Make 2020 the year of taking charge of both your physical and mental health.
Happy new year to our readers. We hope this next year is your best one yet!
1. Run a race.
If you've always wanted to try running in a race, make this your year. Whether you want to go for a 5k, 10k, half or full marathon, sports medicine specialist and avid runner Dr. Brian Kim shares his tips for safe training.
Then, register to participate in the Anti-Cancer Challenge, which is taking place on June 6, 2020. You'll have the option to run in a 5k or 10k while helping us find a cure for cancer!
2. Try some new foods.
Eating healthy doesn't have to be boring. Keep it interesting by adding a variety of healthy vegetables, fruits and grains to your diet. Don't be afraid to experiment.
Try delicata squash, which takes a smooth and slightly sweet taste when it's roasted. It also happens to have a whopping 500mg of potassium, which can help control your blood pressure.
Or try quinoa, a versatile grain that contains all nine essential amino acids. It works for breakfast, lunch, dinner...and even dessert.
3. Help a caregiver.
Caregiving for a loved one is a tough experience that often leaves little time for anything else.
If you know someone caring for someone, offer to help. Some things you can do include:
- Drive the patient to appointments
- Do a load of laundry
- Shop for groceries
- Help clean around the house
4. Learn how to save lives.
Uncontrolled bleeding is a leading cause of death in traumas such as industrial accidents, traffic accidents, falls and mass shootings. Someone with an arterial wound can bleed out in just three minutes.
Learn to stabilize a bleeding person until they can get medical attention in a Stop the Bleed class. Locate a class near you at stopthebleed.org.
5. Make your screening appointments.
Regular health screenings can help you identify and fix problems early, or even avoid them entirely. Don't put them off!
6. Find peace of mind.
Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. Stay on top of mental wellness by doing a self-check for anxiety or depression.
If you're struggling:
7. Get better sleep.
Sleep deprivation is a major problem in the United States. Busy jobs, various responsibilities and stress all work together to erode our sleep quality, which leaves us at risk for:
To improve your sleep hygiene:
- Leave your phone out of the bedroom
- Avoid naps
- Keep a regular schedule — even on weekends
- Limit stimulants, especially in the evening
If you do all that and are still struggling, you may have insomnia and a sleep study might be necessary.
8. Create a sun protection arsenal.
By now, everyone knows that sunscreen is necessary for the prevention of skin cancer. But that's just the beginning.
For effective protection from the sun:
9. Get more vitamin D.
Despite the seemingly never-ending sunshine in California, many people have low levels of vitamin D, or the "sunshine vitamin." It's a worldwide problem, in fact: More than 1 billion people are estimated to be deficient.
This is a problem because the vitamin is so crucial:
- The liver and kidneys convert it into a hormone that is vital for brain function and bone-building.
- It increases the absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphate.
- It may also have a link to the incidence of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease and depression
Get more vitamin D in your diet by eating more fatty fish, beef liver, mushrooms, egg yolks and cheese. We've rounded up some of our high-vitamin D recipes to make it a cinch.
10. Try eating less meat.
It's easier than ever to find vegan and vegetarian menu items at your favorite restaurants, and the internet is full of nutritious and delicious plant-based recipes. Why not ditch the meat once or twice a week?
"There is a lot of evidence that a plant-based diet has major health benefits for all chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even cancer prevention," says UCI Health cardiologist Dr. Shaista Malik.
If you're not sure where to start when it comes to eating vegetarian, here are some tips from Sherry Schulman, a UCI Health registered dietitian at the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute.