Stuart Tomc,world expert in omega nutrition, discusses his top ten tips for healthy living. You can win tickets to his show, The Big Fat Story, here.
1. Start With Your Cells
Did you know that you have 50-100 trillion cells in your body? Every one of your cells is surrounded by a soft and pliable membrane, which protects the cell’s contents, and enables cells to communicate with one another. Those membranes require fat to keep them flexible and functioning properly. While the body makes most of the fat it requires, two families of fats -- omega-3s and omega-6s -- are not made in our bodies, so we must consume them in our diet. However, the typical diet includes a staggering amount of omega-6 fats, and only a scant supply of omega-3 fats. An imbalance of these two fats means the 50-100 trillion cells in your body are continuously receiving pro-inflammatory messages, which come from omega-6 fats, and insufficient anti-inflammatory messages, which come from omega-3 fats. This imbalance in the cells cascades into chronic inflammation, which can lead to many diseases and disorders we now view as commonplace.
Nix the 6: Reducing the amount of omega-6 in your diet may prove challenging, as vegetable oils such as corn and soybean oil are laden with omega-6 and ubiquitous in packaged foods, salad dressings, and animal feeds. By opting for oils low in omega-6 fats, such as olive and coconut oil, our cells and tissues have more room to accumulate omega-3 fats, which must be consumed in our diet.
Eat the 3: Fish, flaxseed, chia, and even dark leafy green vegetables, are all sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Many of us are now accustomed to seeing omega-3s advertised in our milk, eggs, and cereals. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids seem to be endless; however, while plant-based omega-3s such as those found in flax and chia are beneficial, they are not the same as consuming preformed EPA and DHA, which are the two most critical omega-3 fats to human health. For this reason it is vital to intentionally consume EPA and DHA through fish, fish oil or algae oil. Many people have justifiable concerns about consuming food from contaminated oceans, and for this reason I suggest seeking a highly purified fish oil that provides third-party test results, measuring the purity, potency, and freshness thereof.
2. Nourish Your Mind
Many of us have the understandable objection that we are too busy to sit still and meditate. But the busier we get, the greater our need for stillness becomes. Neuroscientists have found that people who practice meditation or habitually pray seem to have a greater resilience against stress and anxiety because brain waves shift away from the right frontal cortex, which is stress-prone, into the left frontal cortex, which is calmer. By developing the practice of deep-breathing and quiet reflection, even for only 5 minutes a day, we can ward against stress, anxiety, and even depression.
3. Move Around
Maintaining a slimmer waistline, boosting energy levels, increasing blood flow, and improving your mood are just some of the benefits to be gained from regular exercise, yet many of us still have a hard time getting to the gym. Yet raising your heart rate 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes at a time can be achieved simply by putting on a pair of sneakers and heading down the street for a brisk walk.
4. Sleep It Off
Making sleep a priority is an essential component to maintaining healthy energy levels, ideal blood pressure ranges, and even achieving weight loss goals – not to mention being a more pleasant person to be around!
5. Cleanse Yourself
No matter where you live or how pristine your diet is, it’s likely you are exposed to environmental toxins on a daily basis. Consider cleansing like you would spring or fall cleaning – twice a year, to give your organ systems a break, especially your hard-working liver. This can also be accompanied by occasional periods of fasting or caloric restriction, which can reduce oxidative stress throughout your body as well.
6. Get Your Sunshine On
Most people need more Vitamin D, a pro-hormone that is vital for nearly every function of the body. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to everything from the common cold to cancer. Look for vitamin D3, a vegan form of which is now available from Nordic Naturals.
7. Guard Your Gut
Digestion aside, your gut also plays a central role in maintaining a healthy immune system – in fact, about 60%-70% of your immune system is located in that area. Antibiotic overuse finds its way to animal feeds and even our water supply, so it’s important to restock the healthy bacteria populations that fend off invaders. Eating fermented foods such as kombucha, sauerkraut, and certain yoghurts, are wonderful resources of beneficial bacteria. You can also supplement your way to a healthier gut with:
-Probiotics – Repopulating the beneficial bacteria in the GI tract which aid in digestion and immune support
-Digestive enzymes – Overcooked fruits and vegetables have diminished enzyme content, and our bodies overcompensate by providing enzymes from an internal store. By supplementing with digestive enzymes we gain GI support and preserve the finite amount of enzymes we are born with.
8. Stay Aligned
Periodic visits to a chiropractor help to minimize the back and neck pain that results from poor posture and sedentary lifestyle; proper alignment is also important for our spinal column’s health, and by extension, our nervous system.
9. Watch Your Mouth
Every drop of saliva contains millions of bacteria, and keeping it clean is a crucial part of avoiding caries, cavities, and infections. Xylitol can help re-mineralize teeth, acts as a potent anti-fungal, and helps breath stay fresh and sweet through mouthwashes and gums. There are also oral-specific probiotics increasingly available in health food stores to help maintain a healthy oral flora as well.
10. Be Kind
Health is more than a matter of our systems working in order, and it’s more than just looking inward. Nourishing those around you by intentionally practicing kindness and choosing constructive words increases your health and the health of those around you.
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