Hello friends, and welcome to the SECOND half of this month’s Joyinmovement newsletter. I had so much to share with you this month about health and wellness that I had to make it a two-parter! Let’s get started with part two.
First and Foremost: Words of Encouragement
I do know that now is a good time for us, any of us, to reach out to friends and family and what you need, ask for, and what you have, share. Even if it’s just a positive thought or a happy thought. In some cases, just giving people an opportunity to help us is what they need.
FIVE Crucial Points About Your Health (2nd part)
3) Sharpening your brain isn’t just about sudoku.
Sleep restores and repairs our brains, but it’s not the only tool we have to boost our brain health. You’ve likely heard about “brain training” games (like the number puzzle sudoku) to keep your brain’s neurons young and working well.
Did you know there is both reversible and non-reversible dementia? You might think, “Dementia can be reversible?”
In some cases, yes. That’s because a few underlying issues can create symptoms similar to dementia, like memory loss. Three of these issues are ones we can easily fix:
B12 and thiamine vitamin deficiencies (especially for folks that drink a lot of alcohol)
I’ve already talked about sleep and its role in brain health.
But let’s look at the others.
Low levels of the vitamin B12 are common as we age. In fact, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found about 20% of folks over 50 are borderline deficient.
B12 does a lot for our bodies. It helps build new red blood cells and DNA. It also protects our nerves and keeps our cells running well. Another vitamin, thiamine, works to turn carbs into fuel. It also helps our muscle, nerve, and heart cells.
Sardines and salmon are good options for B12 (and are low in mercury, making them good choices). Fortified foods like cereals and milk contain B12. Egg yolks also contain B12 that’s easy to absorb, so consider eating whole eggs instead of just the whites.
All of these foods are also good sources of thiamine, along with beef, pork, nuts, seeds, and beans.
Not only do you want to make up for these deficiencies, you want to feed your gut bugs. That’s because a healthy gut microbiome makes for a healthy brain. Healthy bacteria help fight inflammation. And remember, inflammation kills cells, including neurons in the brain.
Your gut bugs also regulate your mood and therefore influences the development of depression. Depression undermines our brain function. It gets worse with age, as we face life changes like retirement or the death of a spouse. A good way to combat that is with exercise in the sunshine.
Exercise releases serotonin and other feel-good chemicals like endorphins. Even better, exercise stimulates cell growth, including neurons in our brains. This can happen regardless of age.
It improves our circulation, so we get more oxygen-rich blood to our brain cells. It lowers inflammation. And best of all, it sets us up for better sleep. That’s a great brain-restoring superpower. Plus, we know that sunshine and vitamin D lower depression by boosting hormones like serotonin. So, go for a nice walk during the day and get that sunshine and happiness boost.
4) Epigenetics is the next frontier in medicine.
There’s good and bad news for you. You can’t change your genes, but lifestyle can change how they’re expressed.
That’s a field of study called epigenetics.
Epigenetics looks at how certain factors change the way our bodies read or express our DNA. These factors include things like stress, smoking, exercise, and aging. These outside forces turn genes on or off, which lead to problems down the line.
Epigenetics is really about lifestyle modifications. We know that changing certain behaviors directly affects our genes. For instance, smoking increases inflammation, which increases our risk of cancer. However, a study done jointly with researchers from Britain and Italy found that tobacco also turns on genes that contribute to cancer growth.
Exercise affects the enzymes responsible for changing DNA expression. That’s because exercise changes our metabolic pathways and how we break down and use fuel. It also creates byproducts from all that hard work. Some of these byproducts go on to stimulate enzymes that work to turn genes on or off.
Lifestyle changes will improve your health. Eating well, getting enough movement and exercise, and managing our stress can all reduce the harm to our DNA. We also know that the following things can protect your DNA from damage:
Antioxidant-rich foods like berries and leafy greens
Vitamin D from sunshine
Lifestyle stressors aren’t always what we think, however. Many health providers now ask questions such as, “Tell me what it was like in your home as you grew up.”
That might seem unrelated to current health issues, but there’s evidence that childhood stressors act as epigenetic forces. The trauma from poor experiences influences genes that regulate our stress hormones. The importance of mental health to help motivate you to make lifestyle changes cannot be overlooked.
5) Live with intention.
Setting an intention creates focus. With that focus, you can form a plan and then put it into action. To quote from Emerson: “A good intention clothes itself with sudden power.”
Taking care of your mental and spiritual health often gets overlooked. It’s vital though, to your success in making lifestyle changes.
Now, I’ve written before about habit formation. But first there has to be motivation. If finding motivation to make change is your sticking point, let me know. We can work together to get you beyond that point and get you on the road to making habit changes stick.
Start small and build your momentum. That’s true for changing any lifestyle habit. Don’t try one of those all-or-nothing diets. Don’t try to go from sedentary to hours at the gym every week. Making small, meaningful changes will lead to bigger and better changes. That goes for nutrition, exercise, sleep, meditation, and any other habit you want to start.
I hope you incorporate these lessons into your daily life and create healthy habits to improve your health.
Here’s HOW To Calm Anxiety
Finally, a way to calm anxiety is to focus on grounding yourself. This works well during panic attacks or sudden bouts of anxious thoughts or feelings. Focus on your five senses:
1. Name one thing you see
2. Name one thing you smell
3. Name one thing you can touch
4. Name one thing you hear
5. Name one thing you taste
So you might take a moment and think……. I can see my hands on my keyboard. I can smell the fresh air coming in through the window. I can touch the leather on my desk chair. I can hear the hum of the fan overhead. And I can still taste a bit of coffee that I just drank.
This practice allows you to focus on the moment, which can pull you back from worrying about the future.
In the midst of all the uncertainty, we do know one thing: you must take care of yourself. Because you’re the best person to look out for you.
My Favorite Way To Keep My Energy Going
I know it might not make sense to you, but I’m still, two months later, watching this video every……single……day. I just love it.
Here’s a staying healthy recommendation for you: I read an article a couple of days ago that advocated a one minute gargle with a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution every evening, maybe once or twice during the day as well.
Until next month, find Joyinmovement each and every day!