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Become Your Own Health Hero

Growing up in India, Partha Nandi was like any 6-year-old boy until he woke up one day and didn’t want to do anything. He had pain in his ankle and stopped playing his favorite game, cricket. Doctors were stumped. It wasn’t until his parents found a caring specialist that everything changed. Partha was diagnosed with rheumatic fever and hospitalized for 10 days.

Partha’s parents had taken decisive action and his doctor saved him from a potentially life-threatening illness. These events helped Partha find his life’s purpose: He wanted to be a health hero for others like his parents and doctor were for him.

Ask Dr. NandiToday Dr. Nandi is living that purpose. With a larger-than-life personality, Dr. Nandi is a practicing gastroenterologist and internal medicine physician with a television show, Ask Dr. Nandi, which airs internationally.
We talked with Dr. Nandi about his first book, Ask Dr. Nandi, and his mission to inspire people to take charge of their health.
Live Happy: How do you define a health hero?
It means becoming a hero of your story. What if you made your health the most important part of your life? When you have your health, you have everything.
Why do you think people take their health for granted?

Often what is going on inside your body doesn’t give you symptoms. All of us know we feel terrible due to a head cold. But when things happen that don’t give us symptoms, like hypertension, we don’t see disaster coming until it is critical.

Maybe you have a headache, maybe stress is causing cortisol levels to increase at a microscopic level so your cells are becoming damaged. The health hero learns the best route and pivots away from the extremely stressful life.

In your book, you focus on finding your purpose.

If you have purpose in your life, you can increase your life span by five years. Science shows us this is true. You have to work at finding your purpose, but everyone has the capacity. Finding your purpose has more efficacy than thousands of the medical procedures people have.

Listen to our podcast with Dr. Nandi:

Your tips combine Western and Eastern medicine.

I was raised in India where people pray and practice yoga every day. We use acupuncture and meditation. In my opinion, why not combine all the technologies and advancements with what has worked for thousands of years?

How is spirituality connected to health?

Spirituality is a cultivation of the mind, having a sense of purpose and belonging. Today there is so much social isolation. A lack of spirituality in our culture is overtaking us. When you have spirituality, your need for pain medication or blood pressure medication goes down because stress hormones are in check. Spirituality is meditation, prayer, a walk in nature, the tranquility that comes from a beautiful view. Some forms of exercise give you peace, such as yoga and tai chi. Find something that works for you.

You say people should identify their ‘Why?’ for exercise.

It’s not magic. When you have a purpose or a goal—to be the best parent, the best gardener, the best rocket scientist—then your activities are purposeful. You don’t have to make yourself lift a thousand pounds or run a thousand miles. If you love gardening, then that activity becomes a purposeful movement and you don’t have to work at it. Mind and body are connected.

You don’t seem to be a fan of diets.Dr. Partha Nandi

The word ‘diet’ should simply disappear and be replaced with the word ‘failure.’ I started a failure today. There isn’t a single diet in history that has ever worked. I call myself the un-diet doctor because it’s always lifestyle change that works. Plant-based eating can be delicious. Follow the 80/20 rule, where you make the healthy choice most of the time. You don’t have to act like it’s kryptonite to eat cake. Have the cake but don’t have it every day. Eat until you are two-thirds full.

What do you say to people who think they are too busy to exercise?

Give me five minutes and I will change your mind. Everyone has something they could give up for exercise. Here is one trick: Park far away from the gym and warm up by walking to the door. Don’t think to yourself, ‘Oh, I worked out so I’m done.’ Movement should be fluid—a part of your life. Is there any doubt why heart disease is the No. 1 killer today? People say, ‘What should we do?’ We should get up and move!

What’s the one thing you want readers to take away from your book?

Make simple changes that yield big results, transforming you and your family.

Read more: 10 Must-Read Books for Happy, Healthy Eating

Read more: Give Yourself a Mindfulness Makeover

Sandra Bilbray is a contributing editor to Live Happy and Founder and CEO of themediaconcierge.net.

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