Valuing health amid a devaluing dollar


Valuing health amid a devaluing dollar

By Warrick Lattibeaudiere

Sunday, January 19, 2020

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IF $10 million in one-dollar coins aren't on the open streets of Jamaica, then there may be none, hyperbolically speaking that is.

Regarding coins of lesser value, the Bank of Jamaica, from as early as the latter part of last year, has gone on record to urge Jamaicans to bring in red money with an estimated value of $100 million in 10 and 25 cent denominations, that the bank has deemed lost in circulation. That's red money alone, and that seems a lot.

But to this irretrievable lost treasure, add the fact that one-dollar coins, now in the mix, are fast becoming, if they have not already become so, useless in the eyes of many locals. Each day, in a walk, whether in a major or minor town or a country area I find upwards of five to 15 one-dollar coins that all seem to cry out, begging to be picked up, and accorded the life of a dollar in circulation.

Their condition, and the odd places in which they are found are astonishing. Some still boast the newly fallen shine on their faces, others maimed, unrecognisable, dirty, irretrievable in stagnant waters, tarred to become one with road surfaces, and simply pitiable and embarrassing for one to bend and pick up.

The once mighty dollar has fallen! It is now at 132 to one US, and people are casting them into the streets. But the almost silent fall of the little dollar has a clatter, far-reaching as it is tumultuous, since goods and services, including health care, are pinned to the dollar in an inverse relationship. So, as the dollar falls, prices soar, and caring for health may plunge one in a deeper spot of bother.

Apropos of health, the mantra — prevention is better than cure — should be the force that actuates human minds, the aim being to care for self so as to last longer, healthier. For, indeed, the longer and healthier you last, the greater your productive potential. In a world where prices for goods and services are getting out of hand and, to increasingly more individuals, out of reach, the most priceless things still remain the least expensive, and in some cases cost nothing at all. Consider these preventative health tips, they cost not even a dollar.

(1) “D” sun and

Just 30 minutes of sunlight furnishes the body's daily vitamin D supply, known to assist in bone formation and diminish the risks of osteoporosis and osteomalacia.

The sun's natural vitamin has shone positive light on diseases of the heart, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, depression, lupus and psoriasis, lessening the risks of contracting them. So, have some fun in the sun.

(2) Breathing a breath of fresh air

Imagine if each breath we breathe were to cost a dollar. Then the rich would struggle to live, and the poor, without struggle, would die. We can breathe a sigh of relief, though, for that's not the case; air is free, and inhaling it helps to clean and clear the lungs.

In fact, deeper and longer breaths increase oxygen flow, giving a therapeutic, calming effect as well as greater energy at the level of the cell and clarity of the mind.

(3) Suckling Mother Nature's breasts

Being among trees, as in forested areas, invigorates the body with phytoncides. These airborne chemicals trees emit to guard against insects and rot reduce stress in humans, according to the Journal of Biological Regulators & Homeostatic Agents in a 2008 research it conducted comparing walkers in the city to those in forested areas. The latter, over time, were more relaxed, happier, having lower pressure and lesser of the stress hormone, cortisol.

(4) Laughter:

And probably the best medicine too. Feeling depressed? Just try watching a few YouTube “funny videos” for 15-20 minutes and you'll be surprised how your mood improves after a good dose of laughter.

Don't take yourself too seriously, also, for nobody else does. Always look at the brighter side to a dull situation and smile at it. Find things to laugh about, and when things to laugh about find you, treasure them as gems.

(5) Sleep to repair, replenish, and rejuvenate cells

Sleep is the body's natural response mechanism to stop you from working, then it starts to work when you stop.

Few things can heal and give a newer purpose to life than having slept off an old, rugged day. In addition to a good seven to nine-hour sleep, give the nod also to a midday nap that has the power to reawaken a body fatigued with work and stress.

(6) Work up a sweat

Dancing to your favourite music, walking briskly, jogging, skipping, or mimicking an exercise programme on TV that may cause you to work up a sweat may cost you nothing.

Get an exercise partner to boost morale or inner drive, for the benefits of exercise are many and far-reaching.

(7) Stop smoking and abusing alcohol

This will, in fact, put dollars in your pocket.

These may cost just a few dollars.

(8) Water

This is life, and since our body and brain mostly comprise water (around 65 and 78 per cent, respectively) little should it surprise us the things that get thrown out of whack for failing to properly hydrate.

Seven to nine glasses throughout the day are good, and some have found amazing results by drinking one to two glasses the first thing upon rising and when going to bed.

(9) Fruits in season

Our tropical island is replete with fruits and vegetables. Instead of purchasing juices made from concentrates, concentrate on eating natural fruits, and drinking their juices.

Capitalise on fruits and vegetables, especially when in season and prices are lower. If possible, make your yard an orchard or vegetable garden. And practise, when hungry, snacking on a fruit or something natural outside of meal times.

(10) Panaceas — research them

Garlic, ginger, onion, lime, honey are superfoods and there are countless others. Give an ear to health programmes, follow the Your Health Your Wealth section in the Jamaica Observer and wait not until you are ill.

(11) Exercising

This is the body's powerhouse. In addition to physical activity, doing crossword puzzles, word scrambles, or learning a foreign language surely works to stimulate brain cells and reduces the likelihood of diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle, such as Alzheimer's.

(12) Do regular

Being proactive rather than reactive means having your fingertip on the pulse of your health. The more you know about the state of your body, the better able you are to respond.

The years 1972-1977, when the Jamaican currency surpassed its US counterpart, will never return, at least not for anytime in the foreseeable future. As the dollar pulls downward, pushing up prices, it again bears reminding that the best things in life are free and inexpensive. Use and value them. They are lifetime health investments.

The failing dollar need not mean failing health. Embrace prevention over cure, the former may be free and the latter may cost a tidy penny.

Warrick Lattibeaudiere PhD, a minister of religion for the past 22 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

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