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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | October 30th, 2016


    A few weeks ago, a friend of mine introduced me to this nursery rhyme set to the tune of “Yankee Doodle”.

     “The best six doctors anywhere

    And no one can deny it

    Are sunshine, water, rest, and air

    Exercise and diet.

    These six will gladly you attend.

    If only you are willing

    Your mind they’ll ease

    Your will they’ll mend

    And charge you not a shilling”

    -Nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields, What the River Knows, 1990

    Wow, I thought to myself, if we took advantage of these six doctors, we can make such a difference in our health.

    Sunshine: The best known benefit of sunshine is boosting the vitamin D supply in our body. Vitamin D helps regulate the calcium in our body which helps with bone health. Vitamin D also supports other functions in the body.  It is the only natural way to get Vitamin D in our body. By spending 15 minutes in the sun daily, you can get the required vitamin D. If this is not possible then you can take Vitamin D supplement. Sunshine has also been shown to help with the immune system, help with moods and may be beneficial for certain skin diseases. I know that you have heard about the association of the sun and certain skin cancers. I would say that moderation is key. You do not want to stay in the sun until you have sunburn.

    Water:  It drives me crazy when people say they hate water. Water is the most important substance on earth. Water makes up 80% of our body weight.  It regulates our body temperature. It helps remove toxins from the body by flushing the kidney and the lungs. It helps with constipation. It is valuable to the body. It helps the body absorb nutrients. The next time you are feeling thirsty, grab a glass of water.

    Rest: I have talked about this on a previous blog, WE ALL NEED OUR SLEEP.  Sleep is important for processing all that has happened in the day (good for memory), restoring and strengthening our whole body. Not getting enough sleep is associated with gaining weight, high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. The National Sleep Foundation came out with sleep duration recommendations. For example adults ages 18 – 64, should be getting 7 – 9 hours of sleep daily, those 65 years and older – 7 – 8 hours of sleep.

    Air: We all need fresh air to survive. If you find yourself mostly indoors, take time daily to get out and breathe the fresh air.

    Exercise: After last week’s blog, Exercise – The Whys, Whats, Wheres, Whos and Hows, we know that exercise is good for the body from head to toe. Try to do something daily.

    Diet: The foods we eat play a major role in our overall health. There is a big push in the Integrative Medicine world towards an anti-inflammatory diet. Inflammation has been associated with a lot of the chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, asthma, obesity to name a few. If we change our diet to an anti- inflammatory diet it may help control or even prevent some of these chronic diseases.  An anti-inflammatory diet includes eating moreFoods high in omega-3 fats (cold water fish –salmon, Spanish mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring –SMASH, ground flax seeds, walnuts), Vegetables (yellow, orange, red vegetables –peppers, carrots, beets and dark leafy greens- spinach, kale, arugula, broccoli), deep colored fruits (berries, melons, citrus fruits), whole grains (steel cut or whole rolled oats, sprouted grain breads), anti-inflammatory spices (turmeric, ginger, rosemary, oregano, cayenne)

    And Eating less – foods high in trans-and omega -6 fats (processed and red meats, dairy products, partially hydrogenated oils, corn, cottonseed, grapeseed, peanut, soy oils), Refined carbohydrates (white breads or bagels, English muffins, instant or white rice, rice and corn cereals, crackers, cookies, cakes), Sodas and juices including “diet” drinks.

    So here you have it – Access to the six of the best doctors in the world – Free of charge, No insurance required.





    1. Ernestine says:

      Wow! This is great. Plan to share is often with family and friends. Not new information but an unique presentation.

    2. Ernestine says:

      Should read: Plan to share it often…

    3. Chinwe Okpalaoka says:

      I agree that this is so simple and yet takes some discipline to practice. I need to do more of the water part myself:-)

    Leave a Reply

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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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