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Damon K. Jones

If Black Live Matter to Black People, We Would Eat Better.

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Category Archives: Health and Wellness

6 Key Behaviors That Prevent Chronic Disease

Everyone is looking for health advice. There are many varieties of methods available to gain optimal health. 

Health advice can be complicated, but I’ve found that the road to health and wellness is not as complicated as it seems. I have identified 6 health behaviors that can dramatically reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Unfortunately, Black Americans are generally at higher risk for heart diseases, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS, according to the Office of Minority Health, part of the Department for Health and Human Services.

Too many of us are too focused on helping others and not focused enough on our own care. You can’t do much for others if you’re not taking good care of yourself. Make yourself a priority, and you’ll be more useful to those in your life.

First, you’re probably wondering what these 6 super habits are. Here’s the list:

  • Exercising
  • Eat Clean Foods
  • Sleeping well
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Not smoking.
  • Stress Management

Currently more than 98% of Americans engage in at least one of these behaviors, but only 6.3% are fully compliant. It’s a big deal because about half of all adults have at least one chronic condition, and many have two or more.

If you’re serious about your health, take a look at how to join the ranks of the fittest American adults. Small lifestyle changes can add up to a big difference.

Exercise Regularly 

Enjoy yourself. It’s much easier to stick with a workout program if you enjoy what you’re doing. Pick a variety of activities that will hold your interest. It’s good to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. 

Exercise in the morning. Performing your exercise routines before you do anything tells your body to go into efficient mode. Therefore, your metabolism is higher all day.

Train for strength and endurance. Increasing your muscles and stamina pays off. Your body will burn more calories even when you’re at rest.

Do more cardio. 

Cardiovascular exercise is one of the most effective ways to burn calories! Try to include cardio in your fitness routine as often as possible for the best results. If you only have time for either a cardio workout or weight training, choose cardio if you want to lose weight.

Avoid injuries. If you want to intensify your workouts, do it gradually. That way you’ll be less likely to suffer accidents that could interfere with your plans.

Eat Clean Foods

Change to a plant based eating lifestyle. Want to eat more food and weigh less? Make vegetables and fruits the majority of your daily diet. Try to eat at least 5 servings a day.

Focus on whole foods. When you’re grocery shopping, start with the outer aisles of the store. The perimeter is where you’ll usually find foods in their more natural state. Cutting back on chips, cookies, and most frozen foods will help you avoid excess fat, sugar, salt, and additives.

By eating clean foods over time you will gain these health benefits:

A lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Those that eat a plant-based diet are less likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes. You could potentially be healthier and live longer by eating more plant foods and less meat.

Lower body weight. Meat is a calorie-dense food. Reducing the amount of meat in your diet can lower your body weight. This is great for your appearance and your health. Obesity is associated with numerous health issues.

You’ll eat fewer hormones. Most of the meat available in the store contains hormones that were fed to the animal. These allow the animal to grow faster, which makes it cheaper to raise. Some of these hormones can be unhealthy. Your body would prefer to manage its own hormones without outside interference.

You’ll be less likely to suffer from type II diabetes. Diabetes is incredibly hard on your organs and blood vessels. Eliminating high-calorie foods like meat can help to prevent developing this dangerous disease.

You’re likely to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. Meat and obesity can raise your cholesterol and blood pressure. Both are bad for your blood vessels and can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Adequate Sleep

Be consistent. Go to bed and rise at about the same time each day. Try to keep on schedule during weekends, holidays, and travel.

Redo your bedroom. Your environment plays a big role in determining the quality of your sleep. Block out car alarms and stereos with a fan or pink noise machine. Upgrade your mattress and pillows if you’re tossing and turning because your back aches.

Adjust the light. Darkness helps your brain to become drowsy. Shut off those bright screens on your phone and computer at least an hour before retiring. Turn your alarm clock toward the wall if it has a lighted display.

Quitting Smoking and Limiting Alcohol

Try again. It often takes more than one attempt to give up smoking or change your drinking behavior. Even if you’ve had a hard time in the past, give yourself another chance. Your next attempt could be the one that succeeds.

Create substitutes. Figure out your personal triggers, the events and situations that make you reach for a cigarette or a cocktail. Create new habits that will satisfy you without breaking your resolutions.

