There are numerous old adages that express just how important health is, and how it gives us a sense of wealth, freedom, and inner joy that very few other things in life compare to. Unfortunately, our health is often taken for granted, and only until challenges or series issues arise do people begin to consider how they’eve been nourishing themselves.
There are many factors that contribute to poor health in a person’s life, and those factors provide numerous opportunities to improve and maintain good health. These include diet, exercise, lifestyle, stress, exposure to toxins, and mental attitude. Though it’s good to know which things impact health, it’s far more motivating to understand why and how these influences work with or against our well being. Here are some of the main health busters, and how making changes will lead to big benefits:
What we put in our body has the largest, most direct impact on our health. Unfortunately, the standard American diet is full of ingredients that are detrimental to health, such as saturated fats, partially-hydrogenated oils, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods. By reducing our intake of these harmful foods and replacing them with cleaner wholefoods, you can begin reaping these benefits:
If you fuel your body with refined carbs, sugars, and highly processed foods, then chances are you’re often struggling with that sluggish feeling throughout the day. Wholesome, nutrient-dense foods such as nuts, super fruits, and dark leafy greens provide clean energy without a crash afterwards.
With diet, the focus tends to be on weight-management and energy, but food also has a considerable affect on mood. While some foods, like bananas or chocolate, are known to be mood boosters, other foods such as caffeine or too much sugar are known to cause mood swings in some people.
There is a huge market for anti-aging products, but no matter what pills or topical products you use, they’ll make little difference if you aren’t drinking enough water and eating nutrient and antioxidant rich foods. What you put inside is what is mostly responsible for radiant and youthful skin.
The Bottom Line:
If you have diet goals, you needn’t make it complicated by adopting specialized or trend diets – the most important thing is to understand each foods’ effect on the body. You’ll be much more motivated to eat vegetables and avoid fast food or snow cones when you remember the unique ways these foods benefit or damage your health.
Lack of Exercise
Like a car that’s been left sitting too long, a body without exercise will begin to decline in vigor and effectiveness from neglect. Being told “exercise is good for you” isn’t nearly as convincing as understanding the reasons why, so here are some ways you can improve your health through exercise:
-Prevent Disease and Health Conditions
Common issues such as high blood pressure, obesity, or heart disease can be helped through moderate exercise. By being active, it’ll boost high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides in the body as well as risk of injury.
Even just a brisk 30 minute walk can do wonders to reduce stress or make you feel more relaxed. Even more so than food, exercise releases feel-good chemicals in the brain such as endorphin. So, not only will exercise improve your mood as you’re doing it, but the long-term benefits such as being in better shape will give your self-esteem a boost as well.
-Boost Metabolism and Energy
Exercise helps increase blood and oxygen flow throughout the body, which will help give you an energy boost. Also, because muscle burns more calories than fat, a lean body will help increase your overall metabolism.
The Bottom Line:
Grab your athletic gear and make your exercise routine fun! If you think sufficient exercise only means a gym membership or CrossFit program, then that’s far from the truth. You can do dancing, walking, yoga, gardening, or anything that gets your heart rate going.
Exposure To Toxins
Environmental toxins are all around us in the form of pollutants and chemicals, so the least we can do is not put them directly into our bodies in the form of alcohol or cigarettes. Alcohol wreaks havoc on health by not only taxing the liver and other organs, but also increasing blood pressure and causing dehydration. Drinking and smoking habitually also means paying a steep price for health insurance, not to mention your premiums as well. Here are some ways that detoxing will benefit your health:
If you have irritated skin, puffy eyes, or notice more inflammation than usual, these can be signs of toxin built up. The skin is the largest organ of the body and a great indicator of how many toxins our body has stored up. By drinking more water and detoxing, one of the first things you’ll notice is how your skin will improve.
-Increases Immune System
Detoxing helps improve organ efficiency and nutrient absorption, which gives your body a better chance at fighting viruses and recovering more quickly.
The Bottom Line:
Consider doing a weekly or monthly detox and nixing bad habits that contribute to your body’s toxin intake. By replacing caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and refined carbs with fruit, vegetables, and water, your body will start its own detoxing process.
As you can see, there are numerous benefits to be gained from taking your health more seriously. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so don’t wait until you’re met with an illness before taking steps to improve your health.