Healthy habits for healthier expats

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The next time you see a one-baht coin on the ground and you think to yourself that it is not worth the effort to bend down to pick it up, make the effort! It will make you healthier. That was one of the messages from PCEC member Roger Fox when he spoke at the Sunday, March 23 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club on the topic of “Healthy Habits for Healthier Expats.”

Roger is a retired Army Helicopter Instructor Pilot. He holds a Bachelors degree in Aeronautics and a Masters degree in Theology. He has taught school to various ages in a variety of venues including the Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course here in Pattaya. He is a father of four and a gramps of nine.

Member Roger Fox spoke at the Sunday, March 23 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club, on the topic of “Healthy Habits for Healthier Expats.”Member Roger Fox spoke at the Sunday, March 23 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club, on the topic of “Healthy Habits for Healthier Expats.”

Life expectancy today for the average American male is 78 years of age Roger said; but since he had already reached 70, his life expectancy today is projected to 83. “Whichever way you look at it, 90% of my life is history,” he said. “So naturally I am eager that for my remaining years I should remain as healthy as possible.”

Roger pointed out that the information he was presenting is what he thinks people need to do to be healthy. He emphasised that he was not a doctor and was not prescribing anything. He encouraged people to do their own research. He explained that he personally is a reluctant visitor to a doctor’s office or hospital, and that he distrusts most manufactured drugs. Roger said that the best defence against sickness is a healthy body. In his talk, Roger identified and described six habits to better health.

The first is to drink lots of water as it is even more important than food. Roger further said a person can live 30 days without food, but only seven days without water. Also, it is estimated that 50% of the world population is dehydrated (for Americans it is 75%) and that dehydration is the leading cause of daytime fatigue. Roger said that water is the best liquid because other liquids can be diuretic (i.e. can increase the amount of urine you excrete). He then described the benefits to the body of drinking water.

How much water or other liquids do we need to consume each day? The (U.S.) Institute of Medicine says that men need 3.0 litres (about 13 cups) a day, and women 2.2 litres (about 9 cups). Consuming that much water (or other beverages) every day is not as easy as it sounds, Roger said. He suggested that people drink some water when they get up and then make a habit of sipping water throughout the day. One way to do this is carry a water bottle with you wherever you go.

The second healthy habit is to eat lots of fruit because it is generally high in fibre, provides enzymes lacking in other foods, lowers cholesterol levels and precludes you from eating unhealthy sweets. Further, fruit should be eaten at the beginning of a meal rather than at the end. The natural sugars in fruits are preferable to refined sugar, he added.

Former PCEC Chair Richard Smith advises members & guests of upcoming activities, including the Smartphone groups and the Volunteer English Teaching for Government & Tourism workers.Former PCEC Chair Richard Smith advises members & guests of upcoming activities, including the Smartphone groups and the Volunteer English Teaching for Government & Tourism workers.

The third is to physically move around on a daily basis. Being physically active can help you live longer, feel better about yourself, sleep well at night, and move around more easily. People who are not physically active are more likely to get heart disease, have a stroke, get type 2 diabetes, have high blood pressure and have high cholesterol.

The fourth is to rest often and when your body says it needs it. Getting enough rest is essential, Roger said. It gives the body time to make repairs and clean itself out. It allows organs to rest. It triggers hormone production and bolsters the immune system. Also, it is important to develop good sleep habits, including sleeping or napping when your body is telling you that’s what it needs.

Fifth on his list of healthy habits is to replenish lost natural oils, minerals, and enzymes. Roger said that there are some minerals, oils and enzymes that your body runs out of and that need to be replenished. He mentioned that flax seeds and flaxseed oil are particularly beneficial because they improve digestive and joint health, promote weight loss and are rich in antioxidants. He also recommended virgin coconut oil which has a number of health benefits, including strengthening hair, promoting weight loss and improving diabetes. Further, unrefined sea salt is much healthier than the refined salt most of us eat; it helps regulate heartbeats, boosts one’s immune system and minimises the effects of stress. Finally, Roger suggested that sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) can help counteract the acidity in your body.

The sixth healthy habit is to minimise use of manufactured drugs, alcohol, refined sugars or processed foods.  Roger said that people should reduce the intake of things that are “not their friends” such as excessive use of man-made drugs, alcohol and other intoxicants. He said that, wherever possible, natural solutions were preferable to drugs and hospitals. In regard to avoiding hospitals, Roger pointed out that it is estimated that each year in the USA there are 1.7 million people that become infected with something they encounter while staying in a hospital.

After Roger concluded his presentation, Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and called on Roy Albiston to conduct the always interesting and informative Open Forum where questions about Expat living in Thailand are asked and answered.

For more information about the Pattaya City Expats Club, visit their website at www.pcecclub.org. (Photos by Urasin Khantaraphan)