Getting and staying healthy involves much more than simply how you fuel your body. Being healthy is a complete lifestyle that includes mental health, stress levels, exercise, and more. So you’ve made the decision to focus on health and wellness, but what does that really mean? Keep reading to learn more than you ever wanted to know about the best ways to stay healthy.
You might think that eating healthy is all about restriction; after all, everyone from fitness gurus to doctors tells you that dieting is the best way to lose weight. How many times have you heard “calories in versus calories out?” What about “you bite it, you write it?” Well, it turns out that these phrases are inherently harmful. Too-strict dieting and over-exercising take the weight off fast, but you have to further restrict calories and increase exercise to maintain your target weight.
Instead of starving yourself, focus on everything in moderation. Eat lean protein with whole grains, plus ample servings of veggies and fruits. Add healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, or whole-milk yogurt to help you absorb the nutrients in those fruits and veg. And don’t be afraid to enjoy an occasional treat; depriving yourself in the name of health can lead to decidedly unhealthy behaviors like binge eating. Visit PureHealth Research and click on Healthy Living to find out more about what certain foods can do for you.
Water, Water Everywhere
You always hear that you should drink 64 oz of water a day to avoid dehydration, boost your metabolism, have clear skin, and reduce weight. But do you know why?
Our bodies are 60% water! All organ systems need water to thrive. Water helps flush toxins from your bladder, liver, and kidneys. If you wait to drink when you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Water keeps you thinking clearly. But what nobody tells you is that 20% of your water intake should come from other drinks like coffee or tea or from the food you consume. Anything cooked in water, like pasta or rice, counts towards your daily intake, and fruits and veggies like cucumber and watermelon have high water content. If you have heart or kidney problems, your doctor may put you on fluid restriction to take some of the burden off your organs, but if you’re healthy, you should go ahead and drink that 64 oz!
Movement For Life
Get moving! Everyone makes it sound so easy, and if you’re already active, it’s not that big a deal. But if you’ve been living a solitary pandemic life the last two years and the world is all a bit too much, getting out of your chair can be a real struggle. The best way to make movement a habit is by doing a little bit every day. Then do a little bit more. Put on your favorite song and dance in your kitchen while you cook. Take a walk around the block. Stretch while you watch TV.
Once you’re moving your body, think of other ways to incorporate movement into your day. If you have a sedentary job, think about getting an under-the-desk elliptical to use. Invest in a fitness tracker and make a game out of seeing how many steps you can take during a day. Exercise isn’t just good for your heart and lungs – it’s also good for your mood and attitude. But more on that below.
Rest Like It’s Your Job
Getting adequate rest every night helps your body and brain reset. Your brain processes memory and trauma during sleep. If you’re learning a new language or skill, it’s when your brain builds and strengthens new neural pathways. People who have brain injuries sleep a lot while they’re healing, and that is why.
Conversely, inadequate rest leaves you grumpy, irritable, foggy, and headachey. You might notice that being tired increases the likelihood of dropping things or being clumsy. You may feel off-kilter. Research is torn over how much sleep adults really need every night, but the general consensus is between 7 and 9 hours. So put your phone away, get comfy, and get those zzz’s! If good sleep is hard to come by, check out the Sleep Formula Natural Sleep Aid from PureHealth Research.
Stress Reduction For Busy People
We know it’s hard to reduce your stress levels. But when you’re stressed, your body both produces extra cortisol and retains it. This can put a strain on your adrenal system, alter your brain chemistry, and slow your metabolism. So try adding some structured stress relief into your day. If you’re into mindfulness, try deep breathing or meditating.
If disengaging for a few minutes is more your style, find a quiet spot where you can read, journal, or listen to music. Stress reduction looks different for everybody, so figure out what works for you. Jigsaw puzzles, knitting, painting, yoga, gardening, and even golf are just a few common stress-relieving activities you might like.
Good Day, Sunshine
Getting outside in the fresh air for 20 minutes a day can do amazing things for your mental health and mood, not to mention your physical health. Over 40% of American adults are severely deficient in Vitamin D, which is essential for absorbing and retaining calcium and phosphorus; all three chemicals are critical for building and maintaining strong teeth and bones. Vitamin D supports muscles and nerves, reduces cancer cell growth, controls infection, boosts your immune system, and reduces inflammation.
Anecdotally, vitamin D deficiency occurs partly because of safe sun precautions like sunglasses and sunscreen. More realistically, many factors contribute to deficiency. Your skin creates Vitamin D when exposed to UVB rays; the presence of UVB rays depends on where you live. Fair-skinned people make more Vitamin D than darker-skinned, and younger people absorb more than people over age 50. If you can’t get enough vitamin D naturally, you can get it from eating fatty fish like salmon or by taking supplements. But aim for 15-20 minutes of protection-free sun three times a week. Besides getting vitamin D, it will do wonders for your mood.
We know keeping healthy is easier said than done. Still, following these tips and tricks will not only make health a priority, but it will also make it a habit!
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