It’s that time of year again, when people swear off cookies and alcohol and rush out to purchase gym memberships. In fact, studies show that the three most common new years resolutions are losing weight, exercising more and quitting smoking . . . all health related.
I would like to suggest the following:
Health Resolutions for the New Year:
Eating several small meals throughout the day can help to even blood sugars. These meals should be high in protein and fiber and low in sugars (low glycemic index foods!). Including abundant fresh and colorful fruits and vegetables will provide the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support metabolic processes, limit oxidative damage, and promote efficient detoxification pathways.
Please do NOT skip meals and go longer than 5 hours without eating.
The human body is made up of approximately 60% water, yet most of us aren’t consuming nearly as much as we should be. A good rule of thumb would be to consume approximately half your body weight in ounces of water per day. Water—–not cola, diet cola, coffee or alcohol, but water!
Daily exercise is healing to the adrenal glands. It can reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes and osteoporosis as well as aid in weight loss. Endorphins from exercise are known to improve memory, treat depression and alleviate pain.
Exercise is the most under-utilized “anti-anxiety” medication available.
A regular sleep schedule with an early bedtime will provide the adrenal glands (along with the rest of the body) with the best opportunity to rest and repair. When time allows for it, sleep in! The bedroom should be a place reserved exclusively for sleeping (if possible). Work or other projects should be left in another room and the bedroom should be dark, cool, quiet and free of distractions especially blaring televisions.
Far too many Americans are suffering from an addiction to one or more substances that are harmful. The biggest offenders are of course tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and artificial sweeteners so let’s focus on those. There are many, many reasons why these substances are not healthful, but a few of them include:
Caffeine is a stimulant and puts the body on constant alert. This chronic state of “fight or flight” or sympathetic dominance causes anxiety and irritability, sleep disturbances and mood swings. Aside from the fact that it will take more and more caffeine to get the same effect over time, the constant assault to the adrenal glands will eventually result in complete exhaustion, or the inability to produce adequate amounts of adrenal hormones.
Alcohol is a central nervous depressant and presents a significant burden on the body’s detoxification pathways among other offenses.
Nicotine has been shown to increase cortisol levels and the thousands of other chemicals in cigarettes are certainly a noteworthy strain on the body in many ways.
Sugar can suppress your immune system, lead to problems with glucose and insulin metabolism, affect cortisol secretion, and contribute to weight gain. Aspartame is not a good substitute.
While this is easier said than done, the New Year is a great opportunity to take a look at the activities and people in your life that cause you undue stress. Make a list of the things you spend the most amount of energy on, and then eliminate the ones that provide the least benefit. If this is a friend or co-worker who is a constant drain, set more clear boundaries. If you are overextended with obligations, prioritize and cut out a few activities.