Saturday, January 5, 2019

10 Things That Are Good for Us

     As I said in my previous post, we hear so many confusing reports about activities, foods, supplements and other things that are supposed to be good for us ... or maybe the latest research says they are actually bad for us.

     So I've done a little research, and can now give a rundown of 10 things that really are good for us, even though we may have heard differently. I've provided a link for each entry, in case you want to know more.

     The caveat: Everyone is different and many people have their own issues. So if your doctor has you on a particular regimen, ignore this general information and pay attention to your doctor.

     1. Breakfast. According to one study, over 30 million Americans skip breakfast every day. Yet a nutritious breakfast gives you energy and helps you resist unhealthy high-calorie snacks later in the morning. Eating breakfast is therefore associated with maintaining a healthy weight, reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes, better concentration and better memory. What's good for breakfast? Eggs, whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables.

     2. Saunas and hot tubs. I always thought the benefit of a sauna or hot tub was that it made you feel good. But apparently there are some actual health benefits as well. According to the Mayo Clinic, sauna bathing can improve cardiovascular function and lower blood pressure, and can also help relieve symptoms of arthritis, headache and flu. But watch out for bacteria. Don't drink the water, and shower both before and after.

     3. Organic foods. I've been skeptical of organic foods ever since I mistakenly bought a bunch of organic grapes. I only noticed they were organic when I got to the checkout counter and found they cost over $9, instead of the usual $4. Then the grapes made me sick to my stomach! But ... my experience notwithstanding, the science says that organic foods, although more expensive, are in fact better for you because they have more nutrients, less toxic metal and fewer pesticides. However, organics (as I found out) do not have fewer bacteria, so you're still supposed to thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables.

Now these are organic
     4. A skeptical attitude. Not cynicism. A cynic distrusts everything. A skeptic looks at the facts and weighs the evidence before believing in something. So skeptics are less likely to fall for the latest panacea, fad diet, trendy cure-all or quick-fix. They are also less likely to just believe that, somehow, everything will work out fine, and so they take measures to improve their outlook for the future -- they exercise, eat right, drive safely and avoid other health risks.

     5. Snuggling. Being physically close, holding hands, giving backrubs all tend to reduce physical pain. One study from Colorado looked at 22 heterosexual couples. The women were subjected to mild pain, first when their male partner was holding their hand, then when they were sitting together but not touching. The women reported significantly less pain when they were holding hands -- but not when they were just sitting there. It seems we can share each others' pain, and when we do, it actually makes us feel better.

     6. Herbs and spices. They are full of healthy compounds that reduce inflammation, and since they offer interesting flavors they lead us to use less salt, sugar and fat in our foods. The list is a long one. Cinnamon may help reduce inflammation. Cumin can play a role in weight loss. Garlic may reduce high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Ginger helps an upset stomach. Turmeric may improve memory and help ease pain.

     7. Coffee ... and tea. Coffee perks you up, and tea helps you relax, according to WebMD. Coffee may help stave off Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, diabetes and liver disease, and the recurrence of colon cancer. Tea boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol; and studies have suggested that tea drinkers have lower than average risk of skin, breast and prostate cancer.

     8. Cannabidiol, or CBD. Well, I'm still skeptical about this one. Nevertheless, as reports come in they seem to be more and more positive about the substance. CBD is the non-psychoactive element in marijuana. There is increasing scientific evidence that it helps relieve pain, lower anxiety, and possibly reduce high blood pressure. I don't know. I haven't ingested any CBD since the 1970s. How about you?

     9. Housework. The AARP cites a worldwide study on physical activity that found "doing household chores can be just as effective as running or working out when it comes to cutting your risk of heart disease and extending your life." The crux of the issue is that any type of physical activity is better than sitting and reading or watching TV, and it doesn't matter much whether you're walking on a treadmill or pushing around a vacuum, using the stairmaster or bending and stooping in the garden.

     10. Religion. Taking part in prayers and rituals on a regular basis has been shown to prevent isolation, decrease risk of depression, lower blood pressure and boost the immune system. The benefits of religion, or spirituality, are not associated with any particular religion, and may in large part come from social support and perhaps having a sense of purpose in life. Whatever the reasons, the bottom line is that people who attend church regularly are healthier; they lead longer lives, have more robust immune systems and experience better recovery times from surgery.

     P. S. on pets. As I mentioned in my last post, it is possible to catch a disease from your pet. Still and all, according to the CDC, "The bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress and bring happiness to their owners." How can you argue with that?


Tabor said...

All sounds good to me and organic is best if you can afford it. That is why it is expensive because it is more labor intensive. But you should wash everything before it goes into your mouth.

DJan said...

It was good to see this list, since I think I participate in most of them. I'm a regular CBD user and think it's a wonderful thing to now have available. :-)

Barbara - said...

I'd go further and say that Marijuana it's self is a game changer, not just CBD. Marijuana, which is what I take. Both internall and externally. There is actuall a great deal of evidence if you are willing to look outside the US. There isn't much research in the US because the National Institutes of Health generally refuse to fund most of it. There are a couple very good studies in Holland and scandinavia that show that pot also helps arthritis (we loose canaboids in our joints and this helps replace that) and that it helps diabetes and PTSD.

