Those who are serious about their health, focus on four things:
- Sleep Right
- Eat Right
- Exercise Right
- Right Mindset
- Sleep is the most important thing you can do for your health. It is more important than eating healthy and exercise.
- Seven Hours or Four Sleep Cycles – Most people require a minimum of seven hours of sleep a day. But, more important than the number of hours is the number of sleep cycles a day, with four being the minimum and five being the optimum. Each sleep cycle takes about 90 minutes to complete.
- Repair Brain Cells & Destroy Pathogens – During deep sleep, the brain’s immune cells, called microglial cells, repair damaged brain cells and dismantle (destroy/kill) any pathogens that somehow managed to breach the Blood-Brain Barrier.
- Clean Brain – During sleep, brain cells (Neurons) shrink about 20%. This creates extra space inside the brain. Glymphatic Fluid is then released into that extra space to clean away the debris left behind by the microglial cells as well as to clear away excess Tua and Amyloid Plaque (proteins that accumulate around brain cells during the day).
- Re-Sets Emotional Centers of the Brain – During the day, many things happen which amp up the emotional centers of the brain. During sleep, those emotional brain centers are re-set back to their genetically pre-determined baseline.
- Creates LT Memory – During the day you take in a great deal of new information. This new information is temporarily stored inside the Hippocampus. During sleep, the Hippocampus and Cerebral Cortex loop that new memory back and forth, thousands of times, each night. Why? The brain creates LT Memory by linking new memory to old memory. It does this by searching for Associations – older brain regions that are somehow related to the new memories. When one or more old brain areas are found, the Cerebral Cortex will store the new memory by encoding the old memories (existing brain cells that contain old memories) with the new memories. What’s cool about this process is that as these two brain regions are searching for a place to store the new memories, they inadvertently trip over many older, existing brain cells/synapses. Because the brain thinks in pictures, every time this memory storage function trips over existing brain cells/synapses, those older areas light up. The result is the inadvertent flashing of some previous memory in the form of a picture. This inadvertent flashing, we call Dreams.
- Sleep resets your emotional baseline by turning off the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain. When the amygdala is overactive, it creates stress and boosts the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol weakens the immune system’s ability to fight off cancer, viruses, bacteria and other pathogens.
- Eat Less – To optimize your health, eat one meal a day or eat only during one consecutive six-hour block. Digesting food consumes about 30% of all of the energy you take in during the day. So, the less you eat, the less energy your body needs for digestion. This excess energy is then re-directed to perform maintenance on the body – cleaning up waste, repairing cells and destroying viruses, bacteria, pathogens and cancer cells. Eating less also reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and IGF-1, a growth hormone. Reduced levels of IGF-1 extend the life of cells in your body
- Healthy Bacteria – Eating healthy, nutritious food not only provides you with the energy you need to do what you do, it also re-stocks your gut with healthy bacteria. The bacteria in your gut breaks down the food you eat and provides you and the bacteria with nutrients that keep you healthy and alive. Nutrients that are not needed at the moment are then stored as fat around different parts of the body. Foods that increase or feed the healthy bacteria in your gut include the following: Artichokes, Beans, Root Vegetables (carrots, potatoes, onions, etc.), Yogurt, Sauerkraut, Asparagus, Bananas, Garlic, Cabbage, Legumes (chick peas, lentils and green peas), Bran, Leeks, Apples, Spinach.
- Fiber – Two third’s of your diet needs to be high in fiber (plant-based and fruit-based) in order for good bacteria to thrive. Bacteria eat fiber, so the more fiber you consume the healthier your bacteria will be. High fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables, contain lean microbiota, called bacteroidetes, which are good bacteria that helps keep you lean. You can also find these lean microbiota in probiotic supplements. Vegetables are easier to digest and that means less work for the body, saving energy. Plus, the good bacteria in your gut feeds off of the fiber in vegetables, making that good bacteria healthier. Vegetable Super Foods include: Most Dark Green Vegetables (Spinach, Kale, Broccoli, Asparagus, String Beans, Brussel Sprouts, etc.), Arugula and Cabbage. Fruit Superfoods include: Avocados, Blueberries, Cranberries, Goji berries, Pomegranates, Grape and Acai Berries.
