Following a few simple guidelines you can increase your chances of remaining healthy and enjoying a longer life. Start with small changes and gradually increase your healthy habits as your body gets healthier. As your health improves you will find you crave less junk food, and it is a lot easier and more fun to exercise.
Diet – We are definitely a product of what we eat. The challenge with today’s typical diet and lifestyle is that most people have no idea what they are actually eating. There may be a list of ingredients on the package, but how many of them can you identify? If you eat in restaurants, even if you select a dish you think is healthy you cannot know what all the ingredients are or how it was prepared. Food manufacturers and restaurants purposefully use ingredients and preparation methods to make you crave more of their product. Their goal is higher profits, not your health. Even foods marketed as healthy should be examined closely.
A nutrient dense diet is critical to long term health and wellness. Be sure to eat “whole” foods and avoid any type of eating plan that restricts or eliminates entire strains of nutrients. Fat is essential to joints, organs and muscles. Even sugar, which has such a bad reputation, is critical to a properly functioning brain. The key is the right nutrients in the right amounts at the right time.
Another essential component of a healthy diet is plenty of pure water. Your body is almost 70% water. Purifying and replenishing this element is critical to your health.
Exercise – Physical activity is essential to maintaining health. Working all day and then sitting in front of a computer or television screen all evening causes muscles to atrophy, fat to accumulate and bones to become brittle. The muscles, bones and even the internal structures of the body are made to be utilized.
The key to effective exercise is consistency. If you are just starting out, begin slowly and add more as your body becomes stronger and more flexible. As your muscles start to develop and your joints begin to limber up you will find it easier to maintain a healthy level of physical activity.
Sleep – Not getting enough sleep can do a lot more than just make you tired. Consistent, quality sleep is vital to overall health and wellness. Many studies show that lack of sleep can have serious health effects. “There’s a need to look at sleep on the same level of importance as diet and exercise. All three are equally important for good health.” Carl Hunt, M.D., director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research.
It’s important to understand the factors that can both hurt and help your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Simple behavioral and lifestyle changes can have a dramatic effect on your ability to get adequate rest. Be sure to schedule your day so that you have time to unwind before bedtime and plenty of time for sleep.
If you have had a long history of sleep deprivation you may have become so used to its effects as to not even recognize them as the effect of a lack of sleep. If you do have trouble falling asleep or if you do not feel rested after sleeping all night, there are many natural remedies that can help. Proper daily exercise is one habit that can definitely aid your sleep.
Nutritional Supplements – Supplements serve several purposes – to provide minerals and nutrients you are not getting from your diet, to eliminate toxins and purify the body, and to address specific health concerns.
No matter how nutritionally balanced your diet, the simple truth is that food no longer has the nutritional value it had 50 or 100 years ago. To get the same vitamins and minerals that one apple had 50 years ago you would need to eat 4 today. Getting all the nutrition your body requires to function properly from food means you would have to eat an excessive amount of calories. Also, some nutrients are difficult to obtain no matter what or how much you eat.
Dr Linus Pauling, twice noble prize winner, said “you can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency”.
Stress, pollution, environmental factors, processed foods, unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyles increase the level of toxins in the body. As we age we continually compound the effects of these toxins by the development of free radicals in the body. A regular regimen of detoxifying supplements can help to eliminate toxins and reduce free radical damage.
While there are some supplements that are necessary for everyone, because each persons’ genetic makeup and lifestyle is unique, only you can determine what supplements you need. There are also many supplements available to address specific health concerns. The key to effective nutritional supplementation is quality and purity. Do lots of research before taking any supplement. Find someone whose opinion you can trust and ask them lots of questions. Also, trust your own intuition. We have been conditioned to relying on a doctor’s advice and blindly take whatever is suggested. Only you know what is right for you.
Breathe – Start to lower your stress by taking time every day to consciously breathe. Take 5 to 10 slow, deep breaths, breathing from your lower abdomen. As you learn to relax and slow down your body will have time to adjust to the situation and respond appropriately.
Lowering stress is very important. As many as 90% of doctor’s visits are for symptoms that are at least partially stress-related. Chronic stress causes chemical reactions in your body that result in physical symptoms of dis-ease. These symptoms start out mild, like chronic headaches and increased susceptibility to colds and may develop into serious health problems. Your health is just as much a function of your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes as it is what you eat and how much you exercise.