Wednesday, May 04, 2011
ROCHESTER, Minn. — With the wealth of information available, it can be hard to determine the most straightforward ways to improve health. The May issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter does just that, offering 10 simple tips to improve health and well-being.
Eat fruit daily: Fruit offers a great source of antioxidants, which may help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease and macular degeneration. The berry family — blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries — are good sources of antioxidants. So are cherries, oranges, and prunes.
Make high-fiber foods a staple: Whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables are good sources, as is cereal with psyllium, which may help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as "bad'' cholesterol.
Take a brisk walk: Brisk walking improves cardiovascular and bone health. Try to walk at least 30 minutes a day at a moderately intense level.
Make stretching and strength building a habit: Regular stretching and strengthening can enhance mobility and help prevent falls.
Pursue yoga and tai chi: These gentle mind-body practices combine five important types of exercise — aerobic, strength training, core stability, flexibility and balance. Research suggests they help reduce blood pressure, reduce stress and improve mood and sleep.
Be optimistic: Research indicates that positive thinkers are more likely to feel better and live longer.
Develop an attitude of gratitude: Be thankful for every experience — good and bad — and recognize each is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Try volunteering: Research shows meaningful volunteer activities promote emotional and mental well-being.
Enjoy a pet: A small but growing body of research suggests pet ownership benefits health in several ways. One study found that among those who had a heart attack, dog owners were significantly more likely to be alive a year later than were those without a dog. Dog owners benefit from regularly walking Fido, too. They are less likely to be obese than non-dog owners.
Improve relationships: Take conscious steps to forgive those closest to you — and yourself. Forgiveness is associated with improved mood and lower stress.
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