- Avoid Processed Food – Western diets include processed food, which is unhealthy for you. Replace processed food with organic food, if you can afford it. Organic food does not have the toxic additives, emulsifying agents, preservatives and pesticides prevalent in most processed foods.
- Avoid/Limit Fast Food – I consider Fast Food, Junk Food because most fast food is processed food that is very high in calories and very low in nutrition. Don’t make eating Fast Food a habit.
- Aerobic exercise increases oxygen flow throughout the body. This oxygen nourishes your cells and also acts like a janitorial crew, soaking up the waste (fee radicals) inside each cell. This additional oxygen from running and jogging helps make all of the cells in your body cleaner and healthier.
- Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise every day has been found in numerous studies to stimulate the growth of the axon branches on each brain cell. The number of axon branches you have is directly correlated to how intelligent you are. Those with more axon branches on their brain cells are more intelligent than those with less. So, aerobic exercise make your brain healthier.
- Aerobic exercise also increases blood flow into the Dentrate Gyrus. The Dentrate Gyrus is part of the brain’s Hippocampus, a region involved in memory formation and neurogenisis (birth of new brain cells). So, aerobic exercise improves your memory.
- Aerobic exercise stimulates the production of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDFN). BDFN is miracle grow for brain cells, which keeps brain cells growing and expanding.
- Aerobic exercise increases blood flow, feeds the body with oxygen and strengthens the heart.
- Weight-bearing aerobic exercises, such as walking or jogging, reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Aerobic exercise helps lower high blood pressure and control blood sugar.
- If you’ve had a heart attack, aerobic exercise helps strengthen your heart, preventing future heart attacks.
- Aerobic exercise boosts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol and lowers your low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol. This results in less buildup of plaques in your arteries.
- Aerobic exercise flushes bacteria out of the lungs and airways, encourages antibodies to circulate more rapidly and slows the release of stress-related hormones, which can otherwise compromise your immune system.
- Aerobic and anaerobic exercise increases the lifespan of your cells. When you’re young, new cells constantly replace old, damaged cells. When you’re old, fewer new cells are produced to replace old, damaged cells and your body is forced to make due with those old cells. Scientists and health researchers believe the two primary reasons for the slowdown in new cell production has to do with a decrease in the number of mitochondria (fuel plants) inside cells and the shortening of the Telomeres, which act like shoelace caps on the end of chromosomes, keeping them from unraveling. As we age, those Telomere caps begin to fade, causing the chromosomes to unravel, which causes cells to die. The good news is that aerobic and anaerobic exercise boosts new cell production, increases the number of mitochondria inside your cells and renews those Telomere caps. A study by a team of researchers at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, MN found that high-intensity training, weight lifting, aerobic exercise and a combination of all three had the greatest effect on restoring cellular function and increasing the Telomere caps on the ends of your chromosomes. When Telomeres get too short, a cell will die.
- Studies have shown that daily aerobic exercise fosters a positive mental outlook. It increases positivity, optimism, confidence, cheerfulness and has a calming effect on the amygdala. The amygdala is the seat of the negative emotions. Those negative emotions: worry, anger, fear and anxiety, have served humans well. An chronically overactive amygdala causes chronic stress, which increases the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. A side effect of cortisol is the weakening of the immune system (more about cortisol under Mindset).
- A positive mental outlook helps lower stress levels. Chronic stress is one of the leading causes of cancer and disease. This is because chronic stress boosts the production of cortisol, which impairs the immune system. reducing its ability to defend the body against cancer, viruses, bacteria and other pathogens.
- A positive mental outlook helps your cells live longer. Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, Biologist at the University of California, San Francisco Laboratory of Molecular Biology, won a Nobel Prize in 2009 on her study which found that a positive mental outlook turned on certain genes which increased the production of the enzyme Telomerase, resulting in longer Telomers and longer cell life, increasing overall longevity.
- Studies have shown that having a negative mental outlook contributes to poverty. Those in poverty have limited resources and, therefore, less access to healthy food. Those in poverty also struggle with constant worry and stress over paying their monthly bills. This creates chronic stress, which impairs your health, as discussed previously.