|My daughter on the right who cares for patients.|
It seems like there are more hints in the winter months for improving ones’ health. Or maybe I’m just reading more of them. In case you’re not up to date on the latest information, here are some.
Dark chocolate, Yummy: By now you’ve probably heard that dark chocolate is good for you. Hooray! However, that doesn’t mean you should eat too much of it, but isn’t it nice on cold days to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate made with dark chocolate? I ignore that it’s still made with sugar which continues to be a big no-no for those seeking better health.
|Still spry, I'm heading for the woods to trim branches.|
For older people (not me, of course): According to a study done by Yale School of Public Health of older adults (average of 81) positive words associated with aging such as spry and creative, were flashed on a screen even if too fast to be conscious of them, improved in physical areas like balance for three weeks. Those who didn’t see them didn’t experience such improvements. So my take on this is to consider yourself spry and creative even if you’re feeling the sluggish effects of a long winter, and suffering a temporary writer’s block. Say to yourself, “I am a creative writer. I will sit down and write a magnificent next chapter or story or poem, and I’m not old, I’m spry and creative.”
|My daily breakfast|
Breakfast news and advice: According to a British study, people with a day-to-day variation in their daily breakfast, were 90 percent more likely to have a large waist, a heart disease risk factor. Hooray for me! Unless I’m on vacation somewhere, I eat the exact same breakfast of old-fashioned oatmeal, walnuts, blueberries, cranberries, yogurt, bananas and skim milk. However, in a supplement that came in the mail from a local hospital advised that for maximum health, we should be eating our breakfast outside in the morning sun. It helps us burn more fat throughout the day. This advice might work if I lived in Florida, but the day I read this even though it was a sunny day, it was -22 degrees outside which made me imagine myself chipping away at my bowl of frozen oatmeal and trying to drink a cup of frozen coffee. I don’t imagine much sun would have reached me bundled up as I was. This advice did add another health advantage, however, because it had me laughing.
|Shari, Jim, Paula and I having a good time at Malice.|
Laughter for your heart: In addition to diet, exercise and watching cholesterol levels, the latest research shows that stress and the inability to deal with it adds to heart disease. However, studies have also shown the amazing healing power of positive emotions like optimism, confidence, laughter and social connections. In fact, you’re advised to laugh hysterically since deep belly laughter triggers the release of endorphins, which activate receptors to our blood vessels’ linings that signal the production of nitric oxide which results in increased blood flow and reduces vascular inflammation and the buildup of plague. Thus reducing the risk of blood clots. So the advice was to watch as many funny movies or TV shows as possible, at least 15 to 30 minutes a day. I don’t watch much TV, but maybe I should watch some funny shows. Still I laugh a lot with friends and family, but not every day, and I listen to Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion on Saturday nights if I’m home and part of the reruns on Sunday morning. Also, I’m still listening to Car Talk with Click and Clack, too, and always get a good laugh from them.
|Only a tiny portion of the CDs I have and listen to.|
Listen to Music: Medical science is now proving what people have known for hundreds of years: that music is deeply healing. In one study, researchers found that listening to music 25 minutes daily for four weeks resulted in a reduction in blood pressure with a result that it was the equaled to taking a strong blood pressure medication. Also, listening to calming music before cardiac surgery worked as well as any sedative. I listen to music every evening and during the day if I’m in my car. I love music, and maybe that’s why for my age, my blood pressure is good. Of course, I think it’s the type of music and the level of loudness, too. I hate loud music.
|Isn't my collie adorable? Not that I'm prejudiced, of course.|
Cuddle up: It’s important to hug and kiss your partner to lower blood pressure, too. However, since it’s been a long time since I’ve had a partner, I have to rely on my collie, Maggie, and my two cats. I can hug Maggie, but of course she can’t hug me. I refuse to kiss her and try to avoid her sloppy kisses. I’m allergic to cats, so my contact with them is not to hold them, but to pet them for brief periods of time. Sometimes I hug my ponies, but they’re usually more eager to get a treat than be hugged. I have heard having pets is good for your emotional health, and I believe that. Even my little yellow canary Pavarotti singing brings me pleasure.
Health Benefits of coffee: Regular consumption of coffee may decrease your risk of depression. The National Institutes of Health found that those who drink four or more cups of coffee daily are 10% less likely to be depressed. Maybe that’s why I rarely feel down and then only for a short time. Researchers from the University of South Florida and the University of Miami found that people older than 65 who consumed higher levels of caffeine develop Alzheimer’s disease two to four years later than those with lower caffeine intake. And finally, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, coffee drinkers are less likely to develop liver, breast, colon and rectal cancers. Hooray for coffee!!!
|These women are drinking their coffee and having fun.|
There are so many more health benefits and news I could write about, but that’s enough for now. I need to go pour another cup of coffee, and maybe eat a small piece of dark chocolate, too.
What health news and benefits have you recently read or heard about?