Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 1st 2016 Contents A28
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, March 1, 2016
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
OPINION BY SHEIREASA NGO
Keeping your mind and body in tip-top shape is
essential for living your best life. It s difficult to
attain success when you re dragging yourself
through the day, feeling stressed out, anxious, and
generally unwell. That s why you need to make
yourself a priority.
Focusing on your wellness is not selfish, it s necessary
for you to be able to give your best self to others. The
Cheat Sheet spoke with some leading health experts
to get their advice. Here s what they said:
1. Let go of unforgiveness. Learn to forgive! At
the heart of many chronic diseases is stress. At the
heart of much stress is a lack of forgiveness. Not
being able to let go of the past produces a lot of
stress in our lives. This stress increases the incidence
of hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and more. (Dr
Chidi Ngwaba, director at the European Society of
2. Eat real food. The best health advice I ve gotten
is eat food, but not too much---mostly plants. It
comes from author Michael Pollan. I love this advice
because it s so simple and clear, yet so incredibly
effective. If this is the only eating advice you follow,
your diet will be fantastic!
3. Move. Take a walk. If you have a desk job, get
up every hour and move for at least two minutes.
While working out is great, our bodies are designed
to move throughout the day. Sitting all day, even if
you exercise, is bad for your health. Studies show
that sedentary behaviour can lead to death from car-
diovascular issues and cancer and cause chronic con-
ditions like Type 2 diabetes.
4. Get enough sleep. All-nighters or just neglecting
sleep creates havoc on your health and happiness.
(Dr Jared Heathman, psychiatrist)
5. You are in control of your health. You may
meet many professionals and hear many opinions,
but you are the only one who will have to live with
the consequences. So it is up to you to listen to the
input and decide what will serve you best. (Crystal
Johnson, registered clinical counsellor)
Early pot use may alter the physical development
of a young teen s brain. It seems to obstruct the
natural process by which the body eliminates
unneeded neurons and synaptic connections,
researchers reported in a recent study.
As a result, the brains of people who started smok-
ing pot younger than age 16 tend to have fewer surface
wrinkles and folds in the outer layer of the brain,
also known as the cerebral cortex, said study lead
author Francesca Filbey. She is chair of Behavioral
and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas
Center for Brain Health.
The cortex also tended to be thicker in these early
use teens, again suggesting that less development
had occurred, the researchers said.
However, the study cannot definitively prove a
cause-and-effect relationship. Filbey said the
researchers couldn t rule out that the differences in
brain development might drive early marijuana use,
rather than vice versa.
"It could be that perhaps having these altered brain
patterns is what led to the greater marijuana use,"
Still, the difference in brain development might
be due to marijuana s influence on dopamine levels
in the brain, which could influence how the cortex
develops, Filbey added.
The research team analysed MRI scans of 42 heavy
marijuana users, including 20 considered "early onset"
users because they started before age 16. All of the
study volunteers began using marijuana during their
teens, and continued throughout adulthood. They
all reported using pot at least once a week, the
researchers said. (www.webmd.com)
Pot habit early in
life may alter brain
6. Take preventative health measures. We can all
benefit from specific, actionable goals related to our
health and fitness. For me, it was: Be able to do 25
push-ups. I tried out for the wrestling team at age
13, never having thought about exercising before. At
try-outs, the coach said we should all be able to do
at least 25 push-ups (and a certain number of sit-
ups). I tried, and found I could do about five! Your
goal might be different. (Dr David L Katz, director,
Yale University Prevention Research Center, Griffin
walk a day
The best health advice I ever received
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