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By Christina Neill-Higgins
Expert Author Christina Neill-Higgins
There are, according to some highly respectable sources, 5 steps to a long and healthy life .
Exercise-walking briskly 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes is adequate, you do not have to break your neck by jogging miles or running on a treadmill. Walking up and down stairs is great exercise for the heart if you run up as it makes your heart beat faster so is a good form of aerobic exercise .
Water-1 litre of water a day really is the minimum. Why is it so necessary? Well, every cell in our bodies is made up of 70% water. Without water this means that every cell in our body will be dehydrated and have to work harder to achieve simple tasks. Drink more water and you will instantly have more energy. It also flushes toxins out via our lymphatic system. This is the system which runs alongside our blood vessels and has all the toxins and waste products passed to it from our blood which it then takes to our lungs to breathe out. This system is a little like a stagnant pool as it has no pump to push it round the body. Movement makes it work (another reason to exercise) as does drinking water .
Plain water is what our body wants. There is water in the fruit and vegetables we eat and, obviously, in tea, coffee and fizzy drinks. Unfortunately our bodies regard these as food and treat them as such. It likes water better than anything else in order to help us as described above. If we are not drinking enough it will absorb the water that is passing through our digestive system with digested food and make us more constipated. The purpose of the large intestine is to absorb water from digested food. If we are dehydrated it does not take up less water since there is not a mechanism for this. Therefore, the less we drink the harder the stool becomes and the more constipated we become .
Water is really better drunk slightly warm. Cold water has to be warmed by our body as it is a shock to the system otherwise. When we swallow the water mucous hurtles to our throat to warm it. For those of you who are prone to catarrh this will then become extra catarrh .
Wheat-give up wheat. We are not designed to digest wheat as our systems are not evolved to do so. The added bonus of giving up wheat is that because it causes us to bloat once we eliminate it from our diet we lose weight without having to do anything else. There are many alternatives to wheat these days so it is not as hard to give it up as it was a few years’ ago .
Dairy-reduce dairy products. Your liver and gall bladder will thank you for this as they have to break it down and sometimes just cannot cope, especially things like cooked cheese which is really hard for it to digest. Those of you with gallstones will improve radically if you eliminate dairy. Sinusitis and catarrh sufferers improve by cutting it out, as do asthmatics. This is because it is mucous making and those with these conditions do not need extra mucous. Sheep’s cheese is much easier to digest than cow’s cheese and there are some really good ones around these days .
Breathing-do 15 minutes deep breathing daily. Very few of us breathe properly (me being one of them). Try this technique. Lie on your back with your head on a pillow or cushion. Put one hand just below your breastbone over your stomach and the other one on your chest. Inhale through your nose so that your abdomen rises. The aim is not to raise the hand on your chest as abdominal breathing is so much better for us as it aids relaxation and also boosts our immune systems. Then exhale through your nose very slowly. As you breathe out the hand on the abdomen should move downwards. Repeat 5 times initially and then build up to at least 10 minutes daily. If you feel light-headed when doing this-which often happens initially-stop and breathe normally until you feel OK .
There you are then. You can now sit back and, if you are English, wait for your telegram from the Queen on your 100th birthday in the knowledge you will be fit enough to loop the loop when it arrives .