I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that heart attacks and strokes among North Texas’ elderly population have declined.
The bad news? Depression and diseases associated with obesity have risen not only in Texas, but across the nation. (The Dallas Morning News article on the front page of the Business section for June 6, 2013.)
Fat and unhappy can be favorably impacted by healthy food choices and by movement. We wear the food we eat not only on our bodies, but in our bodies. Outer fat can be seen, but deep fat – the kind that cloaks our organs – can’t be seen, is the hardest to loose, the most worrisome to our health, and the most aging type of fat to carry. Even when we feel so low that getting off the couch is an effort, just a little bit of exercise can make us feel energized and optimistic while growing our brains and burning calories.
Good foods for fat loss include cold water fish. Salmon, sardines and anchovies are high in omega-3 fats and can increase lean body mass and decrease body fat. Walnuts and almonds are high in antioxidants, can increase the metabolic response to eating, make one feel more satisfied and blunt hunger (the hormone leptin is higher in people who eat nuts daily). Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are also high in antioxidants and have been shown to lessen the amount of insulin produced in response to eating them with high-carb foods. Avocados have a tremendous antioxidant capacity,which helps lower, often eradicate, inflammation related to high body fat (in a study of mice). Eggs are an almost perfect protein, providing a dose of choline, which protects the liver from accumulating deep fat. They also contain acetylcholine which can increase growth hormone (a potent fat burner) in a healthy , not artificial, way.
Moving the body does wonders for the emotional system. According to a Mayo Clinic Newsletter, exercise helps prevent and improve a number of health problems, including diabetes (often a disease arising from being over-weight), but research on anxiety, depression and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help reduce anxiety and improve mood. Movement releases feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression while reducing immune system chemicals that can make depression worse. It also increases body temperature and that may have a calming effect on the body.
The really good news is that adding some very simple things to your daily routine can have a huge impact along with good foods and exercise.
“KISS” Solutions: keep it simple, sweetie!
1. Add vinegar. A teaspoon in a glass of water taken before meals or splashed on salads and veggies is easy and aids the body in storing carbs as muscle glycogen rather than storing them as fat. Eating vinegar as a condiment with meals can improve pancreatic function and lower the insulin response to carbohydrates.
2. Essential oils. Most modern-day medicine started out as a plant-based remedy. Essential oils take the essence of a medicinal plant in a pure form which can be used internally, topically, or in an atomizer.
Oils for depression are lemon, lavender, rosemary, grapefruit, geranium, ginger, basil, sandalwood and patchouli, to name a few. All can be used aromatically and topically (put oil in the palm of the hand and rub on the temples or forehead.) Lemon and lavender may be taken internally, diluted with 8 ounces of pure water. Added to pure coconut oil, these make good massage oils. Two to three drops may be added to bath water for a nice, warm soak.
Oils for diabetes are rosemary, cinnamon, geranium, eucalyptus, ginger and lavender (there are others). You may combine the oils and rub into the soles of the feet and over the pancreas.
The added bonus of these simple therapies is a sense of taking control of and responsibility for one’s health. That may be the biggest take-away of all!
(These are in no way to be applied in lieu of medical advice or care, but are adjuncts without harmful side effects.)