Proper Diet, Meditation and Exercise

By Sharon Smith

You already know that a healthy diet and exercise can help you lose weight, look great and reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as diabetes and high blood-pressure. It's also becoming more apparent that meditation can do wonders for your health by reducing stress. So what happens when you combine all three?

Treat Anxiety

Healthy behaviors might be just what you need if you suffer from anxiety. A 2012 metareview published in "Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine" reviewed complementary and alternative therapies and lifestyle modifications for their effectiveness and growing acceptance as an anxiety treatment. The authors found many confirming studies to show that healthy diet, physical activity and meditation are particularly promising in the treatment of several anxiety disorders, such as general anxiety, social phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Improve Brain Power

Meditation has long been praised for its positive associations with increased brain activities. Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids are associated with higher levels of brain function, and you can find both nutrients in ground flax seed, for example. Aerobic exercise increases the flow of oxygen to your brain, reducing levels of harmful oxidative stress and increasing cognitive function. Lifestyle factors, including diet and physical and mental exercises, raise the level of verbal skills and may increase cognitive abilities in older adults, according to a study review by Dr. Gary Small, M.D., director of the UCLA memory and aging research Center.

Control Hypertension

Stress, excess sodium intake and clogged arteries that are the result of eating foods high in saturated fat and living a sedentary lifestyle all contribute to high blood pressure. While you can definitely control high blood pressure with prescription medication, you can help manage the disease naturally by consuming a diet that is low in sodium and saturated fat and high in plant foods and whole grains, getting regular exercise and lowering stress levels with meditation.

Tips

Meditation doesn't have to be an elaborate practice. To gain its benefits, you may simply close your eyes and focus on breathing deeply in a quiet room for 10 to 30 minutes a day. A healthy diet includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains and has minimal amounts of processed foods. Exercise could involve any form of physical activity you do regularly, like walking at a moderate pace for at least 30 minutes daily. Always consult your doctor before beginning a diet or exercise program.

References

About the Author

Sharon Smith is a Certified Health Education Specialist and professional writer. She received a Masters of Science in public health in 2010 and minored in English communications as an undergraduate student. Her specialties include behavior change, weight management and whole health.

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