The Magic Pill

By Amirhossein Jaberi

Illustration by: Amirhossein Jaberi
Illustration Credit: Amirhossein Jaberi

What if I told you I had a pill that could make you healthier, less stressed, happier, smarter, more confident and make you live longer? How much would you pay for this pill? What if I told you that this “pill” is actually free and available to almost everyone? Okay, I know that a pill cannot simply make these promises, but two simple things could; exercise and healthy food! According to the National Institute of Health, Americans spend more than 43 billion dollars on cosmetic surgeries and dietary supplements. This is more than the total yearly budget of countries such as Croatia and Nigeria combined! According to Penn State university, Americans spend an average of less than two hours per week exercising and more than 117 billion dollars on fast food. With these statistics, it is not surprising to have 29 million Americans suffering from diabetes, 61 million from hypertension and more than half a million deaths caused by heart disease each year. Many of these deaths and diseases may be preventable if we make conscious choices about our daily lifestyles. We go through painful procedures such as Botox and facelifts, and experiment with various dietary supplements in order to feel younger, happier and healthier, but according to a health report published by Harvard Medical School, exercising alone can reduce depression and make individuals happier. In fact, the report found that “walking fast for about 35 minutes a day, five times a week or 60 minutes a day, three times a week had a significant influence on mild to moderate depression symptoms.” As we get closer to finals, many students find it difficult to concentrate and study. By embracing healthy lifestyles, students will be able to perform much better in their studies and daily lives. Here are four things you may be able to do to become happier, healthier, and to focus better in school and daily activities: GET 7 TO 8 HOURS OF SLEEP. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, “Sleep deprivation affects the immune system in detrimental ways. Sleep appears necessary for our nervous systems to work properly. Too little sleep leaves us drowsy and unable to concentrate the next day, and if sleep deprivation continues, hallucinations and mood swings may develop. Sleep also may give the brain a chance to exercise important neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate from lack of activity.” DRINK ENOUGH WATER. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Every system in your body depends on water. It flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy, make you tired and cause headaches. If you are concerned about your fluid intake or have health issues, please check with your doctor or a registered dietitian. He or she can help you determine the amount of water that is right for you.” EXERCISE TO BOOST YOUR MEMORY. According to Harvard Medical School, “Studies have suggested that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory (the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) have greater volume in people who exercise versus people who don’t. Even more exciting is the finding that engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of those brain regions” CURB YOUR CAFFEINE HABITS. According to Brown University Health Services, “Caffeine prompts the body to lose water through urination. This can lead to dehydration and may result in headaches and fatigue later in the day. In fact, it is suggested that you drink eight ounces of water for every cup of coffee you consume. Caffeine can cause you to feel jittery, skittish, restless, excitable or anxious. It can temporarily speed the heart rate. If you’re feeling stressed out, then a cup of coffee can exacerbate, rather than help this feeling. Too much caffeine can hurt a person’s ability to concentrate, making it difficult to study.”

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