NEWSTART is a fabulous program that works to reverse chronic diseases, but it is also a great guide to healthy living for everyone. This episode will cover the first 4 principles: Nutrition, Exercise, Water, and Sunlight. Interested in better overall health? Listen in!
Hi and welcome to Nutritionally Speaking. I’m your host, Michaela Ballmann. On today’s episode, I am going to talk about a program called NEWSTART. This program has worked to reverse many chronic diseases and pretty much encompasses all the aspects of good health. I’m going to split this topic into 2 episodes since there is so much good information that I want to share with you.
The first principle is Nutrition. The well-known phrase “you are what you eat” is not far off. What you put into your body affects how you feel, how long you will live, and whether you will get certain diseases. To not only prevent disease, but also reach for optimal nutritional health, there are a few basic tips. I’m sure you are familiar with them, since they are incorporated into the Food Guide Pyramid and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Eat whole grains—as much as possible, replace white, refined grains with whole. That means eating less white bread, white rice, and commercial cakes, cookies and pastries, and eating more whole grain bread, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and home-made baked goods with whole wheat flour.
Next, eat fruits and vegetables—you probably need more than you’re currently eating if you’re like most people. You need about 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables if you’re at a 2000 daily kcal intake level. Try to get a rainbow of colors in your diet. Try reds and oranges, yellows, purples, and why not try a new veggie every week? Switch it up to get a variety of nutrients and phytochemicals.
Drink milk. 3 cups a day of low-fat or fat-free milk or fortified milk alternatives like soymilk will provide your calcium for the day and promote good bone health.
Choose good fats. Saturated and trans fats are definitely out; mono- and poly-unsaturated fats are in. Eat less red meat, products made with partially hydrogenated oil, and packaged, processed foods. Eat more avocado, fish, walnuts, olive and canola oil. Beans and legumes can also be a good alternative if you’re trying to reduce your meat intake. They’re easy to cook and oh-so good for you!
Lastly, make sure to practice food safety. Wash your produce well and prevent cross-contamination when dealing with raw meats and other foods.
The next letter is E, which stands for exercise. Exercise can boost your mood, help you maintain or lose weight, and can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and a long list of diseases. You don’t have to become a marathon runner overnight. Start slow and work up your endurance. Try walking, biking, swimming, sports, or any of the various cardio machines at the gym. The surgeon general recommends getting 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week. And remember to do what you like! If you don’t enjoy walking on the treadmill, go out and play some tennis or take an aerobics class. Find something that you enjoy doing so you will want to stick to it! Along with aerobic exercise, weight-lifting is important for everyone, especially women who are more prone to osteoporosis. Lifting weights also helps increase your lean body mass, which means that at rest you will be burning more Calories than before. Flexibility is another component of physical fitness. Make sure to stretch after you exercise and try to get a larger range of motion. Touching your toes never felt so good!
W is for water. Are you drinking enough water? There is some debate over the “8- 8oz glasses of water per day”, but it actually is a good estimate. If you exercise and sweat a lot, you will need more. The Institute of Medicine recommends about 13 cups of total beverages a day for men and about 9 cups for women. It is SO much better to fill up on water than soda, juice, energy drinks, and even sports drinks. If you’re not exercising vigorously for over an hour, you do NOT need a sports drink. And since you’re trying to burn Calories, why put back those Calories that you just worked so hard to take off? A good way to check if you’re getting enough fluid is to look at the color of your urine. If it is colorless or slightly yellow, you’re good to go! If it is more dark and concentrated, fill up that water bottle!
S is for sunlight. Sunlight interacts with melatonin and serotonin. When the sun goes down, the body’s melatonin levels increase and the body prepares for bed, but when the sun comes out, melatonin levels decrease and our body is awake and ready for another day. (When we use artificial light to stay up really late and then wake ourselves up early after a short night’s sleep, our body suffers.) Furthermore, when we are exposed to bright light, serotonin levels increase, which explains why moods are more elevated in the summer. What’s even more important, though, is that the sun helps our body synthesize Vitamin D. I’m sure many of you have heard that the majority of people are Vitamin D deficient. I highly recommend seeing your doctor to get your blood levels checked and consider taking a supplement if you are deficient. We are finding that Vitamin D plays a variety of crucial roles in our bodies, ranging from the absorption of calcium for bone health to immunity, insulin secretion, blood pressure regulation, and beyond. Deficiency is even linked to depression, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and cancers. So, go out and get some sun on your skin!
That’s it for today! I hope that I provided some practical information on our four principles today—nutrition, exercise, water, and sunlight. As always, if you have any questions feel free to email!