I agree with the breakfast thing, but many of us are not ready to eat breakfast s soon as we get up but a good hour or so later.

Anonymous said...

Social Isolism speeds up most people to the long march to you know what..I have seen it and I get out a lot and talk and listen to others, most live long ways from family for what reason or another..I cannot understand a person who just stays inside all the time, even in the rain, my hubs & I take a walk and we see so much and no we don't live in a beautiful town like Bellingham could never afford that town, we live in a semi-rural area with tons of people coming here, no jobs though and most have to commute to Portland and pay an enormous state tax and lots of other taxes..I say just be happy talk to others, listen more and be peaceful and kind, that is what the world really needs, love your column..peace to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Olga said...

It's hard to keep up with what is good and what is bad. I try to eat good food, get plenty of exercise, spend quality time with family and friends, and keep my mind active. Balance, balance, balance. My daughter did ask recently, "when are you going to take up sitting and knitting like a normal grandmother?" Although I do a certain amount of knitting. Not going for an exceptionally long life so much as continued quality of life.

Haven't felt the need for CBD oil although I do know it seems helpful in seizure disorders. Sure, I tried cannabis in the 70's -- not for me. I liked the very initial baby buzz for about a minute and then I just wanted it to stop. My first husband once called my Pat Nixon, who, he maintained, once said she never did anything just for the fun of it.

Bob Lowry said...

CBD is very different from THC, the chemical that make you high and give you the munchies. CBD does exactly what you have read it does, is completely legal in all states, and available online and in drug stores. It usually comes in liquid form, with a dose being a few drops worth.

My wife uses CBD and it works. It helps moderate pain and ease stress without any kind of high or altered mental state. It is safe and natural. Think of it as an organic medicine.

Jono said...

I'm pretty good about most of these, but There is only so much I can do in a day.

Retirement Confidential said...

I make my own topical cannabis cream (from the whole flower that includes THC and CBD) and use it twice a day for pain. It works.

Some produce is pretty clean and buying organic isn't as crucial. You can Google the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. You should be able to find something you can download and keep in your wallet. Or just take a picture of it and keep it on your phone.

Rian said...

OK, breakfast no... although I love breakfast foods, eating early in the day has never agreed with me. Love breakfast for dinner though!
Hot baths, Yes!... but only once a week to soothe aching bones, otherwise shower.
Organic foods, OK... sometimes but a bit expensive.
Skeptical, Yes! Wait a bit before trying anything to see how it works out.
Snuggling, Yes!
Herbs, Yes! Willing to use most (basil, parley, cumin, tumeric) but not fond of some (cilantro, allspice).
Coffee and Tea, a definite Yes! And exactly as you mentioned, Coffee wakes me up (in the morning) ... Tea calms me (in afternoon or evening).
Canabis, no... not that I'm against it. I do believe it has it's value, just never tried it and haven't needed it so far.
Housework has it's upside... good exercise for mind and body and since I was watching "Hoarders on TV this morning, I'm really INTO cleaning and getting rid of unneeded items today.
Religion, yes and no. Very personal subject. Being brought up Catholic, I'm certainly not against religion. But I think organized religion is not for everybody. For some people, blind faith is dangerous.

gigi-hawaii said...

I eat crappy food and don't exercise much, but I am still alive. I'll go with that.

retirementreflections said...

HI, Tom - I was cheering along with this list...until I got to "housework"! :) I was hoping that you had found a piece of Science to prove that that was bad for us! I was excited to read other items on your list though, especially breakfast and coffee! Great post.

David @ iretiredyoung said...

We (well, my wife, Sally) ordered a hot tub for our new apartment, so we'll be able to test that one out. I'd like to eat more organic food but the cost is definitely an obstacle, if only in my mind - I'll have to give this one some more thought to see if I can get my mind past the extra cost.

Wisewebwoman said...

Now that marijuana is legal in Canada I get my CBD above the counter and honestly? as a pain manager it is wonderful. I hate ingesting pharmaceuticals and this has helped me immeasurably. I do hope the US gets its act together on this. Though with Big Pharma lobbying it will be difficult I would imagine. No studies funded there I believe.

As to the rest cumin and garlic definitely and great to hear caffeine assists in lowering BP.


Randi said...

I would put lifting weights on the list. When I lift, I'm not only building strength, I'm also building strong bones, burning calories, improving my posture, increasing joint mobility, and building mental toughness. Since I started lifting, I've gone from pre-osteoporosis to "bones of a healthy young adult female". I've gone from "oof I have to get up out of this deep couch?" to 200 lb squats where my rear end is almost touching the floor. I've gone from the old lady bent-over-at-the-hip short step walk to perfect posture and a long confident stride. I started lifting heavy at age 56. I'm now 60. Lifting has literally changed my life.

Tom said...

I've just heard so many claims for CBD it's hard to believe that it isn't over-hyped. But maybe I should try it myself. And ... I would never argue with a weightlifter.

judi said...

Sounds good, very interesting

judi kartu