Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day - Ways to Renew Body and Mind

I hope you are having a great relaxing Labor Day weekend and getting to spend some time with family and friends. It occurs to me that having a long weekend is a great time to really take a look at the lifestyle I’m leading and commit to making changes. As we get older, our bodies change and if we want to continue being active then now is the time to start putting together an anti-aging plan. I encourage you to do the same this Labor Day. Here are some areas to take into consideration.

Diet
This is a big one. Take a look at what you are eating right now. Are you at a Labor Day barbeque grilling up burgers and hot dogs with all the fatty sides like chips or fries? Think about how you could still have that family barbeque with healthier foods and anti-aging foods. Fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut or trout, for example, is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that keep your brain healthy and may even reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s and that are definitely good for keeping your heart healthy, improving circulation, and good for keeping your skin looking youthful by making skin cells stronger allowing them to hold in moisture. Instead of having the typical barbeque salads full of fatty mayo, go for salads with olive oil dressings and you’ll be adding even more omega-3 to your meal. If you’re not a fan of fish, then consider switching that hamburger to a lentil burger. Just do some searching on the internet and you’ll find lots of great recipes to make your own bean burgers that are actually really good. This will give you lean protein and fiber and keep you away from the saturated fats you get with burgers that can lead to heart disease, clogged arteries, and diabetes. Get a little more fiber in by carefully considering the bun for your lentil burger and make sure you go with a whole grain variety. This will help keep your blood vessels healthy and reduce the risks of Type 2 diabetes. Then to continue with a diet that fits your anti-aging plan, fill your plate up with lots of fruits and veggies to give you the antioxidants that help fight off free radical damage. The more brightly colored they are usually the more antioxidant properties they have. A fruit and veggie tray is a great side at a barbeque or picnic. One of the best fruits to include that will support more youthful looking skin are pomegranates full of vitamin C that assistant professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, Debra Jaliman, MD, says protects against wrinkles from sun exposure, protects collagen, and helps fight off free radical damage because the seeds have ellagic acid and punicalagin. And what’s a backyard barbeque without watermelon? If you have watermelon on your menu today, good for you. You’ll be getting lots of antioxidant power, vitamin C, lycopene, potassium and extra hydration from the water content. Also good for you if a big green salad is on your menu. Leafy green vegetables give you antioxidant power and omega-3s, but also support the liver, provide calcium, good proteins and other vital minerals and vitamins. If you’re not having salad then consider using lettuce, spinach or kale on your burger. Spinach also has beta-carotene and lutein that are good for skin and eye health.

More Relaxation Time
Along with looking at diet in your anti-aging plan, stress is another big consideration. While you are enjoying your long Labor Day weekend, what are you doing? Are you taking some time to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of your everyday stress filled life? When we are under stress the brain signals the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol. If this happens on a regular basis it can sabotage our anti-aging plan diet by making us crave unhealthy foods and overeating. There goes the healthy diet right out the window. Then there’s the toll stress takes on the body by creating more free radicals to do damage to cells. When developing a plan for coping with stress one of the first things to start with is making sure you get enough good quality sleep. Studies show that getting six hours or less of sleep each night can put you at increased risk for heart attack or stroke, make you more likely to get angry, affects your mood, weakens your immune system, and affects your mental abilities. The amount of sleep each person needs is individualized, but for the most part 8 hours is the recommended amount. After making sure you get enough sleep, look for other ways to take time to relax. Maybe that just means that you take 5 minutes out of your workday to watch an affirmation or meditation video or just close your eyes and breathe deeply. It might mean that you are in a situation to take regular days off or vacations or that you have regular spa days scheduled. Research based on studies of the mind-body-spirit link find that introducing a spiritual component to life can be a powerful tool and that in this vein Kundalini yoga meditation is particularly helpful in dealing with stress. For other people, engaging in a sport or exercise program helps them burn off the stress and lets their bodies relax. And while you are thinking about exercise, consider exercising your brain too as part of an anti-aging strategy. Challenging the brain to stretch and learn new things has been proven to have a big impact on your mental state as you age.

My Labor Day Commitments
Here’s the list my family came up with to commit to for lifestyle changes:
1. Eat fatty fish for dinner at least twice a week.
2. No more Ranch salad dressing. Substitute olive oil and vinegar dressing.
3. Drink at least 1 cup of green tea each day. (Has catechins and polyphenols great for anti-aging)
4. At least twice a week substitute fruit for dessert instead of something sugary.
5. Take a daily packet of wholefood supplements that include two kinds of AFA bluegreen algae, acidophilus, bifidus and digestive enzyme.

This last item on the list is one that I think is very important. It is the safe-fail. If none of the other items happen during the week (even if we have the best of intentions to do them), then I know having the nutritional back-up of AFA bluegreen algae, probiotics and enzymes will help pick up the slack. AFA bluegreen algae provides all 20 amino acids we need providing a complete source of protein in an amino acid profile nearly identical to human breast milk, essential fatty acids including Omega-3 and Omega-6 in the right balance, phenylethylamine (PEA) the mental energy activator, powerful antioxidants such as chlorophyll, superoxide dismutase, glutathione, and phycocyanin, dozens of essential vitamins (including B12), minerals, and trace elements, an ideal balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, complex sugars, and fiber. Add in the probiotics and enzyme and I know our digestive systems get a boost to get all the nutrition we can out of the foods we eat and that we are supporting our immune health. It’s a simple way to boost that anti-aging strategy to a new level with just a packet of capsules to take each day.

Now look back over my list. Just five simple things that my family and I think we can do to make changes in our lives. Does it look like something you and your family could commit to? If so, then jump on board the anti-aging wagon with us. If not, I challenge you to come up with your own list and share it with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page. You just might come up with something to share that someone else will find doable. What a great way to pass healthy living on to others.

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Image courtesy of amenic181  /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/anti-aging-diet
http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/aging/anti-aging-tips/seven-anti-aging-tips.htm
http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/weight-loss/plans/anti-aging/the-best-anti-aging-foods/

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