2008: Time for Mini-Resolutions

As we approach the new year, here are ten small resolutions that will boost your health and are likely to prolong your life:

1. Have one small square of dark chocolate each day.
2. Use more garlic in your cooking.
3. Have a cup or two of green tea each day.
4. Eat more organic fruits and vegetables.
5. Walk briskly outside for 20 minutes every day.
6. Laugh more—read more jokes, watch funny movies, invite your funniest friends over for dinner.
7. Decide what the single most stressful aspect of your life is and make a project of doing something about it.
8. Start planning and saving for a vacation, even if it means putting a few coins in a jar every day.
9. Eat breakfast.
10. Vow to read labels and eat nothing containing high fructose corn syrup

Obviously, some of these are easier than others. For example, #1 is a whole lot more fun than #7. But good clinical studies have been performed on the health benefits gained from each of these.

Chocolate, garlic, and green tea are all powerful antioxidants, which block the damage caused by altered oxygen molecules called free radicals. The current theory of just why we age is that our bodies are damaged by a lifetime of exposure to free radicals.

Organic fruits and vegetables have greater nutritional content than those that are conventionally grown. They’re also free of pesticides and herbicides that probably cause more damage than the government is telling us.

A modest amount of walking has been repeatedly shown to provide great benefits for your heart, blood pressure, muscles, and bones—and also your mood.

The benefits of laughter, stress reduction, and vacations are self-evident if you’ve read The Triple Whammy Cure. Laughter, for example, boosts levels of stress-protecting feel-good serotonin (so does doing something nice for others). You know how I feel about stress reduction: it’s Job 1, as they say.

And breakfast? When a large group of 100-years-olds was questioned about their lifestyles, the factor common to them all was eating this most vital meal of the day.

Food scientists now know that our relatively recent switch from cane sugar to high fructose corn syrup is responsible for our soaring rates of obesity and diabetes. Because high fructose corn syrup is cheap to make–and because so much corn is grown for this very purpose–food manufacturers seem to add it to everything. If you’re stuck at a weight you hate, and it doesn’t budge, it’s probably the corn syrup sneaking into your life.

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