The photo shows the woman at the top of the building exercising.

By Dr. Willie Ong

Eat 6 small meals a day.

Most nutritionists recommend that we eat 5 to 6 small meals a day. For example, you can have a light breakfast at 7 AM, light snack at 10 AM, lunch at 12 noon, snack at 4 PM, dinner at 7 PM and bedtime snack at 9 PM. This schedule will help reduce sudden surges in your blood sugar. It prevents you from overeating because of hunger. It’s easier for the digestion too and can prevent stomach ulcers from missed meals.  Eat several times a day, but just a little. A banana or an apple can be considered a snack already.

Drink 10 glasses of water.

Doctors have to tell patients again and again the importance of drinking enough water a day. But it seems many patients, especially women, don’t listen. Drinking water can prevent kidney infections, kidney stones, migraine headache and constipation. My wife learned her painful lesson by only drinking 3-4 glasses a day. She developed severe back pains from kidney stones. Now she drinks a whole lot more. And did you know that water can prevent wrinkles and make you skin soft and glowing. Drink water for beauty, health and long life. It’s the best advice, so take it.

Rest at least 8 hours a day.

Sleeping and resting is the best way to boost your energies. If you feel tired, take a 15 minute rest to replenish your strength. At night, try to go for 8 hours of sleep a day. If you can’t sleep, just lying in bed and thinking happy thoughts can relax your mind and body, too. It’s not as good as sleep, but it’s the next best thing.

Climb 1-2 flights of stairs.

Exercise for health. Moderate exercise has been proven to prevent diabetes, maintain body weight and reduce arthritis. If your office is just on the second or third floor, use the stairs. It’s good for your heart and good for your joints. It also helps you get some exercise in between your work. As you grow older, try to avoid high impact exercises like basketball and badminton. Swimming, taichi, walking and climbing stairs are gentler for the body.

Live a clean life.

By “clean” living, we mean not just physically clean, but we should try to avoid unhealthy behavior like smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs, engaging in risky sex, and gorging on fatty foods. Smoking kills. Alcohol destroys brain cells. You may have tried them, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. So why continue the habit? Avoid risky habits and prolong your life.

Be a veggie and fruit lover.

You are what you eat. And the healthiest foods out there are vegetables and fruits. Green leafy vegetables, such as cabbage, pechay, kangkong and camote tops (talbos) and spinach, contain so many vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant chemicals. Vegetables can prevent heart disease, diabetes, bowel problems and cancer, too. Eat veggies everyday. For the healthiest fruits, we have bananas, apples, carrots, tomatoes and citrus fruits. They are filled with anti-oxidants known to delay ageing.

Laugh 15 minutes a day.

Laughter is indeed the best medicine. A study from the University of California Irvine College of Medicine reports that after watching the funny video, the viewers’ mood improved dramatically. Depression and anger dropped by 98%, fatigue fell by 87%, and tension was reduced by 61%.

What happens inside our bodies when we laugh? The level of stress hormones, called cortisol, decreases, and the good hormones, called endorphins, increases. Endorphins are natural substances in the body that make you happy and boost your immune system.

Be enthusiastic about your work.

Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Try to find ways to enjoy your line of work. A nurse’s job can be messy and tiring, but at least you are caring for someone. A secretary’s job may be just about setting appointments, but without her diligence, the boss would probably never be as successful. Be creative. Think long-term. What does your job really mean? An enthusiastic attitude can make the difference.

Have a lifetime partner.

Statistics show that married persons live longer than single persons. If you have someone to share your burdens with, it will lessen your stress. For single persons living alone, they may have no one to attend to them in cases of emergencies. To compensate for a lack of social support, single persons can acquire a circle of close relatives and friends.

Share your blessings.

In President Bill Clinton’s book entitled “Giving,” he explains the whys and the hows of giving. Give big or give small, and the benefits will come back to you. Similarly, Prof. Peggy Thoits’ study at the Vanderbilt University showed that people who volunteered and helped others had higher levels of happiness, self-esteem and better physical health. If you want to receive P2,000 worth of health and happiness, try donating P2,000 to your favorite charity. Helping the poor and the sick will surely give you a different “high.” It may not make you live longer, but it can surely make life worth living.

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