A friend of mine, Will, told me he has quit smoking cold turkey for a few months now. Though I was happy he did that, I was also shocked with this sudden change. He then revealed that three months ago, he was diagnosed with a thyroid problem, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and gout. He needs to be on regular medication from now on and he’s not even 30!
Weirdly, he told me that when he asked his doctor what measures he should take to reduce his cholesterol levels, he was told to consider smoking! A doctor telling his patient to smoke? Sounds like someone needs a new doctor fast!
I am not taking my health for granted. I am not gonna wait for my teeth to fall out or hip bones to crumble before doing something about it so I’m making small changes to my diet and lifestyle in a bid to improve my health.
DRINKING TOO MUCH
I have a 2 cups of coffee + 1 cup of tea a day habit. A lot of my friends says I’m overdosing on caffeine but my doctor said that it’s perfectly acceptable (sounds like I need a new doctor too?) Let’s see what scientists have to say:
A Greek study with 3000 people shows drinking more than one cup of coffee a day increases the risk heart disease.
A 10-year study in Japan of more than 90,000 people suggests that a cup of coffee a day may help reduce the risk of liver cancer.
A 4-year study by scientists in Singapore concludes that tea can help in slowing down cell degeneration and keeping the mind sharp into old age.
A UK study suggests that the anti-cancer compound in green tea blocks an enzyme which results in lower folic acid levels and increases birth defect risk.
Hmmm.. the conclusions were… inconclusive… but I’m gonna reduce my intake anyway.
Action: Reduce intake to one cup of coffee a day. Instead of drinking tea, do a lot of sudoku to reduce brain cell degeneration.
Food is easier — I don’t eat red meat on a regular basis, I love fish, vegetables and fruits. I’ve also started drinking high-calcium soya milk regularly this year and prefer olive oil than any other oils. My diet seems to be inline with the following (but I’m prone to bouts of unhealthy snacking):
Okinawa, Japan has the world’s highest concentration of people older than 100. The Okinawan diet is mostly plant based and includes fish and soy foods with a variety of vegetables and a moderate amounts of good fats.
According to another source, a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil and low in red meat with an emphasis on grains, fish, vegetables, and fruit can lower the risk of a heart attack.
Action: Introduce more grains to my diet and reduce unhealthy snacking. Chocolates don’t count as unhealthy because they contain antioxidants. Right? Right?!
LIFESTYLE OF THE FIT AND FABULOUS
I’ve been losing a lot of hair recently. I wonder if it has to do with lack of sleep. I’m gonna try to get 7 full hours of sleep a night. That is if my cat allows it.
Action: Remove overly clingy cat (who loves waking me up 23 times a night by licking my nose or shoving her bum into my face) from the bedroom.
Exercise is a tricky one. I have not found an activity that I enjoy enough to incorporate as part of my lifestyle but I do know that I don’t know how to swim. Considering the heat and how useful this skill can be, learning how to swim sounds like a good idea.
Action: Find a nice swimsuit first . Then consider taking up swimming lessons.
What small steps are you taking to improve your health?