Health and fitness are two of the most important aspects of living a good life full of vigor. When we’re feeling our best, we’re able to enjoy what we do!
Millions of people claim that they follow a healthy lifestyle, yet the rates of cancer, diabetes, disabilities, and even death are skyrocketing. Many of us have also experienced depression, anxiety, lack of focus, or other symptoms that have resulted in slowing us down and demotivating us from pushing forward. So what’s missing? Can some of these conditions be mitigated by making simple lifestyle changes?
The answer is, absolutely. By incorporating the following 6 Key Elements into our daily lives, we can help beat the rising statistics of these aforementioned diseases and feel amazing while we’re at it:
- Eating a healthy balanced diet
- Exercising regularly
- Getting adequate sleep
- Reducing/Managing stress
- Maintaining healthy dental hygiene
- Balancing hormones
Eating A Healthy Balanced Diet
A balanced diet provides the nutrients our bodies require to function effectively. Without balanced nutrients, our bodies are more susceptible to disease, infection, fatigue, poor gut microbiome, and a whole host of other maladies.
Children need an adequate supply of nutrients to grow and develop so they can perform academically in school and stay healthy while their bodies are growing.
These are the formative years for children, so it’s important for them to establish healthy eating habits that they can take into their adult lives. You may say “I really don’t eat that bad,” or “I take my gummy vitamins everyday.” While this may be the case for most of us, it’s important to ensure that our food is clean and free of pesticides, hormones and bad oils, and that our vitamins are free of added fillers.
Nutrients Needed For A Balanced Diet
A healthy, balanced diet should include a combination of:
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Healthy carbohydrates
- Clean protein
- Fats that are from healthy sources
As well as a variety of foods from these groups:
- Organic vegetables
- Organic fruits
- Whole sprouted grains
- Raw dairy
- Healthy protein
Examples of clean protein foods may include grass-fed meat, cage-free eggs, wild-caught fish, sprouted beans, raw nuts, and legumes.
For those who follow a vegan diet, this will include plant-based foods free of added fillers. You want to ensure that these foods provide the adequate nutrients needed to maintain the same daily requirements.
Foods To Avoid For A Healthier Lifestyle
Foods to avoid or for a healthy lifestyle diet include:
- Foods that are processed
- All refined grains
- Sugar and salt (except pink salt)
- Processed meat
- All trans fats
Why Do I Need To Exercise Regularly?
Staying physically active is one of the most effective ways to keep our bodies healthy. For some of us, this is our least favorite topic. We totally get it. But trust us when we say that consistency in this area is a key component to changing the game in so many areas of our lives. Of course looking our best always feels great, but there are so many other benefits to staying physically healthy that we’ve broken down below.
Regular physical activity can help to relieve stress, depression, anxiety, and frustration in your life and lets face it…who would say no to that? Exercise gives you that “feel-good mood” after a great sweat session because your body is releasing endorphins, therefore, triggering positive feelings. Many people report that they feel better over a period of time as regular exercise becomes a routine in their life.
Without a routine of regular exercise, your body slowly loses its ability to maintain its strength and stamina to function optimally. Physical activity increases muscle strength and toning, which helps to increase your stamina and ability to enjoy other physical activities.
Fewer Doctor Visits
How often do we ourselves say, or hear others say “Gosh I really should see a chiropractor?” Prolonged sitting at the computer all day and other sedentary habits can increase the risk of developing back and neck problems, alongside other chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other metabolic diseases. However, regular physical exercise can significantly help reduce our risk of developing such issues and increase our risk of maintaining and preventing the below:
- Better blood pressure
- Good cholesterol levels
- Better circulation
- Weight gain
- Osteoporosis and bone loss
When combined, these benefits can add up to fewer medical expenses and less medication in your golden years later in life!
Studies show that those who maintain physically active lifestyles live about seven years longer on average than those who lead sedentary lifestyles and are obese. Staying active may help to delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases as we age, and preventing these can assist with our overall quality of life and prolonged independence with age.
We probably don’t need to tell you about all of the challenges that can stem from lack of a good night’s sleep since many, if not all of us, have experienced these all too often. These can become problematic and actually have a huge impact on our health in the long run. Experts say you should try to aim to get at least seven to eight hours of good quality sleep a night, which sounds great in theory but HOW do we achieve that? One of the ways is through physical exercise. Alongside the many other benefits mentioned previously, physical exercise also tires out the body and regulates sleep patterns, therefore, leading to greater productivity and energy overall. We dive into the benefits of a good night’s rest a bit further below.
Benefits Of A Good Night’s Rest
1. Immune System
When your body gets adequate sleep, your immune cells and proteins are able to fight off whatever comes their way, such as infections and colds.
2. Weight Gain Prevention
Achieving those eight full hours of sleep alone isn’t going to result in shedding pounds, however, it will certainly assist your body with refraining from holding on to excess weight. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite. Your body also begins to decrease the production of leptin, a hormone that signals you that you’re full. When working together, these two result in a perfect storm for problematic late-night snacking habits.
Additionally, lack of adequate sleep leads to stress on the body, resulting in a lack of energy to fight off added stress and the junk food cravings that often accompany this feeling.
3. Heart Health
Lack of sleep can also lead to heart health issues such as high blood pressure or heart attacks. The reason for this is because lack of sleep can cause your body to release cortisol, a stress hormone that triggers your heart to work harder. Both the heart and the immune system require rest to function properly.
