By Andrea Goff
Spring, a time of new life and fresh beginnings, is an opportunity for us to look at our lifestyles and assess areas that need change. Interestingly, in some cultures, when a person becomes sick, they have to apologize to their community for not having taken adequate care of themselves. Exercise, diet and detox are huge factors in disease prevention. It is estimated that the human body is now exposed to over 80,000 different toxins, including the latest biosolids – sewage turned into nutrient rich organic bi-products containing 600.000 toxic substances. Our bodies are designed with built in detoxification systems but superior health can be achieved through fasting, or by targeting major organs such as the liver or kidneys. Stellar research has now brought many MDs onboard with excellent available research and information online.
As well as regular detox, research has shown that a daily 20-minute walk, even broken into two 10 minute walks, will lower blood pressure, relieve depression and burn calories, helping to control weight gain. Walking by the ocean and deep breathing the salt air gives the lungs a good cleanse. Muscles are toned, bones strengthened, balance and coordination improved. Walking also prevents and manages diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Finding a friend to walk. laugh and chat with also increases mental health benefits.
Weight gain is an issue for many Americans. Commonly, despite apparently normal bloodwork, the thyroid may not be working optimally. The thyroid is a very important gland that controls how your brain, heart, muscles, liver and other parts of your body function. Most people over 50 would benefit from supplementing with iodine and whole thyroid extract, or simply adding foods rich in iodine to their diets. These foods include sea vegetables, organic potatoes, cranberries, organic yoghurt, navy beans, organic strawberries and raw organic cheese. Metabolism slows by up to 40% when the thyroid is low. As thyroid function improves, symptoms such as weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, brittle nails and stiff achy joints will improve.
Cruciferous vegetables should be increased in our diets. Large quantities are only contraindicated for those with iodine deficiency, who should consume no more than 1-2 servings daily. These nutrient dense vegetable super foods include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, radish, turnip and watercress. Rich in sulfur, these vegetables pack a powerful punch in the prevention of many cancers, while also detoxing the body. If you still need convincing, research shows that cruciferous vegetables also stimulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, shrink tumors, protect the brain, and balance both blood sugar and estrogen. Glucosinolates in these vegetables act as a natural pesticide in plant cells and are used to repair DNA in humans. God in His wisdom also designed all vegetables to contain antibacterial and antiviral properties. For some children and picky adult eaters with veggie phobia, it is easy to hide cruciferous vegetables in soups, curries, stews and sauces by processing them in a blender and adding small quantities when nobody is watching!
Live nutrient rich superfoods, such as spirulina, whole grains and fresh vegetables such as yams, sweet potatoes and squash may help to curb a sweet tooth. Taking half a teaspoon of L-glutamine powder before meals will inhibit cravings. Fruit juices can be as detrimental as soda since they are high in fructose but without the fiber and antioxidants found in fruit. The goal should be to keep sugar intake under 25g a day. A can of baked beans may contain 12g of sugar so this can quickly add up. Just giving the body a break from sugar for two weeks can help the body be less reactive to it.
Spring, the season of new beginnings can inspire us to make much needed changes and embrace life to it’s fullest.