to be washed well. Carrots and tomatoes are better consumed cooked to break the nutrients out of the cells. Tomatoes are better cooked or heated with fat (olive oil).
- Don’t eat butter in large amount and only use it for cooking/taste sparingly. At least 2 times a week you should eat fish. (Cold water fish as such fish has has Omega 3-fat fish uses to keep itself warm-For example, salmon, tuna, sardines, herring). Omega 3 protects our heart, stimulates our brain, and even improves our mood. Unfortunately more than 2 servings/week is not advisable as it contains mercury especially for pregnant women. It might surprise you that canned fish often is a better choice than fresh fish since they can them almost immediately after being caught.
- You must avoid trans-fats, the worst kind of fat. No processed meats like sausage and bacon-they are linked to stomach cancer. Eggs are good in moderation if you already have high cholesterol. It seems that some people are more sensitive to them than others-it shoots up your cholesterol. Others have absolutely no affect-you can experiment. Egg yolk is the source of cholesterol and fat, not egg whites. Eat plenty of olive oil (choose only virgin cold pressed, grape seed, avocado. They have plenty of Omega-3. They keep you satiated longer. Avoid or eat small amounts of palm and coconut oils. Not many know that they have contain high cholesterol content and clog arteries.
- Take a daily multiple vitamin. Especially if you are a woman or don’t get to be on the sun much, add milk for vitamin D and calcium. Tomatoes, for the best results should be eaten heated with olive oil as they contain fat soluble vitamins.. Drink plenty of water. Coffee and teas are good, just watch them sugar. And of course, don’t drink then 5 hours before sleep, depending on how sensitive you are.
- SODAS KILL-the worst garbage invented by men. Even diet sodas have been implicated in heart disease. Even one third of a can a day causes premature death. Fruit juices are as bad as sodas. All it is sugar water. They spike your blood sugar high for a brief period, not good for your heart.
- The latest research uncovered that eating in a short period of the day makes your blood healthy, decreases blood sugar, improves your metabolic health, reduces cholesterol. What this means is to eat only during 7–8 hours a day, but no more. It turns out the breakfast is not the most important food of the day. For example, I eat between 12–19:00 and fast the rest. It improved my skin tone, I sleep better, think clearer. Apparently, after 12 hours the body starts using stored fat. It is hard to do initially, but you can start gradually decreasing the time until you get to 8 hours. The results can be seen after about 4 weeks. In recent study, people on such diet lost 3 percent of their body fat after 8 weeks eating similarly. It appears they automatically ate 500 less per day, without watching calories. The only thing they were watching is the clock. See books by dr. Funk.
- Having said all of this, even bad stuff is ok in moderation, no one is perfect-if you are active, it goes out of your body quicker.
SOCIAL CONTACTS FOR WELL BEING:
- Find groups, friends. Something positive happens to your brain when you are social. Socialization requires special brain exertion. Dance is another activity that requires undue brain usage. Pick up learning a foreign language. Anything that makes your brain to struggle a little, develops different brain passages that keep your brain in good shape. Exercise, at least 30 minutes a day freshens up your brain by washing off the byproducts. Really good is period training. After you are in better shape, stress your heart for 2 minutes, that means walk very fast, then continue walking at a slower pace to get the heart back to comfortable pattern. When you stress it this way, you develop heart muscle and let the blood cross the brain-body barrier and wash off your brain.
- Great way to stress your heart is to use stairs for as little as 30 seconds every day, until you are out of breath. Start this after getting in basic shape. This improves your heart and increases endurance.
- Anything that’s good for your heart is great for your brain. Exercise is one example. Do aerobic exercise almost daily. To get to the brain, you have to work harder so that the circulation can reach it. The speeding circulation washes off by products and bring nutrients to your brain. Exercise as as good as antidepressants for depression, but when you are depressed, unfortunately it’s very hard to get moving. Catch 22. People in initial stages of dementia are prescribed exercise.
- Participate in a team sport if you can. The best one is tennis, badminton, and soccer. For some reasons, these particular sports are the most beneficial in help to feel well and mentally sound based on research done in Denmark recently due to the social element. Try out any team sport you can do for your age. I once found a group of volleyball players in New York. Everyone was older than 50. After a few months of playing we bonded so close. Every Wednesday for 2 hours we bumping a silly ball around. Going home afterward to me felt felt like complete happiness. It helped that everyone was tolerant of each other’s mistakes as we played for fun, not to win an election.
- Dancing involves part of your brain that keeps your brain young and makes you happy. Benefits include exercise, social interactivity, and an increase in cognitive abilities.
- Excessive loneliness and stress can cause mild brain damage. Stress depletes your immune system.
- Specially designed video games like NeuroRacer have been shown to improve seniors’ working memory, even beating twenty-year-olds who hadn’t played the game. However, the best thing you can do for your memory is to move/exercise. Video games can affect specific feature in your brain, for example focusing. However, if you move briskly every day, you’ll affect the whole brain and improve various functions. Whatever is good for heart, is good for your brain. Even at the earliest signs of dementia, doctors recommend exercising.
- The best way to handle stress is with Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy technique. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is very powerful and fairly quick. Its effectiveness has been proven by much research. It works and works fairly quickly, usually 26 weeks. One can often succeed without a psychologist, on his/her own. It is effective for depression, social and other types of anxiety, anger issues, self esteem conflicts and so on. It’s based on the premise that our brain is not perfect and often operates with cognitive distortions. Events in your life down make you depressed. Your thoughts or the view you take of your situation affect how you feel. If you feel a negative emotion, your brain is thinking in an extreme or distorted way. Chances are that the thoughts are automatic and unnoticed by you. They seem so real, almost second-nature. With practice, (you must write it down), you can rewire your brain and make it think practically. For example, if you get burned badly by a hot stove, you are afraid of all stoves, even the cold ones. IT’s a distortion as the cold stoves don’t burn you. You must write it down, as you process things more objectively when you do. In case of the stove, you mindfully weight if it’s really logical to be afraid of the cold stoves if you automatically feel it. Then you test your hypothesis by touching the cold stoves for a period of time and see if they are dangerous. Then you rephrase your belief. The process takes about 15–30 minutes a day. After 4 weeks or so, you will begin to catch irrational thoughts and rewire your mind not be become upset. The best books of this method are Mind over Mood and Feeling Good. Both based on sound research. While medications, such as antidepressants, help the mental issues usually return after you stop them. On the other hands, the CBT inoculates it for long time., especially if you continue to practice it. Educated patients with college degree, for some reasons respond better to any therapy than those without.
I heard an interview of a man in his 60’s who was a skate boards for fun. When asked, how he is able to fall and not get hurt he answered, “It’s very simple. I was a mediocre skater in my 20’s, but I never stopped!”