How to get into the health habit

Editors | Jan/Feb 2009 issue
Integrative medicine begins with the basics: what you eat, what you do and how you think. Here are three tips for staying healthy from Victoria Maizes, executive director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.

  • Eat a healthy diet. “The Mediterranean diet, which acts as an anti-inflammatory, is a very healthy diet to follow. It mainly comprises fish, whole grains, nuts, fruit and vegetables and some animal proteins, like dairy. Olive oil is the main oil used. It minimizes animal protein, which is used as a feast food and not on a daily basis. This type of diet reduces omega-6s, found in red meat, which when consumed in excess can contribute to long-term diseases such as heart disease, cancer, asthma, arthritis and depression.
  • Be physically active. “The studies really bear out the unbelievable value of physical activity for preventing cancer and reducing heart disease and depression. This is harder as it takes time and we are a time-starved society. We all feel like we need more hours in the day to get everything done, but I think people have to schedule it in like you would schedule a meeting.”
  • Perform a centering practice. “Introduce some kind of centering practice that appeals to you. It could be a couple of minutes of diaphragmatic breathing, tai chi, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, meditation, sitting in nature. There are a wide range of options, but anything that is some kind of regular coping practice is useful, because the regularity is important. The regularity is what tones your autonomic nervous system so that it knows easily how to go back into the more relaxed mode as opposed to being irritable and easily thrown into stress mode.”


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