William Sears, MD with Martha Sears, RN
Health books with recommendations come and go through the years. What is interesting is that many recommendations, based on science, are timeless. Recently, I spent 6 weeks reading and exploring the information and recommendations given by Dr. Sears in Prime Time Health. Dr. Sears, a well-known family practitioner, was diagnosed with cancer a decade ago and realized that he needed to take control of his life. He created the Prime Time Health plan and is sharing it with others. What I found in reading this book was a reconfirmation and new awareness of research, science and applications for health and wellbeing. I also found this book extremely user friendly.
Dr. Sears explores the science around living a long and healthful life which he terms – longevity.
He breaks longevity down to four factors which he uses the acronym LEAN:
Exercise: how we move
Attitude: how we think
Nutrition: how we eat
For so many of us working in the areas of human services, education and health care system, we do such a great job of assisting others that we sometimes run out of energy and time to take care of ourselves. Here are a few thoughts to get us started in focusing on small and basic steps we can add for our OWN health and wellbeing:
Pick blueberries: These could be called the body’s “repair berry.” They contain more anti-inflammatory nutrients that most other fruits. Most of these nutrients are found in the dark blue skin of the blueberry which is full of phytos called flavonoids, specially anthocyanin, an antirust antioxidant that helps keep the brain healthy.
Laughter: Provides an inner workout for the heart, lungs and diaphragm muscles. Laughter also enhances the immune system. Stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol decrease during and following laughter. Exhale out the tension of the moment and breath in the cleansing breath for our muscles and our brain. Focus on the light side of situations, find the humor in the stressful moment, watch old shows or movies that make you laugh. Look for the humor and SMILE.
Go green: The value of dark green vegetables cannot be minimized. Variety is key as different vegetables contain different nutrients. A few examples include spinach which is high in brain-vitality vitamin folate and vision-saving carotenoid lutein. Broccoli is high in calcium and vitamin C along with fiber. When in doubt, go DARK GREEN.
Move and stretch: Each hour get up and move, stretch, flex, reach, bend and breathe. Just begin doing something every hour and every day that moves your body in different ways. It can take 10 seconds or 10 minutes: keep moving.
Eat nuts: Different nuts offer different nutrients. Mixing up your nuts is beneficial to get a variety of nutrients. Almonds are a top heart nut; highest in calcium, vitamin E, and lowest in saturated fats. Walnuts are a top brain nut (even looks like a brain); most omega-3s and melatonin. Nuts give us protein, fiber, healthy fats and high satiety factor (fill us up). Eat nuts slowly. Think graze.
Get more restful sleep: Sleep helps our body heal and rejuvenates our body and brain. Begin a bedtime routine. This could include one activity or many: cut down on caffeine earlier in the day, prepare for bedtime earlier, shut down electronics earlier, move phone away from nightstand, move TV out of bedroom, eat less food before bed. It is especially important for our body and brain to repair and refresh.
Practice gratitude: each day think or list three things you are grateful for. The research is very clear how this practice can and does change our perspective on our day and our life. We begin to see what we do have instead of what we don’t. What is going well instead of what is not. What really matters in our lives and what does not.
Prime-Time Health shows us how to live better and enjoy life more fully every day. Awareness is the first step in this process.
Which one will you begin today?