Research on blue zones—regions in the world where people live to be 100 or older—found that centenarians had some commonalities in their lifestyles, including a whole-food diet and exercise. But there’s one life-lengthening activity that might surprise you: gardening.
Gardening offers many benefits for physical and mental health. Of course, it’s great exercise. But that aside, spending time in nature has been found to be healing for those recovering from surgery and those struggling with high blood pressure. And don’t forget all that wonderful freshly harvested produce that will provide the highest quality of nutrition.
Start small! You may not be able to cultivate a large area of land, but a small plot or pots on your porch will grow more than you think. Those little steps will make a big impact—in the harvest of produce and a long life!
“The World’s Longest-Living People Share This Hobby,” CNBC, cnbc.com, July 29, 2020.
Have you ever woken up still feeling exhausted? You thought you had a full night’s sleep, but it sure didn’t feel like it.
Your late-night snack may have been hindering your beauty slumber. Because our bodies function on circadian rhythms, eating close to bedtime can disrupt that rhythm, causing your digestive system to have to work hard during the night in order to digest your meal. With your GI tract in full action, your body isn’t able to rest properly. In addition to waking up tired, you may experience weight gain over time, an increase in blood sugar and blood pressure, and heartburn or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
How can you set yourself up for a better rhythm? Develop consistent times for meals and sleep, and aim to finish eating at least three to four hours before bedtime.
“Late Night Snacking and Its Effect on Sleep,” American Sleep Association, sleepassocation.org, Nov. 12, 2020.
Perhaps people wouldn’t be reaching for weight loss pills if they realized they already have access to a free weight loss beverage: water.
Scientific trials revealed that people who drank two cups of water experienced an increase in the hormone noradrenaline. This hormone helped boost the metabolism of participants, speeding up weight loss by 44 percent. In another study, cold water increased noradrenaline even more because of the body’s efforts to warm the water.
And it all boils down to drinking water! But be careful not to overhydrate. Drinking more than three cups of water in one hour can overburden the kidneys and dilute electrolytes in the brain. Aim instead to drink eight to ten cups of water throughout the day and between meals.
“Optimizing Water Intake to Lose Weight,” NutritionFacts.org, Oct. 14, 2020.
Recently, scientists have made leaps and bounds in their understanding of the gut and the incredible diversity of life that exists there. In fact, the number of microorganisms in the gut outnumber the cells in your body! The healthy microbes play an important part in the work of the immune system, including the development of immune cells and the identification of threats in order for the body to better fight them off.
Gut microbes will feed off whatever we eat. And the diet we feed them determines whether the healthy microbes or the unhealthy ones survive. So, what is the best food for developing a microbiome that is capable of supporting our immune system? You guessed it—plant fiber!
“Fiber Fueled—The Key to a Strong Immune System,” Center for Nutrition Studies, nutritionstudies.org, Aug. 28, 2020.