Ask Doctor Marty: Taking Care of Yourself

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Dr MartyQUESTION:
Throughout this quarantine, I have realized how important it is to take care of myself. I want to fight off whatever comes my way, not just the pandemic at hand. What else can I do besides the supplements I am taking?

ANSWER:
Here are some basics. These are things you probably know already, but it sounds like they might be timely reminders for us all.

Drink a sufficient amount of pure water daily. Take your weight in pounds and divide that in half. That number is the amount of water in ounces per day that you need. Add more ounces to your day if you experience heavy perspiration or drink diuretics like soft drinks, coffee, or non-herbal tea. Water washes out cellular waste and makes every part of the body work better.

Eat a diet that is free from chemicals such as artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. These chemicals in the diet can often cause hyperactivity in children. In adults, we usually call it stress.

Get exercise that is appropriate for your fitness level. Build up to your routine very gradually. Exercise is great, but you don’t start an exercise program by walking 10 miles the first day! If you need to, seek the advice of a professional, like a physical therapist. If you can, build up to at least 20 minutes for a minimum of four times a week. Exercise increases the circulation of oxygen and nutrients to every part of the body, including the brain. Exercise can also boost your mood and help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. An activity as simple as walking can mean a big difference in your overall health.

Eat healthy fats. Butter, for example is a much better alternative than margarine, because of the chemicals and processing. Even natural, healthy fats change their chemical structure with the heat of processing and become unhealthy fats.

Eat unprocessed foods whenever possible. The heat used during processing destroys nutrients.

Avoid caffeine. Caffeine can be very addictive. Stopping your caffeine intake cold turkey, even if you only drink 16 ounces daily, can result in severe headaches. That’s withdrawal. If you have any caffeine, it’s best to limit it to before 3 p.m. in the afternoon. If you decide to cut back or eliminate caffeine, do it gradually. If we are amped up on caffeine (or sugar), it is very difficult to find peace in our hearts and health in our bodies.

Avoid refined sugar. There are so many choices when it comes to sugar on the grocery aisle. Some are much healthier than others. Agave juice, stevia and raw honey are healthier choices. Chemical sweeteners, like aspartame, can cause anxiety, memory problems and food cravings.

Spend time in prayer and meditation daily. Recent studies at Harvard Medical School and the University of Pennsylvania have shown that prayer reduces stress, quiets the body, stimulates the brain and promotes healing.

Get 7 ½ to 8 hours of sleep per night. Getting deep, uninterrupted sleep allows our “batteries to recharge” and our bodies are allowed to heal.
Stay well.

Marty Kernion, Ph.D. is not a medical doctor. She has a doctorate in naturopathy. Naturopathy uses natural, gentle ways to bring our bodies back into balance so that they have the God-given ability to heal themselves. She is a retired professor of herbal medicine and nutrition and has written 39 college level courses in natural approaches to health. She has published two books on natural health. She can be reached on askdoctormarty@cox.net for scheduling a class or consultation, or for sending in your questions for this column.