“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” Mahatma Gandhi
When we were young, running around doing cartwheels in the grass and jumping off the swing set, we had little concern about our health. As we have aged, we have very active friends who are in better health then us, and sadly some who are not enjoying a good quality of life. We know that a critical part of being happy, is to be healthy. Without physical limitations, we can enjoy our senior years with our family and friends. There are some common-sense ways to improve the chances that our quality of life remains wonderful throughout the years.
- Avoid sugar and the foods that convert quickly into sugar. In the past, fat was demonized, and that lead to an explosion of low-fat and non-fat foods, that are not healthier than full fat, unprocessed foods. “That’s because many times, manufacturers were taking out the fat and replacing it with — you guessed it — sugar.” ¹ Sugar is a poor ingredient in food because:
- Sugar is addictive
- Sugar damages your immune system
- Sugar robs your body of essential minerals
- Sugar can lead to the development of cancer
- Consumption of sugar is detrimental to the liver
- Sugar causes insulin resistance, diabetes, and weight gain
- Sugar causes premature aging
- Sugar leads to depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, irritability and mood swings
- Sugar causes hyperactivity in children
- Sugar can affect your cholesterol ²
2) Eat real food. “Real food means low sugar and high fiber.” ³ Vegetables, ancient grains, lentils, and beans are great choices to avoid sugar and benefit from fiber. Stay away from highly processed foods that have the nutrients taken out, yet have preservatives and sugar added to them. Read the ingredient list on the foods that you are purchasing and do not buy them if you do not understand what a word is on the packaging. Vegetables don’t need an ingredient list.
3) Get moving. “Just about any exercise is good for you, a new health study shows.
Doctors suggest we should exercise every day. Exercise lessens your chance of dying young. However, even people who exercise only a little bit can lessen their risks.
If someone is completely inactive, the best thing they can do is even getting out and taking a walk, said Hannah Arem. She researches health at George Washington University in Washington, District of Columbia.
U.S. and global guidelines call for 150 minutes of light exercise, or 75 minutes of intense exercise, each week. Doctors say it is smart to spread out your exercise, so you get some on most days of the week. According to past studies, there are likely many benefits to regular exercise.
Some people pack their workouts into one or two workouts a week. These people lower their risk of dying in the next 10 years nearly as much as people who exercise more often, the new study suggests.
Any amount of activity helped cut the risk of dying of heart disease. Compared to not exercising at all, exercise helped reduce risk by about two-fifths.
Exercise has many other benefits. It can help prevent memory loss, depression, high blood pressure, unhealthy sleep patterns and diabetes, experts say. Some of these effects don’t last very long, Arem says. The more often you exercise, the more of these benefits you’ll experience.” ⁴
Remember to eat real foods and look for ways you can move your body, keeping it strong and maintaining your range of motion, all while having fun at the same time. Eating healthfully and moving any way you like; walking, running, or dancing, can bring you wonderful results and an opportunity to make a wealth of new friends too.
Debi Bernish is passionate about helping people eat and cook healthfully and exercising to maintain a great quality of life. Debi has a B.S. in Nutrition and Food Science from Illinois State University and ran track for the Redbirds. She has continued to remain active her entire life, most recently competing in the 8K Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago joined by her Minnesota friends.