Monday, December 17, 2012

Free Medicine: Fruits/Veggies, Sunshine, Exercise, Laughter, Sleep

Some of the easiest ways to stay healthy are also some of the least expensive.

Woman holding out arms in sunshine.
Sunshine provides a number of health benefits.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, mineral and fiber, which can help protect you from many chronic diseases. People who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop several diseases including:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Many types of cancer
  • Gastrointestinal troubles

Fruits and vegetables also help slow the aging process and help people lose weight. You should try to eat a minimum of 9 servings (4.5 cups) of fruits and vegetables every day. It is also helpful to eat a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables to ensure a variety of nutrients. Try eating a rainbow of colors every day. Eat your fruits and veggies because they are delicious and nutritious!

Sunshine

The sun provides the energy that all living things need in order to exist on Earth. Sunshine has a number of health benefits:

  • It promotes the production of serotonin, a hormone that promotes a good mental outlook.
  • It stimulates the pineal gland to make melatonin. Melatonin is important for regulating our sleep.
  • Sunshine also helps our bodies make vitamin D. (While there are many health benefits to sunshine, overexposure will damage skin and can cause skin cancer).

Try to get outside, especially on those rare sunny days in the winter!

Exercise

Regular exercise can help promote your health in a variety of ways, including:

  • Improving your mood
  • Managing weight
  • Increasing energy
  • Improving quality of sleep
  • Improving your sex life
  • Giving you an activity that the entire family can enjoy

Laughter

Humor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. In addition to the domino effect of joy and amusement, laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free and easy to use.

Sleep

Most people feel refreshed and great after a good night’s sleep. Sleep improves your health because it aides in your memory and concentration, boosts your immune system, decreases stress, repairs damaged cells and tissues, and improves your appearance.

— Emily Palmer, ND, LMP, naturopathic doctor and resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health.

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