4. Sleep-Mood Connection
When we sleep well, most often we wake up feeling well-rested with our energy batteries fully charged. When our energy levels are up, life is good and the little things don’t annoy us as much!
Good quality sleep has been linked to improved concentration and higher cognitive function, which can lead to greater success at work, school or when performing everyday tasks. I think we can all attest to the lack of interest we experience in performing everyday tasks when all we can focus on is how tired we are. That’s okay though because we have our trusty pot of coffee or energy drink by our side, right? Sadly, that pot of coffee or energy drink won’t be able to fix the underlying issues that can result from lack of adequate sleep like we wish it could. That afternoon cup of coffee may also turn into 2 or 3 cups with an inevitable crash creeping up on us, and could set us up for another caffeinated sleepless night. Talk about a counterproductive, never-ending cycle.
Greater concentration, combined with high energy levels and a healthy immune system from restful nights of sleep prevent counter-productivity and increase our ability to make fewer mistakes throughout the day. Our bosses and teachers will love us that much more!
6. Sleep Deprivation Dangers
When lacking an adequate number of hours of sleep per night, our reflexes slow down and we are twice as likely to get into a car accident according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. When we experience fatigue, our brain function and our reaction time are both negatively impacted. This can be dangerous for both ourselves and those around us in certain circumstances.
7. Exercise Performance
Adequate sleep positively impacts exercise performance because rest provides natural fuel for our bodies. Better sleep means better hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and muscle recovery from exercise and injury. Lack of sleep, in combination with high doses of caffeine and stress can result in stressed adrenals and low fuel for exercise.
Although the body may sleep, the mind does not. When we sleep, our minds are actually still processing and consolidating memories from the day. Adequate sleep may help us process those memories with less stress and result in a better recollection of them.
The bottom line: Sleep is good!!!
The recommended amount of sleep is a good seven to eight hours of good quality zzz’s a night, which as we’ve discussed, has been linked to a healthy overall lifestyle.
Stress is a part of life and unfortunately, here to stay! It shows up in all aspects of our life, however, this isn’t always a bad thing. Stress can be here as a motivator for hard work and can be give us a good adrenaline rush during exciting moments in our life. Let’s face it…life wouldn’t be the same without a little stress. Stress can have benefits and even be good for us, particularly if it isn’t dosed at overwhelming levels. And, just as stress comes from many areas of life, effective healthy stress management comes from managing stress on many different levels. Changing our thinking patterns is one way to help manage inbound negative stress. When we change our thinking patterns, we get in the habit of viewing our circumstances more positively and can reduce the amount of negative stress placed on our bodies. This can lead to increased glutathione production in the body which is vital for the immune system’s proper functioning. Try turning dread into motivation and see how this impacts your health over time!
Part of a healthy stress relief plan also involves finding ways to calm down quickly so we can more effectively manage stress as it comes, while not allowing the negative effects of chronic stress to become your lifestyle routine.
Another important way to relieve stress is to incorporate healthy lifestyle practices.
Maintaining a Balanced Lifestyle
Learning to live a healthy lifestyle often brings additional benefits too, such as learning to release frustration, or diminish anxiety. Many of the healthy lifestyle suggestions mentioned in this blog can also help you to become less reactive to stress, in the long run, providing a safeguard against stress or preparing you for the stress you haven’t even experienced.
Maintaining healthy habits can be a bit more challenging than trying a stress relief method only once or twice. However, the benefits you receive from maintaining a healthy lifestyle are more than worth the effort it takes to maintain it. The benefits received, as well as the reduction in stress, will make you wish you’d been quicker to make these changes sooner.
Healthy lifestyle habits can help you better manage your stress response, helping you to avoid or even reverse the damaging effects of long-term stress. Such effects may include digestive issues from an unhealthy microbiome, leading to chronic diseases.
Did you know that your oral health offers insights into your overall health? Problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body in a myriad of ways. Poor oral health is often linked to diseases such as endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy and birth complications, pneumonia, diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and many others. Tooth decay, amalgams and gum disease can all lead to chronic health challenges. Empower and protect yourself by learning more about the connection between your oral mouth health and overall health.
Like other areas of the body, your mouth is a holding vessel for bacteria — mostly harmless. Keep in mind, your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, and if left unchecked some of these bacteria can cause diseases.
Our bodies are designed to keep bacteria under control via natural defenses, however, because our bodies are constantly bombarded with environmental toxins, this can only be accomplished in tandem with good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing. However, most people neglect the importance of proper oral hygiene, and bacteria, if left unchecked can reach levels that might contribute to the aforementioned diseases.
Practice good oral hygiene daily by:
- Brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush twice per day
- Flossing daily
- Using a natural mouthwash
- Maintaining a healthy diet – limit sugary food and drinks
- Replacing your toothbrush every 3 months
- Keeping regular dental checkups and cleanings
- Avoiding tobacco use
- Using natural teeth whitening methods versus chemically formulated alternatives
Oral health is absolutely worth the investment for maintaining overall health, so be sure to prioritize is as much as possible!
Did you know your menstrual cycle can tell a lot about your health? Regular periods are periods between puberty and menopause. These cycles mean your body is working normally as it was designed to. Period problems such as irregular, painful, or different colored periods may be a sign of a serious health problem, so be sure to notify your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.
Period problems, such as lack of periods, may also lead to other health problems, including problems getting pregnant. As your body transitions into menopause, your changing hormone levels may increase or decrease your risk for chronic diseases, so be sure to monitor your body and stay connected with your doctor as you transition into peri-menopause or menopause.