Seek support. Let your family and friends know how they can help you make positive changes. They may want to join you. Talk with your doctor about medication and therapies that could reduce your discomfort and help you succeed.

Reduce your risk of stroke, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other conditions by focusing on just 5 behaviors. You’ll enhance your quality of life, and may even live longer.

For men under the age of 40, smoking is the most significant cause of erectile dysfunctions— and studies show that men who smoke more than 10 cigarettes daily are at an increased risk for Erectile dysfunction.

Relieve your stress and regain your focus:

We still do not recognize how stress can result in sickness and distress in our bodies. Being in a constant state of trauma can weaken the immune system that can later cause chronic diseases.

Many times our body respond to long term stress of trauma with simple signs like aches,pains and swelling of joints. 

The route you take to healing can help you gain valuable benefits from your challenging experiences. Here are a few steps you can take to relieve yourself from stress as trauma. 

Meditate. It’s not necessary to be an experienced yogi to use meditation as a tool in your life. Anyone can learn to meditate. It’s just a specialized way of paying attention.

Be mindful. There’s nothing mystical about being mindful. It’s simply paying attention to what you’re doing. Whether you’re driving your car or typing on your computer, keep your mind on the topic at hand. You’ll do a better job and relieve much of your stress.

Hugging, kissing, and sex are also effective stress relievers. This might not be a viable option in the workplace, but it might be just the ticket at home. Interestingly, just talking about sex has been shown to reduce stress.

Are You Performing These Important key behaviors to reduce chronic diseases?

By focusing on these key behaviors you will be on the road to health and wellness. It will also show the that you care about yourself. More importantly, they show you that you care about yourself.

It’s important to take care of yourself. No one is more interested in your health and wellness than you are.

10 Supplements All Women Should Consider Taking for Good Health

The human body requires specific vitamins and minerals to function optimally. A well-balanced diet can reduce or even eliminate the need for supplementation. However, supplements can be a valuable addition to a healthy diet.

The needs of women are similar to, but not the same as those of men. Women must understand the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for women and follow it to the best of their ability.

Consider these supplements to optimize your health:

  1. Vitamin D. Many women are deficient in this critical vitamin. Your skin is indeed able to produce vitamin D in the presence of sunlight, but that might not be sufficient if you don’t spend enough time outdoors regularly.
  • Vitamin D has many functions, but among the most important are its roles in calcium absorption and boosting your immune system.
  • The current RDA for women under 70 is 600 IU per day. That number increases to 800 IU per day for those over 70.
  1. A multivitamin. Ideally, all the vitamin needs of the human body would be met by the diet. However, it’s not always easy to eat a balanced diet that addresses every vitamin and mineral. A simple multivitamin can help to ensure that all of your daily requirements are met.
  2. Calcium. Calcium is a primary component of bones. Osteoporosis is a real threat to all women as they age.
  • Women under 50 years of age require 1,000 mg per day.
  • Those over 50 need 1,200 mg per day.
  1. Fiber. Fiber aids in gut motility and may help to lower cholesterol. Certain types of fiber also serve as food for gut bacteria. A healthy diet provides plenty of fiber, but if you’re not eating a healthy diet with ample fiber-rich food, a supplement can help.
  • The current recommendation for women is 25 grams of fiber each day.
  1. Fish Oil. While you can live without most dietary fats, it is necessary to consume essential fatty acids. These are most easily consumed in fatty fish or fish oil supplements.
  • There is no set recommendation for essential fatty acid intake. It doesn’t take much. As little as a gram, a day could be sufficient. Follow the label instructions.
  1. Probiotics. Many health issues are believed to start in the gut. A healthy gut dramatically increases the odds of having a healthy mind and body.
  • Again, follow the label instructions.
  1. Vitamin B-12. This vitamin does many things in the body, including the building of DNA and red blood cells. If you eat a lot of meat, you probably don’t need a vitamin B-12 supplement. However, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, supplementation will likely be necessary.
  • The Mayo Clinic recommends that all adults consume 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 per day.
  • Vitamin B-12 is unique because it is water-soluble, so it harmlessly passes in the urine if you take too much. But it can also be stored in the body in relatively large quantities. This means that taking B-12 weekly or monthly is acceptable, provided the dose is sufficient.
  1. Iron. Menstruating women lose blood, which contains iron. One of the primary roles of iron is oxygen transport in the blood.
  • Premenopausal women are advised to consume 18 mg/day.
  • Postmenopausal: 8 mg/day
  1. Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that is part of the sleep process. If you sleep well, melatonin supplementation is unnecessary. On the other hand, if you have difficulties sleeping, a melatonin supplement might help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Try 1-2 mg to start, 30 minutes before bed.
  • A total of 3-4 mg can be taken if necessary.
  1. Folate. Folate is necessary for pregnant women to prevent a particular type of congenital disability. Folate has several other roles in the body, too.
  • For women without risk of becoming pregnant: 400 mcg/day.
  • Women with a risk of pregnancy: 800 mcg/day.

