By Joy Kuttappan, Asst. Coordinator, AIU Church Communication

In the smartphone-frenzy world, many of us don’t have time to ponder on the saying, ‘Health is wealth.’ But taking a little time off from the ‘frenziness’ and planning the healthy matters for the new year would help us to avoid tearing our pockets to treat the maladies due to wrong lifestyle practices. As a simple solution to have the healthiest life in this New Year is to practice the tried and tested NEWSTART© formula.

Newstart is a physician monitored, scientifically researched lifestyle change program based on eight fundamental principles proven to help us achieve optimum health: Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunlight, Temperance, Air, Rest, and Trust in God. These elements are not new to us, but streamlining into our lifestyle may be a difficult task. In reality, they are possible to achieve if we are resolutely firm in this New Year to achieve the finest health.

Proper nutrition is the fundamental to good health and recovery. But, even with a plethora of proven scientific studies highlighting the benefits of proper nutrition, some of us make poor choices. As a matter of fact, most of us enjoy meat-based diet. Even in this enjoyment, we should also give importance to plant-based diet. Studies have shown that eating raw vegetables gives us the most enzymes, vitamins and minerals needed for good health. Thus, we can balance the nutrition equation for a better health.

Action is a law of life. Muscle tone and strength are lost without exertion, but exercise improves the health of body, mind, and spirit multiplying vitality and health. Exercise therapy includes outdoor exercise, treadmill evaluations and Stretchercise. Walking is the best exercise we all can try. The beautiful trails surrounding us beckon us to walk, but indoor exercise equipment is also very useful. More than that, in a paper published in Circulation, a research team describes how approximately 12 minutes of acute cardiopulmonary exercise impacted more than 80% of circulating metabolites, including pathways linked to a wide range of favorable health outcomes, thus identifying potential mechanisms that could contribute to a better understanding of cardiometabolic benefits of exercise.

If people replace just one calorie-laden drink with water, they can reduce body weight and improve overall health, according to a Virginia Tech researcher. Because the body is 70% water, keeping well hydrated and knowing what and when to drink are essential to health.
Hydrotherapy (water applied externally to the body), followed by massage, enhances the circulation and immune system in excellent ways. Also, researchers have shown that drinking 500ml of water at half an hour before eating main meals may help obese adults to lose weight. They believe that the simple intervention could be hugely useful, and be easily promoted by healthcare professionals and through public health campaigns.

The sun is the established energy source ordained by the Almighty to sustain the cycle of life for plants and animals. Abundant in Thailand and in Southeast Asia, sunlight is supremely important for the body’s metabolism and hormonal balance. Georgetown University Medical Center researchers have found that sunlight, through a mechanism separate than vitamin D production, energizes T cells that play a central role in human immunity. Their findings, published in Scientific Reports, suggest how the skin, the body’s largest organ, stays alert to the many microbes that can nest there.
Temperance is using good things moderately and avoiding the bad. It is obviously wise, yet often hard to practice. Temperance can be neither bought nor earned, but it can be practiced to gain moderation in all things. Moderation in all things is a thread woven throughout the fabric of NEWSTART. Moderation in eating, in spending, and in lifestyle practices can be achieved through temperance of the highest order.

The body’s most essential resource is air. Proper breathing and pure air are fundamental to good health than food or water. Fresh, clear mountain air surrounds the beautiful natural countryside of Thailand, and let’s enjoy that.
Unfortunately, a lot of air pollutants create a hazard to life. While looking at different air pollutants, a team led by researchers from of the University of Southern California found that long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide or fine particulate air pollution was associated with increased depressive symptoms, but with only a small effect. Results also suggested that depressive symptoms might play a role in linking long-term air pollution exposure to memory decline more than 10 years after the exposure.

Restoration requires rest because sleep allows the body to renew itself. Many types of rest are important for health, but the sweetest rest follows labor. “Early to bed and early to rise” is a vital NEWSTART principle, and a healthy lifestyle makes this principle easier to maintain.
Sleep is very important for cardiovascular health. Another research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation found that adults with the healthiest sleep patterns had a 42% lower risk of heart failure regardless of other risk factors compared to adults with unhealthy sleep patterns. Healthy sleep patterns are rising in the morning, sleeping 7-8 hours a day and having no frequent insomnia, snoring or excessive daytime sleepiness.

Trust in Divine Power
Spirituality is also directly linked to physical health. Trust in God is a gift leading to right choices. According to a new research published by the American Psychological Association, being reminded of the concept of God can decrease people’s motivation to pursue personal goals but can help them resist temptation.
(NEWSTART© is a forty-year-old initiative of the Weimar Institute based in the US, and is used with permission.)