We all have to embark on our own journeys towards optimal wellness. And, it seems everyone has some strong opinions about the best ways to get there. However, there are some healthy habits that just can't be denied. Below are eight. If you're not already, consider incorporating these into your daily routine to help you on your path to health and happiness.
1. Limit or eliminate processed foods, simple sugars, and simple carbs.
As much as we hate to hear this, processed foods like cookies, cake, candy, juices, alcohol, pasta and most breads may do more harm to our bodies than good. We're talking about issues like leaky gut, increased insulin levels and free radicals that attack healthy cells. So, try to eliminate these from your diet as much as possible.
2. Stay away from certain fats.
Not all fats are created equal. While olive oil and coconut oil have some health-promoting properties, some fats have the opposite effect. These include trans-fats, such as margarine, vegetable shortening, or anything with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
3. Drink plenty of water.
We hear this all the time, but how much is really enough? You may not know this but you were born with an indicator for this. Check the color of your urine. If it's clear, you are drinking enough. If it's yellow, drink more. But don't go overboard. Drinking too much water can disrupt the body's electrolyte balance and result in water intoxication. So if you need a super-specific suggestion, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake (which includes fluids from water, other beverages and even food) is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
4. Get Omega-3 fatty acids into your regular diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential, meaning you have to get them from foods like salmon, mackerel, tuna, anchovies, and sardines or from quality supplements. Omega-3s support cardiovascular health, healthy brain function and cognitive function. Somes say this essential fatty acid can help keep your skin looking youthful while giving your hair a natural shine.
5. Get enough Vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin that provides support for immune and bone health. Scientific evidence shows that low Vitamin D levels are associated with a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke and some cancers. Research also shows that many Americans are Vitamin-D deficient. If you can't get outside for a healthy dose of Vitamin D, you can supplement with it and choose foods like egg yolks, red meat, liver, and mushrooms.
6. Be active.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, current recommendations for substantial health benefits for adults are "to do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits." Staying active can help improve balance, mood and cognition while decreasing your risk of osteoporosis. Regular activity also decreases the trend toward muscle loss as we age.
7. Combat stress.
Chronic stress can be a killer. It can cause premature aging and disease, so it's imperative that you engage in stress-reduction techniques as often as you can. These may include meditation, stretching, yoga, exercise, sleep and journaling. Certain supplements may help with occasional stress.
8. Sleep more!
It can't be stressed enough. Sleep is vital for optimal health. We all need 7-8 hours of sleep nightly. Sleeping is your body’s time to repair itself and clear the deck emotionally so you can be your best every day.