Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday's Top Ten

I am not an extreme person. In fact, I am the opposite of extreme…as moderate as they come. {We’re talking lifestyle here…not personality… ;)}With these tendencies in mind, I am always looking for un-extreme ways to be a little healthier. I really like nuggets of information to help me fight off becoming a statistic, so I've compiled a list of ten health facts that aren't always talked about but can be used moderately and regularly to impact health. Some of them I do already, some I would like to add, a couple I just learned today. I am by no means an expert on these topics {just a disclaimer ;)}, but I would like to remember the information for myself, so I'm documenting. This post is wordy {not that shocking, I know}, so consider yourself warned!


It is important to know your family health history without a doubt. Huge. But in terms of how you age, newer studies show that how gracefully or not-so-gracefully you age is only about 20% your genes and a whopping 80% your lifestyle. In other words, I can’t lean on my Mama’s beautiful skin to hope mine will be the same in a few years. So I wear a hat in the sun. A big one.

{9}Colon Cleanse
In my home growing up, we used a lot of potty talk. No, not foul language in the sense of four letter words - my parents don’t even say butt. I mean literal potty…toilet…talk. I can’t count the number of times one of my friends was asking for advice on some health issue, and my dad’s first imploring question was “When was your last bowel movement?” Somehow it was always relevant. Therefore, it is an unusually comfortable subject for me to bring up, much to my mother’s chagrin. I will keep this clean so as to honor her, though, and suffice to say this: there are healthy colon cleanse techniques that are good ways to periodically rid your body of toxins and reset your system. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR and don’t do anything extreme…or stupid.

{8}Reading burns more calories than watching TV
When you are as short as I am, you have to be aware of every calorie because you can see exactly where it goes. Reading, on average, burns 30% more calories than watching TV. If anything would motivate me to read, that would be it. And just think how many more calories typing burns. Burn burn burn burn burn. I think I just earned a cookie…crumb. ;)

Ingredient substitution in meals we eat often is my favorite way to increase nutrition and decrease empty calories. My general rule is to replace any carb with its whole grain version and decrease calories from high fat/high cholesterol foods. Oh, and I like Smart Balance Buttery Spread {and Smart Balance peanut butter} because it provides omega fatty acids that are heart healthy instead of artery-clogging.

{6}Lefty loosey
And wrinkly. The left side of our faces is actually more wrinkled and aged than the right side because of UV exposure while we drive. Isn’t that nuts? Kathie Lee and Hota told me this morning. Tinting your windows {with a broad spectrum UV blocking tint…not to be cool} can significantly decrease the effects, especially if you’re a commuter.

{5}SPF myth
You cannot apply SPF 150 and be done for the week. It doesn’t work like that. Your best bet is to apply SPF 15-30 {any SPF over 30 is just advertising} every morning and every 2-4 hours while you’re outside depending on your activity level and how much time you spend in the water. And on that note, water-proof sunscreen cannot be clinically tested accurately, so don’t count on it. The FDA is actually mandating new packaging for sunscreen next year because there are so many unfounded claims on the current packaging.

Did you know that magnesium deficiency makes your heart rate higher? I didn’t until this week. And a lower heart rate is associated with better cardiovascular health and lower rates of heart attack. You have to be careful with supplementing magnesium because having too much is no bueno for your GI system or for your heart in extreme cases. I use a type of magnesium supplement that also helps you wind down and sleep more soundly, but I don't use it every night.

{3}Dirty mouth? Clean it up.
A clean mouth leads to a healthy heart. I hate flossing. It is gross. But I make myself do it now because there’s no denying its necessity. Sometimes I use a WaterPik and mouthwash instead. Sometimes I still skip it, but those times are decreasing. Back off, bacteria.

{2}Little Bits
This fits two categories. I feel like we all know that several small meals a day is a healthier way to fuel the body. I recently read that little spurts of exercise are good, too, though. If you get bored or tired doing a long exercise routine, break it up into two or three smaller ones. It doesn’t give you as much of a cardiovascular workout, but it’s still a benefit overall.

{1}Pets make you healthier
I’m not gonna lie - this one is my favorite! They love unconditionally, yes, and they are as excited to see me walk in the door if I walked out three minutes before as if I had been gone all day. But the benefit of owning a pet is scientifically proven. They lower blood pressure spikes better than medication. They decrease stress, improve mood, and encourage physical activity. And they are cu-uu-uuute.

Here’s to a healthier us!

Next week - more pictures, less words :)

1 comment:

BeckyJo606 said...

My two favorite tips--pets make you healthier and reading burns more calories than television! If only it was a substantial amount. :) Such a great post--thanks for the helpful information! :)