Top 10 Things to DO for Your Health

In today's world most people expect a cure for illness to come in the form of a pill. For over 40 years we have been 5 years from a drug to cure cancer, heart disease, diabetes, you name it. True cure, as it turns out, comes from choices people make in how they live their daily lives.

Here are my top 10 favorite ways to add health to your picture and prevent future dis-ease.

1. Get outside EVERYDAY. We evolved under the sun (and the rain). Our bodies need it, and, believe it or not, our houses are often the most toxic spaces in our daily lives. Go out and take a deep breath, or 100, see #4.

2. Move your body! Do 30-60 minutes of low impact movement EVERYDAY. Tai Chi, yoga, walking, and rebounding (mini trampoline) are all great ways to get your circulation to move nutrients in and toxins out. If your are doing aerobic exercise be sure to wear a heart monitor and stay below 80% of your max heart rate.

3. Drink plenty of filtered water for your kidneys. You have heard me say it before and I say it again, drink water! One half of your body weight in ounces is a great place to start.

4. Take 100 deep conscious breaths a day for your lungs. When was the last time you filled your lungs? In addition to being an excellent way to eliminate toxins, deep breathing also massages your heart, calms your nervous system, and increases your energy.

5. Make healthy eating choices. Eat food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants. What counts as food? See my article "The story of food Part II: The Simple Truth". Eat in a calm, relaxed atmosphere. The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is the "rest and digest" nervous system. The PSN digest your foods only if it is turned on. It is only turned on if your "fight or flight" nervous system is off. RELAX, enjoy your meal, and don't forget to CHEW (I'm serious)!

6. Drink a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar 10 minutes before meals to stimulate your digestive juices. This is especially important for meals you don't cook (no, the microwave does not count as cooking!), and eat on the run (which you won't do anymore, see #5). Tip: get a 2oz dropper bottle and fill it with vinegar to have with you at work or school. Take 2 droppers full before meals.

7. Take probiotics or eat a homemade, cultured food EVERYDAY. Wait a second. Didn't I say not to take things? The truth is all healthy cultures traditionally ate cultured or fermented food providing their digestion with beneficial GI flora and protecting it from disease. This just isn't the case in our day and age. Yogurt is okay, as long as you are sure you are not sensitive to dairy (lactose and/or casein), and you make it yourself to ensure live cultures.

8. Sleep 8 hours every night. If you get less than eight hours of sleep a night, you are operating impaired; your alertness, productivity and creativity, and general health are all affected. Between the seventh and eighth hour is when we get almost an hour of REM sleep, the time when the mind repairs itself. If you’re a six-hour sleeper, you’re missing that last, important opportunity to repair and to prepare for the coming day.

9. Dry skin brushing and caster oil packs (COP) to move your lymph. Your have twice as much lymph fluid in your body as blood and the lymph doesn't have a pump to move it around the body. Lymph continuously bathes each cell and drains away toxic metabolytes in a circulatory system powered only by your breathing and movement. Things like COP, dry skin brushing, deep breathing, lymphatic massage and regular exercise help rid your body of toxins and bath your cells in vital nutrients.

10. PLAY! Do something fun EVERYDAY preferably with people you like. Yes, you can say a doctor (or, at least a med student) told you to.

Life is ultimately about BALANCE not perfection. I do most of these most days. Everyday I am able to do them all I thank myself for adding another day of health into my life. Try it and see how good you can feel.

Sarah Marshall is a candidate to graduate as a Naturopathic Doctor in June 2009. She is currently practicing as a medical intern at the Natural Health Center Portland, OR. If you would like to schedule and appointment for a personalized health consultation with her call (503) 552-1551.

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