The secrets to good health from the always-fit!
Nap in the afternoon
Doctors say the ideal nap time is 1 pm to 3 pm in the afternoon since this is when our bodies are most in need of rest. While the number and effectiveness of disease-fighting immune cells increase with more sleep, a lack of it has been found to promote healthattack-causing calcium build up in the heart arteries, and restrict the production of the human growth hormone, which limits the body’s ability to repair itself.
As opposed to popular perception, sipping a spirit or two increases longevity and decreases the risk of heart disease by 20 to 50 per cent. According to a study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, people who drink moderately do not get frequently hospitalised and have fewer disabilities than the general population.
A diet devoid of dahi or yoghurt is incomplete. The probiotic, or good, living bacteria present in yogurt have a favourable impact on many gastrointestinal conditions. It also helps to lower blood pressure, decrease cholesterol and strengthen the immune system. Eat at least one serving of yogurt daily to reap its benefits.
A recent study claims a calorie-restricted diet in which participants ate up to 25 per cent less than they did normally, reduced overall cholesterol, triglyceride levels and blood pressure. But this doesn’t mean you go into a starvation mode. To avoid vitamin deficiencies, make sure that whatever you are eating is nutritionally dense. Avoid simple sugars, make sure your protein intake is sufficient and don’t forget to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Steer clear of supplements, packaged and canned food; they do nothing to contribute to your health.
Turn to yoga
For time immemorial, Ayurveda has stressed the need for yoga in our daily lives. Yoga’s mindbody-breathing exercises strengthen and balance the immune system, stimulate it and effectively destroy sickness-causing microbes. Practising yoga regularly can reverse several risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and sugar.
People who have a strong social support system have a healthy immune system and are less likely to succumb to inflammatory disease. Having no close friends increases the risk of having a first-time heart attack by about 50 per cent. To maximise the benefits of your social network, meet them over lunch or go shopping together, or chat with them over the phone. But avoid e-mail or Facebook unless your folks stay in a different country or city.
Up your garlic intake
The benefits of the benign spice — garlic — are known to be abundant. It reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels, fights off staph infections and acts as a powerful antioxidant. Recently, a study found that people who regularly consume garlic cut their number of sick days in half. Eat it raw or cooked, but avoid garlic supplements.
Take a cold shower
While taking a warm water bath ensures a relaxed sleep, research shows turning the shower nozzle cold can improve blood circulation, strengthen skin, boost your immune system, improve your mood and rejuvenate your body. The ideal length of a cold shower is five minutes, and its best to enter and exit the cold stream in 30-second intervals. In fact, a study of swimmers in Berlin suggested that exposure to ice-cold water elevated levels of glutathione, one of the body’s natural, stay-well antioxidants.