This is the Year of the Rooster, but what does that mean for people who want to get into the spirit? In East Asia, chickens are traditionally regarded as auspicious birds that dispel evil energy, and adopting some of their qualities may help ensure good health throughout 2017.
◆ Go to Bed with the Chickens
Roosters start their day at 4 or 5 a.m. but become less mobile at night as they are sensitive to light. A regular sleeping cycle is also a good way for people to stay healthy.
Growth hormone is released between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. and sleep-inducing melatonin peaks from 10 p.m. Staying up late at night for a prolonged period of time lessens the amount of melatonin naturally released by the body, leading to insomnia.
◆ Take Care of Children
Chickens are seen as good mothers. To keep the eggs warm, they sacrifice themselves by plucking out the feathers on their chest, staying still for over 20 days while incubating the eggs, and surviving on little food.
When parents take care of their children, the body releases oxytocin, which helps ease stress, anxiety and even pain. According to a study issued in a U.S. psychology journal in 2007, when a mother sings, feeds or bathes her baby, the oxytocin level increases.
◆ Eat a Balanced Diet.
Chickens are omnivores and people too need a balanced diet to stay healthy. Eating only delicious foods doesn't necessary ensure good health. What is important is balance.
◆ Move Around
Roosters are busy running about, and for people too, exercise is essential for good health. You don't need to be a workout junkie, but moderate exercise is vital to improve health.
According to a Japanese study, when people do household chores they walk up to 4,000 steps a day. Walking 4,000 steps a day reduces the risk of depression, 6,000 steps dementia, and 8,000 steps cardiovascular diseases. Take a bus or subway instead of driving a car so you get to walk to and from the station, and take the stairs instead of the elevator.
◆ Drink a Lot of Water
Chickens drink a lot of water. Water plays a crucial role, controlling body temperature, delivering nutrients to organs and providing oxygen to cells.
Research has found that drinking the right amount of water can reduce blood sugar and the risk of cancer and kidney stones. The World Health Organization recommends drinking 1.5-2 liters of water a day.