If 2018 is typical, new year resolutions made while reveling in the closing days of 2017 will quickly fall by the wayside as real life draws each of us into its web of never-ending demands and obligations. To match intent with success, commit to small changes that promise big results. If wellness made the cut in your plans (it should have!), these five, easy-to-adopt-and-stick-to new year resolutions will make a real difference:
1. Time-Restricted Eating (TRE): Weight Loss And So Much More
Losing weight is a popular favorite for the new year, but how to get there? Calorie restriction and the self deprivation demanded in most diet plans dooms them to failure, but luckily, there is a better way. Confining food intake to a 12 hour window takes advantage of a metabolic state that burns stored fat. TRE is a user-friendly, scientifically-validated approach with many health bonuses, making it a great choice whether or not weight loss is the goal. TRE lowers systemic inflammation, the root of all illness, and reduces oxidative stress, the damage caused by harmful free radicals. Combining TRE with high quality (organic, unprocessed), nutrient-dense food is one-two punch against obesity and chronic illness. Sticking to TRE is surprisingly easy. For example, finish dinner and all food intake by 7:30PM and don’t eat again until 7:30AM, a plan that extends the overnight fast that naturally occurs during sleep. Zero calorie drinks including water, black coffee and tea are allowed during the fast, making it that much easier to accomplish. TRE doesn't interfere with socializing or going out to dinner, and taking an occasional break for a day or two to enjoy an eating binge doesn't harm the plan long term. Since the benefits of TRE are directly related to the length of time fasting, a longer fast is better. Skipping breakfast and delaying the first meal until lunch, confining food to an 8 hour window (the 16:8 program, 16 hours off food, 8 hours on) is ideal. Start with 12 hours, any extension is a bonus.
2. Sauna Bathing: Heat Is Good Stress
Known as the “poor man’s pharmacy,” regular sauna bathing is roughly equivalent to moderate intensity exercise, reducing all-cause mortality and benefitting cardiovascular and brain health. Healthy heat lowers blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides, raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and reduces the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Sauna benefits are directly related to frequency of use: while once weekly promotes wellness, partaking 4 - 7 times each week is optimal. Camaraderie, relaxation, stress reduction, and disconnecting from technology are some of the ways sauna promotes wellness.
3. Side Sleeping: Position Yourself For Wellness
A good night’s sleep is key for both a sound body and a sound mind, yet the American sleep diet keeps getting stricter. Apart from time asleep, ideally a restful 7 - 9 hours, position influences the restorative value reaped in the land of nod. Supine (flat on your back) sleep is linked to snoring, sleep apnea and teeth grinding, and because it’s related to the lowest blood oxygenation of all sleep poses, it’s harmful to chronic lung and heart conditions. Prone (face down) sleep is an orthopedic no-no that worsens neck and back pain. Lateral (side) sleeping is the ideal posture. Curling up in the fetal position allows you to breath easier, reduces heartburn (left side), improves blood pressure (right side) and helps the brain optimize its overnight housekeeping function, clearing out cerebral waste linked to neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Pillow props that prevent rolling onto the back help maintain side sleeping.
4. Daily Salad: This One-A-Day Keeps The Doctor Away
Think of it as a multivitamin in a bowl: eating a diverse, colorful organic salad every day is a smart and delicious way to consume a nutrient rich powerhouse untainted by chemicals and artificial fillers and colors typical of one-a-day supplements. One salad serving daily, a key pillar of the MIND diet, improves memory and slows cognitive decline by an amount equivalent to being 11 years younger in brain age. Regular salad consumption also lowers the incidence of heart attack and metabolic syndrome. Salad dressing made with healthy fats such as olive oil and/or including avocado and other healthy fat foods in the mix, improves absorption of fat-soluble nutrients and vitamins such as beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamins E and A.
5. Talk To A Stranger: Small Talk, Big Effects
Civil inattention, the ability to navigate among strangers while maintaining anonymity, is standard operating procedure for modern life, but maybe it shouldn’t be. Humans are social animals in need of engagement, a skill whose loss has been accelerated by digital technologies that isolate us while defining anyone as little as one click away as being a “friend.” The world is full of opportunities to engage others and reap emotional, psychological and physical benefits. Whether it’s during the daily commute, grocery shopping, or walking the dog, connecting with others increases happiness and pays it forward: the joy of connection is contagious. Being neighborly banks cardiac prosperity, reducing heart attack risk and increasing the use of preventative health care services. Expose yourself to new perspectives, fresh ideas, invite opportunities, network, get out of your comfort zone. Next time, when you need a ride, choose UberPOOL over UberX.
You don’t always have to think big: many small steps create a butterfly effect of wellness.
Wishing you and yours a very happy, healthy and well-thy 2018.
Disclaimer: This article was created for informational purposes only, is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Oobroo™ Inc or its staff.
TRE: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/PMC4547605 and PMC 4255155
Sauna bathing: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25705824 and 27932366
Side sleeping: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26245965 and PMC5310097
Daily salad: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29263222 and 26779528
Talk to strangers: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25019381 and 28214249