What You Do Counts!
These 10 EVERY day quickies for health can make a difference in your life - who you ultimately become or what you end up doing.
Every step contributes to that.
It's the same with our health. We make choices every day about what we eat or do that adds to or detracts from optimum health.
Unfortunately, some of what we do is unconscious.
Have you ever eaten something you didn't intend and afterward thought, "What was I thinking? I didn't want that."
I have trouble resisting chocolate or having a second or third helping. That's not all -- even though I study nutrition and know better.
Our brains are quirky that way, because of ancient desires to gain the most... the most calories, usually. And, so, what you do every day needs your CONSCIOUS input. Boy, do I need that reminder. Maybe you do, too.
Here are 10 quick things... 5 that you can consciously DO and 5 you should NOT DO every day to contribute to optimum health. You'll worry less and be happier.
And, just maybe they'll become a habit. Make a reminder note, buy ingredients, set a time. Follow through is the key!
Do you have daily habits that are promoting health? Let me know what works for you in the comments.
Be proactive today!
Do's & Dont's to Promote Optimum Health
1. Do eat ground flax seeds, oatmeal, and berries:
This is just the beginning of a health-promoting, anti-disease foods you can eat, but if you eat berries, ground flax seeds and oatmeal every day you're promoting health like a boss! All three of these can easily be incorporated into your breakfast with a smoothie or as muesli or cooked oats.
Each one is a powerhouse in itself.
• FLAX adds fiber, feeds your gut bacteria, helps prevent breast and prostate cancer and more.
• OATMEAL is soluble fiber. Good for your cholesterol and anti-inflammatory, too.
• BERRIES are full of antioxidants and helpful for preventing chronic disease. Boy, what powerhouses!
Try this Heart Healthy Smoothie and see what I mean..
2. Do drink green tea:
Although there has been confusion in the past, the scientific evidence for the benefit of drinking green tea is solid. Studies show that it's one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. Antibacterial, anti-cancer, and more. Brew a quart, chill, and drink it all day.
3. Do meditate for at least 10 minutes:
Meditation reduces the size of the amygdala (a little organ in your brain) which is where the "fight or flight" center is located.
Daily meditation for as little as 10 minutes can make a big difference. Less stress, improved creativity, a boost to your immune system. Check out your phone for meditation apps or just sit quietly, eyes closed, and concentrate on your breathing.
Don't leave this off your list.
4. Do get morning sun:
Show some skin. Not only do you get your daily dose of vitamin D with 20 minutes of skin exposure, you also set your circadian rhythm which helps you get a good night’s sleep.
We didn't evolve with electric lights and our bodies respond to the rhythms of light and dark. That’s why it’s important to keep the glaring blue electronic light at a minimum in the evening where it’s more likely to disrupt this rhythm.
The recent iPhone update includes a feature that makes the screen a warmish glow at night instead of blue. Turn it on in "settings." And, there's also a FREE desktop app called Flux.
5. Do feed Your Gut Bacteria:
Your morning oatmeal helps, but also eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains which all contain soluble and insoluble fiber because your gut bacteria love this and will give you better health as a result.
In fact, there is some thought that this is why some populations of people are so long lived. It’s easy to do if you’re eating a plant-based diet and incorporating these foods into your diet every day.
6. Don't take large doses of antioxidants:
Once thought to be the antidote to stressful insults on our bodies, antioxidants, in the form of supplements, have fallen out of favor in recent years. In fact, they have actually proven, in some cases, to have the opposite effect.
The upshot is that antioxidants from whole foods are the ticket when it comes to protection from free radicals and other stressors that bombard us on a daily basis.
The only supplements that you need are, in some cases is Vitamin D, especially if you live in a northern climate or have little daily sun. And Vitamin B12 if you are a vegan since it is the one vitamin that a vegan diet does not supply.
7. Don't sit for long periods:
Even a daily vigorous workout at the gym is not enough to overcome the dangers of sitting the rest of the day. Set your phone alarm and get up every 20-30 minutes.
Then, stand for at least two minutes and move around for 8 according to Alan Hedge, Professor of ergonomics at Cornell University. If you have a standing desk or treadmill, even better. Jumping jacks here I come!
8. Don't eat junk food:
OK, yes, we know this is a bad thing, but junk food can be oh so tempting.
Some “healthy” fast food is anything but healthy if it contains large amounts of sugar, fat or salt. Just set a bright line for yourself and say that junk food is NOT ALLOWED in your diet.
You are more likely to follow through with your health goals if you set this rule. If you don’t, you’ll struggle with the little devil on your shoulder who like to argue with you.
“But, you deserve this, you just…..” OR “I’ll only do this one time.” OR “I haven’t been bad in a while.” It becomes a struggle when you haven’t set a rule.
Instead, find alternatives that you truly love and keep them on hand for when cravings descend, as they always do. Let me hear you say it, “No junk food. Period.”
9. Don't eat too often:
Eating 3-4 meals a day or even more is sometimes promoted as a boost to metabolism, but constant eating is stressful to your system because digestion is hard work.
Who made up this rule that we need at least 3 meals a day, anyway? Eating more usually means more calories and potentially more weight for you.
Instead, give your gut a break like our ancestors did because they didn't have access to food like we to today. When you give digestion a break, you allow your system to heal and cleanse. And, intermittent fasting actually has many benefits. Read my article here to learn more.
10. Don't miss an opportunity for a hug:
Hug your dog, hug your spouse or hug anyone you're close to because hugging has multiple benefits and is so easy to do. Hugs lower blood pressure and reduce stress, are good for your heart, and can even keep you well.
You may have heard of oxytocin and that's just what's release in both of you when you experience a hug. Oxytocin makes us feel connected to people and good around them.
Be sure to get your hugs every day.
I hope you make space for these do's and don'ts in your life because they'll all add up to a healthier you.
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