Of course, the best place to start is a talk with your physician. Follow your doctor’s advice.

It’s also important to realize that it’s easy to get too much of a good thing. Taking too much of any supplement can be much worse than not taking it at all. Follow the directions on the label.

Become familiar with the foods that are high in the nutrients above. Several of the supplements listed above may be unnecessary for you if you eat a nutritious diet.

The Tremendous Health Benefits of a Vegan Diet

You’ve heard about the vegan diet. Maybe you’re not convinced that it’s for you. All you know is that it sounds extreme and dull. Still, you might consider it if there were sufficient benefits.

Could you be one of those “vegan people”? Maybe you could! It might be the best decision you could make for your health and longevity.

First, let’s define what a vegan diet is. Essentially, it’s a diet that is free of animal products. So, that means no meat of any kind, including fish and seafood, no dairy products, and no eggs. Of course, many vegans choose to exclude honey, too.

What does that leave? Every other food, including fruits, soy, vegetables, beans, grains, and nuts. There are many processed foods as well that are vegan, such as bread and pasta.

Keep in mind that vegan food isn’t necessarily healthy food. French fries, potato chips, and some cookies are vegan, but they certainly aren’t healthy. You can eat a very unhealthy diet and still be 100% vegan!

A vegan diet with nutritious foods can provide many health benefits:

  1. A vegan diet may reduce arthritis pain. Multiple studies have demonstrated that following a vegan diet can reduce the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Study participants reported less joint swelling and less morning stiffness, too.
  2. Metabolism benefits. Vegan diets can be extremely healthy. A good vegan diet is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals. Just as important, a proper vegan diet is also low in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat. This type of diet is high in nutrition but low in calories and disease-causing components.
  • There is also evidence to suggest that an improvement in gut biome in those following a vegan diet also leads to metabolic advantages. 
  1. Lower risk of heart disease. The primary contributors to heart disease include high blood sugar, blood pressure, LDL, and total cholesterol. A healthy vegan diet has been shown to lower all of these risk factors.
  2. Cognitive benefits. Those that follow a vegan diet have shown a decreased risk of developing cognitive issues. When a cognitive problem is present, vegan diet followers show a slower rate of decline. 
  3. Lower risk of certain types of cancer. Adhering to a vegan diet lowers the risk of prostate, colon, and breast cancer.
  4. Enhance kidney function. High blood sugar is ultimately very damaging to kidney function. It forces the kidneys to work extra hard. High blood sugar is also damaging to the blood vessels in the kidneys. Those following a vegan diet often experience significant improvements in kidney function.
  5. Weight loss. A healthy vegan diet is low in calories. However, not all vegan diets are healthy. You can eat nothing but potato chips and Fruit Loops and be a vegan. However, a healthy vegan diet has a low-calorie density. It would be a real challenge to eat enough to maintain high body weight.

A vegan diet can be extremely healthy if good food choices are made. If you’re looking to boost your health, lose weight, and preserve your cognitive function, a vegan diet might be the best option.

Getting Started With a Vegan Diet

How can you get started with a minimal amount of trouble?

Follow this process:

  1. First, make a list of healthy vegan foods that you enjoy.
  2. Then, start by eating one vegan meal each day.
  3. After a week, add in a second vegan meal.
  4. Take things slowly and experiment with different recipes. You’ll struggle if you’re determined to eat nothing but salad and fruit. If eating isn’t enjoyable, it will be challenging to stick with it.
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