If you had to explain the secret to longevity in just one word, what would that be? Hmm… most of you are thinking about the word diet or exercise? Or even, the word community! … Yes, I do agree, having a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, and staying active within the community are all great ways to increase your lifespan. However, there must be one simple word that completely encapsulates the secret to a long and healthy life. If it’s not only diet, exercise, or community, then what is it? Above, I gave you a HUGE clue! Any ideas…?
… Okay, I’ll simply tell you!
The magic word is SIMPLE. Tada! This concept of simplicity comes straight from traditional Chinese medicine and eastern philosophy. Seriously now, when it comes down to getting old and gray, you really need to keep things simple! Period. With that in mind, I will now explain six surprising longevity secrets…
1. Go Walking After Large Meals
Here we go! The idea is this, in traditional Chinese medicine, the three main channels responsible for digestion are located on the legs. They are the stomach, spleen, and kidney organs respectively. When engaged in walking, the stomach and spleen work better at digesting the food while the kidneys work more efficiently at filtering the water (water metabolism) throughout the body. By walking just ten minutes every day after large meals, you keep the entire digestive system functioning at peak levels. You might be surprised how good this simple secret works at improving gastrointestinal issues such as indigestion, bloating, etc. Even further, please don’t think about stress when you’re walking. Alternatively, remain relaxed and enjoy the walk! … Keep calm, and walk on.
2. Eat Pomegranates For Heart Health
Have you ever bitten into a juicy ripe pomegranate before? You should! This amazing super-fruit is punched with powerful healing benefits that are full of polyphenols (antioxidants), anti-cancer properties, and heart healthy components. Pomegranates are famously recognized for their ability to aid in cardiovascular conditions such as arterial sclerosis (hardening of the arterial walls). To live long, the entire plumbing of the body needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. For this reason, pomegranates are the perfect way to scrub the arterial walls clean from the inside out.
According to Eastern medicine, pomegranates go to the heart channel and are said to be sweet, bitter, and astringent. If you cut open a pomegranate in half, you will find many separate parts (similar to the four chambers in the Heart). Coincidence? … I think not! Further, when you drink a fresh squeezed glass of pomegranate juice, you will note the taste has a drying bitter aftertaste. This is closely attributed to the bitterness found in the pomegranate.
In Chinese medicine, bitterness has a specific purpose of drying dampness (plaque) inside the torso. This is why pomegranates are revered for their power to clean arterial plaque. The bitterness literally helps dissolve the formation of plaque buildup, thus, the vascular system stays healthy and gunk free! … Long live the pomegranate!
3. Eat A Snack Every Few Hours
If you enjoy food, you will love this next secret. Eating snacks throughout the helps boost brain function, maintains consistent energy, and helps stabilize mood. It does all of this by keeping the blood sugar levels from not spiking uncontrollably. As we know, when the blood sugar is not within normal levels, you may see symptoms such as temper, mood swings, sweet cravings, and somnolence.
Remember, snack smart! I recommend to eat healthy snacks and not sugary sweets. Lastly, eat at least one snack between meals; 2-3 hours apart. A little goes a long way my friend! Even consuming one or two bites of a nutritious snack between a meal may be all the body needs to keep that blood sugar level just right. Snack on!
4. Nap At Noon
What ever happened to nap time when we were younger? Seriously, nap time should be implemented for everybody and not just toddlers… right!? This easy to do practice is one of the most powerful longevity secrets out there. The reason is, because throughout our lives, we exhaust our energies and rob ourselves of much needed rest. Napping at around noon is a great way to recharge and take a quick break from the day.
The ancients say, “When one is lying down, the blood pulls back to the Liver.” In other words, in Chinese medicine, the liver is said to clean and repair the blood when one is lying down. Finally, I recommend napping after eating lunch (15-25 minutes) for maximum benefit. Napping at this time helps the body focus on digesting all that food more efficiently. All in all, taking a nap is always a good idea!
5. Exercise For Energy
According to Chinese medicine, exercise helps boost Qi (energy) within the body. Therefore, the lack of energy from under exercising may cause a cascade of symptoms such as, low energy, indigestion, etc. For this reason, we recommend mild to moderate aerobic to promote the movement and circulation of Qi and blood. This encourages the release of natural pain killing and feel good endorphins. In traditional Chinese medicine, we don’t just recommend aerobics, but also low impact and simple movements found from tai chi or Qi gong.
These fluid exercises are great for unblocking stagnant Qi and disharmony within us. In many ways, there is no need for heavy strenuous type exercises to get the Qi moving. All the body needs are mindful and gentle exercises. With that said, Qi is made from three organs. They are the lungs, spleen, and kidneys. All three of these vital organs must be healthy and strong in order to successfully function all day long. So, find a simple exercise routine and stick with it daily.
6. Practice Meditation To Boost Compassion
Meditation has a funny habit of turning our compassion button on. For some reason, after sitting down and quieting our thoughts, we often leave feeling more positive and content. In the brain, when we trigger these neuro-receptors, specific receptors in the brain release natural endorphins that promote physiological well-being. Yes, science has proven that just 5-10 minutes of meditation amps up positive emotions and behavior (due to the brain stem and hypothalamus connection).
According to Chinese medicine, when one is in a compassionate or joyful state, the Qi and blood flow smoothly in the body. When one is in harmony, healing will occur naturally. If the body is under stress such as anger all the time, the internal organs will stay in a constant fight or flight mode (sympathetic nervous system). By staying compassionate and calm, the central nervous system will be more balanced and healthy.
Visiting us for regular assistance is also a great idea to help keep you on your course for a long, healthy and happy life.
Dr. Chris, L.Ac.
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