16 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health Today
By Michelle Schoffro Cook
Forget the excuses. Just for today, focus on the many ways you can improve your health. This list is by no means complete but a starting point to get you making your physical, emotional, and spiritual health a priority in your busy life. And, once you do these health upgrades today, do them again tomorrow. Before you know it you’ll be living a healthy lifestyle…with virtually no effort.
- Drink more water. Your body is 90 percent water and needs water for almost every function. Many of the aches and pains, headaches, and other symptoms we experience would lessen if we just drank more water.
- Go for a brisk walk. Your body was made to move. Your heart is a muscle that needs movement to function optimally. We know this but we often need a reminder to just do it.
- Better yet, take your brisk walk in nature. Trees and other plants are regularly turning our carbon dioxide into rich oxygen we can breathe. Getting rich, oxygenated air help kill bacteria and viruses, improves breathing, and may even help prevent cancer.
- Hug someone you love. When you hug someone you love (someone who actually wants to be hugged), your body releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin that ward off depression.
- Eat 2 or 3 pieces or servings of fruit (count ½ cup of fruit like grapes, blueberries, cherries, etc. as a serving). Brilliantly-colored fruit is packed with disease-fighting phytonutrients like proanthocyanins that protect against brain diseases and quercetin which helps alleviate allergies and breathing problems.
- Eat a large salad. I’m frequently told by someone who is making excuses for his/her bad diet that eating healthy is expensive. Nonsense. Some of the best superfoods are cheap and readily available in the form of salad greens. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll (gives plants their green color and boosts our blood health), enzymes (that improve digestion and increase energy), and many phytonutrients.
- Meditate. Just taking some time out to clear your thoughts and unplugging from technology and people can help you feel more balanced and peaceful.
- Breathe deeply for at least 5 minutes, as often as you can. Research shows that deep breathing, even for minutes, can reduce stress hormone levels. That translates into less anxiety, better sleep, and less likelihood to pack on the pounds.
- Snack between meals on healthy snacks like almonds, veggie crudite, hummus and whole grain pitas. Not only will you stabilize your moods, you’ll balance your weight thanks to regulated blood sugar levels.
- Drink a freshly made juice—preferably with green veggies. Green juices are Mother Nature’s healing nectar. They are powerhouses of nutrients that help your body heal and energize you all at once.
- Stop and smell the flowers, literally. Not only will slowing down make you feel great, you will be exposed to natural aromatherapy with relaxing, energizing, or therapeutic effects. The fact that you can smell the flowers means molecules of their essential oils are coming into contact with your sensory systems—one of the fastest ways to balance hormones.
- Write down at least 10 things for which you are grateful. Increasing amounts of research show that gratitude builds better health and happiness.
- Eliminate at least one item from your life that contains toxic chemicals (all commercially-available dryer sheets, almost every type of commercial laundry soap sold in grocery stores, dish soap, “air fresheners,” etc.) For essential items, choose a natural option instead. (See: 10 Cancer-Causers to Remove from Your Home)
- Do something nice for someone. Years ago my husband and I were out in a restaurant in Pemberton, BC, Canada. When we asked for the bill we learned that it had been paid by a gentleman with whom we’d had a lovely conversation shortly after arriving. It not only made our day, we still think back with fondness about this kind man and how it gave us more faith in the goodness of people. You don’t even have to know the person for whom you do something nice.
- Dry skin brush. Dry skin brushing in small circles with a natural bristled brush, working from your extremities toward your heart boosts your blood circulation and the movement of lymph through your body to help eliminate toxic waste buildup in your tissues while boosting your energy.
- Soak in a warm bath with Epsom salts. The magnesium in Epsom salts absorbs through your skin and helps relax your muscles and reduce pain levels while contributing to your heart health.
What will you do today to upgrade your health?