April 7th is World Health Day, a time to focus on your health habits and what you can do to stay looking and feeling well in the long-term.
No matter where you are at on the health and fitness scale, it’s the small steps taken daily and consistently that can make the biggest difference. Check out these seven easy habits to get you started…
1. Drink plenty of water
The human body consists of approximately 60% water, while the brain is made up of about 70% H20. When you drink enough water, it means you are hydrating every cell in your body.
Drinking at least 6 glasses of filtered water each day is highly recommended for good health. Keeping your skin moisturised, cleansing your kidneys and ridding the body of toxins allow the bowels to function properly too…allowing for easier elimination.
2. Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables
Choose to eat a variety of green vegetables to receive many healthy nutrients such as Vitamins A, C, E, and K. Green vegetables are rich in fiber and phytochemicals, providing protection from cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension. They are also powerful in preventing cell damage and decreasing cholesterol levels.
For best health, eat at least 10 servings of fruit and vegetables daily. Try adding a variety into salads, smoothies, juices, soups and stews.
3. Avoid Starchy Carbs And Grains
Starchy carbohydrates such as breads, cereals, pasta etc are all high in sugar leading to inflammation that can contribute to disease.
Grains contain gluten, lectins and phytates that can make certain minerals unavailable to the body. Grains also contribute to health problems such as leaky gut, Type 2 Diabetes, blood sugar and insulin problems that can cause you to store fat and gain weight.
4. Get Moving!
One of the best exercises to stay healthy is to walk on a daily basis. This simple yet powerful exercise can strengthen the heart, even potentially reduce your heart disease and stroke risk.
Walking briskly using long strides for at least 30 minutes a day may help you to control your blood pressure levels, according to experts. Walking is a good exercise as it’s easy to do and suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
5. Meditate To Reduce Your Stress Levels
Feelings of stress can increase cortisol levels. Training yourself to be aware of stressful experiences and increased cortisol levels can help you to learn how to observe and react to them. Meditation may help to lower levels of cortisol – even if it’s just for 5 or 10 minutes daily.
One study in particular from the Health Psychology journal showed an association between decreased levels of cortisol and increased mindfulness. Meditation for 5-10 minutes every day can manage your stress levels, reducing anxiety and depression in the process.
6. Get More Sleep
Getting enough sleep plays an essential role in your good health. Studies show that insufficient sleep can be linked with serious health problems and this includes diabetes, heart attacks, heart disease and obesity.
When you have enough sleep, it may also lower your pain threshold, so you hurt less. Sleep can promote good mental and emotional health, even support the maintenance of your weight. Other benefits of a good night’s sleep include a stronger immune system and improved memory.
7. Take A Good Probiotic
Supporting your digestive health has many benefits – not just for your gut, but for your brain health too. Studies now proclaim that the gut is the ‘second brain’ showing the two are inextricably linked.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that repopulate the digestive tract with healthy bacteria. People who experience digestive issues such as IBS may benefit from taking probiotics.
Along with boosting the immune system and warding off infections, probiotics may even help to fight off obesity.
Good sources of probiotics include kefir, sauerkraut, miso, kimchi and kombucha tea. Consider adding more of these into your diet for best health or taking a good prebiotic and probiotic supplement.
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