Daily Habits That Will Make You Healthier
Amanda Page | March 19, 2014
Establishing and maintaining a healthy routine is essential to your physical and mental well being. Here are some small daily rituals that research has shown can help you have a more balanced life.
Listen to calming music
Perhaps your morning commute stresses you out. Try adding some calming music to your drive or subway ride or listen on headphones at work, if that’s an option. Several major studies have shown that listening to music can increase an immune boosting antibody and help fight germs. Also, music lowers cortisol levels, which helps reduce stress.
Take the stairs
Taking the stairs will not only get your blood flowing, it will also give you some nicely defined calves. A recent study found that making small lifestyle adjustments, such as always taking the stairs or walking small distances instead of driving, can have an effect similar to going to the gym for about 30 minutes per day.
Put food before supplements
Research suggests that people with nutrient-rich diets age more slowly and have a slower rate of cognitive decline than those not getting enough vitamins and minerals. However, the evidence suggests strongly that these nutrients should come from consumption of food instead of relying heavily on vitamins and supplements.
Set some digital reminders to take stretching breaks throughout your workday. This doesn’t need to be full-on yoga–you can simply stretch your arms towards the sky, rotate your wrists and neck or just walk down the hall and back. Reminding your body to move helps increase blood flow, causing your muscles to loosen and your brain to feel refreshed.
Slowly chew food
If you’re like many people, you rush through your meals. But eating slowly is an essential part of digestion. Chewing each mouthful 20 to 30 times will help to satiate hunger, reduce bloating and fullness and allow your body to better absorb the maximum amount of nutrients.
Start each day with a glass of hot water and the juice of half a lemon to jumpstart your digestion. Not only will this help you reach the recommended goal of eight glasses of water a day, but the lemon juice helps maximize enzyme function, which stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification.
Swap sugar for stevia
A high sugar intake is linked to heart disease, osteoporosis and depression, to name a few. Stevia is a sugarless, zero-calorie, carb-free herb that is thought to lower blood sugar levels by as much as 10 percent. So swap the sugar packet for two to four drops of stevia and try making baked goods with powdered stevia instead of sugar.
Believe it or not, your dental health reflects your overall health. A New York University study found that daily flossing actually keeps arteries healthy by limiting gum disease. Bacteria from gum disease can enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammation in the arteries – a major risk factor for heart disease.
A cup of decaf tea before bed can help stave off nighttime snacking while fighting a host of health concerns. Passionflower tea can lower anxiety, ginger tea fights inflammation, green tea has has been found to have anti-cancer properties and valerian root tea is believed to be a natural sleep aid. Find an option that works for you and commit to a nightly cup.
Get at least six hours of sleep
Sleep is the most important function when it comes to cell health. The minimum amount of sleep needed to achieve optimal cell health for adults is six hours. If you do only one thing to improve your health, make sure you get at least those six hours. Lack of sleep has been linked to everything from depression to cancer.