Let’s face it, nobody is perfect. Try as you may, it’s almost impossible to keep up with all of the new “good-for-you” foods, exercises, stretches, etc. that are the new “key to lasting health.” But don’t worry. Forget the fads and follow our guide to the top 7 must-haves for health and you’ll be feeling your best in no time flat.
1. Drink Water
You know the old saying, “you are what you eat?” Well you are what you drink too! Sixty percent of our body weight is comprised of water. This vital nutrient is utilized in practically every function of our body from keeping our skin young and healthy to keeping our bowls in check.
Every time you take a sip of water, you are adding fuel to keep these systems running smoothly. Replace water with another beverage and it’s like asking your body to work twice as hard on half the supply. Remember, you are what you drink and your body can’t run on food dye and aspartame.
2. Quit Sugar
Three hundred years ago the average American consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year. Today, we eat a whopping 180 pounds of sugar each year, over 30 percent of our nation, including children, are obese with another 30 percent not far behind them, and the rate of chronic diseases is escalating at outrageous proportions.
If it isn’t obvious, sugar is a major culprit in America’s failing health and it’s found everywhere. Aside from the weight factor, research has shown that fluctuating insulin levels from high sugar intake has been found to increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, acne, ovarian disorders, myopia and more. Your body gets plenty of sugar naturally from fruits and veggies so ditch the added white stuff and do your body and your waistline a favor.
3. Get Outside
It’s no secret that most Americans, including children, don’t get outdoors enough. We have become a culture obsessed with having everything at our fingertips. You can play virtual tennis right in your living room, run on a treadmill or ride a bicycle in the cold dark confines of a gym and buy everything you need right online.
But getting outdoors offers you a chance to unplug, literally from your ipad, ipod, computer, television and any other device you are hooked up to 24/7. Give your eyes a break from staring six inches in front of you, expand the rib cage that is always slumped over a desk and expose your skin to the sun for a healthy dose of Vitamin D.
One of the leading causes of most illnesses that affect Americans today is stress. Stress wreaks havoc on a myriad of bodily systems and can have a domino effect on one’s overall health. And while it’s practically impossible to eliminate stress (in fact some stress can actually be beneficial), learning a few simple meditation techniques can help combat and tame the stress that seems to overwhelm us.
In fact, meditation has been shown to improve various health conditions, such as:
- Anxiety disorders
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Sleep disorders
There are multiple meditation techniques, so experiment with a few and find the one that gives you the most inner-peace.
Thousands of years ago humans were nomadic and moved from place to place following their food supply. Fast forward to today and most Americans barely leave their seats during the course of the work day only to come home and crash in front of the television.
And while the thought of a sweat-session at the gym is daunting to most, researchers from the University of Missouri found that as little as 48 minutes of physical activity per week is enough to provide health benefits.
So what are you waiting for? Go for a walk, get up from your desk every hour, take the stairs, park farther away, perform a few exercises during commercial breaks. A mere seven minutes a day can be enough to save your life.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their lives at least a few times each month. So what happens when you are sleep deprived?
Irritability, moodiness and lack of focus are some of the first tell-tale symptoms. Next comes impaired memory, slowed speech, apathy and delayed emotional responses. Not exactly the right mindset for being productive is it? Researchers also link poor sleep patterns with immune, metabolic, cardiovascular and nervous system disorders which can lead to a host of chronic diseases.
In order to improve your sleep cycle, turn off all electronics as bedtime approaches, don’t drink alcohol or caffeine in the evening, make sure the bedroom is at a comfortable temperature – and if stress keeps you up at night, find ways to combat it with yoga or meditation exercises.
7. Eat Clean
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do for your body is to feed it well. The foods you consume are your body’s fuel. You wouldn’t put low-grade gasoline in a sports car would you? Then don’t cheat your body by feeding it junk.
Forget diet foods and chemical-laden highly processed food imposters. Your body can’t recognize or utilize lab-borne ingredients. Instead, consume a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and proteins and natural sources of sweets like raw honey when cravings strike. Remember, you are what you eat, so eat well.
-The Alternative Daily