Guest post by Dr. Susan Gamble
As an internal medicine doctor, I see a wide variety of people with a wide variety of illnesses. Many of the diseases we suffer from in this country are lifestyle related. In fact, the CDC estimates that up to 40% of all deaths could be prevented by changes in lifestyle. What I tell my patients is very personalized to their set of symptoms and lab results but I paired down a few of my favorite things to share with the Zoe Organics folk. It doesn’t matter if you are super healthy or have an array of chronic diseases, doing these 4 things will help you now.
1. Eat your vegetables.
Did you know that only 1 in 10 of us consume the amount of vegetables recommended to stay healthy? That’s pretty distressing from a public health standpoint. The recommended 2-3 cups of vegetables provides vitamins that are essential to the health of your cells and your overall wellbeing. Today, I want you to try to eat six half-cup servings of vegetables. I try to start my day with at least 1 serving of veggies. If you can have some avocado on toast or a smoothie with kale or spinach, you are well on your way. A big salad for lunch and a vegetable at dinner can round things out.
2. Walk for 10 minutes after each meal.
Exercise is one of those things that is not going away. So far, there has never been a study that showed that exercise is bad for you. We currently tell our patients that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day is essential, and that weight training every other day and stretching are also a MUST. But one super easy way to get your 30 minutes of cardio is by walking for 10 minutes after each meal. This has so many benefits – but it’s especially helpful for blood sugar, cholesterol and digestion.
Oh man. If I had a dollar for every patient I had that had sleep issues…. I’d be on a yacht in the Virgin Islands right now. And this is hard for mommas, right?! But it is so essential. The top three mistakes my patients make regarding sleep are 1) not having a sleep routine, 2) too much screen time before bed, and 3) worrying about things they can’t change. So number 1 and number 2 are pretty self-explanatory. Number 3 is something that I spend a lot of time on with my patients. Keeping a gratitude journal (writing down 3 things you are grateful for each night) and using a mindfulness app on your phone at nighttime to help decrease your stress response can be super helpful. We all work really hard on sleep for our kids; don’t forget that you need it too!
4. Drink 8 glasses of water.
Did you know that drinking 2 glasses of water right when you get up is almost equivalent to using a daily aspirin? That’s pretty powerful. And keeping hydrated throughout the day helps with fatigue, cell function and GI health. I’d say there’s very little in your body that water DOESN’T help with. I usually tell my patients to add on an extra glass of water for anything caffeinated they drink (since this can actually dehydrate you). So, drink up. You’ll look and feel better!
Dr. Gamble is an Internal Medicine physician in Napa Valley and practices at a lifestyle-based Integrative Medicine clinic. She has 2 children, 2 and 5 years old, and knows how hard it is to get a good night’s sleep. She believes strongly that what you put in your body and what you put on your body make a huge difference in your health.