Everyday we are bombarded with ads that push products that promise to enhance your beauty, help you achieve weight loss, and reverse signs of aging. Most of the advertisements are for products that you are being encouraged to purchase. However, there are many things that we can do to achieve optimal health and increase the beauty within and on the surface, that are virtually priceless.
1. Drink plenty of water
We've all heard that the body is comprised of over 50% water. So it should come as no surprise when I say that staying hydrated will result in clearer skin, improved digestion and kidney functioning. When it comes to fluid consumption, the goal is to consume at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. So for example, if you weigh 100 lbs you goal would be to consume at least 50 oz of water daily. For those who do not enjoy drinking water here are a few tips that you can utilize to reach your desired daily fluid intake; 1. Infusing your water with fruits or herbs such as cucumber or mint. 2. Eating water based fruits such as cucumber, watermelon, peaches, cantaloupe, grapefruit, celery, and even spinach. Did you know that spinach is 91.4% water by weight? High water content foods are great at helping you stay hydrated, and they also contain minerals, phytochemicals, and vitamins which help you achieve healthy skin and great health overall.
2. Stay Active
Exercise is important in maintaining optimal health. Being active can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, Type II Diabetes, and even some cancers. Breast cancer risks can be lowered through the decrease in estrogen levels that occur with working out. Working out can also increase your mental health, mood, and strengthen your bones helping to prevent fractures. Exercising at least 30 minutes a day, 5 times per week, can result in loss of weight and improvement or maintenance of physical health. Some fun exercises that I enjoy are bike riding, hiking, swimming, and dancing. So go out and be active, make it a fun family activity!
3. Self Care
Self care is one of the most important aspects of healthcare. Many times we are the care takers for everyone around us, and our needs oftentimes fall to the wayside. Taking time for yourself by meditating, praying, getting a massage, or even painting, can all be rewarding ways to increase self care. The benefits of taking time out for yourself are endless. For example, meditation has been known to help decrease anxiety, stress, and both physical and psychological pain, as well as, uplift mood, and improve memory (1). Make yourself a priority, and watch how your life changes!
4. Eat a well balanced diet
We are constantly bombarded with a vast amount of information regarding the optimum diet. From high fat-low carbohydrate diets, to high carb-low fat diets, you will find research and medical professionals who make valid points to support both ways of eating. Sifting through all of the available information can be overwhelming. One common thread in almost all diet fads however is the incorporation of whole foods, and the removal of processed junk foods and excess sugar. I will go into more detail on diet in another blog, however, I will share here the biggest take home to eating a well balanced diet.
Eating foods closet to their natural form is one of the best things you can do for your health. These foods will contain the nutrients needed to have a healthy digestive tract, immune system, and more. It is true when they say, "You are either taking a step towards health or disease by what you put in your mouth". Added sugars, artificial flavors, dyes, and hydrogenated fats are all associated with decreased health. Monosodium Glutamate, or MSG, is an additive used to enhance the flavor of packaged meats, and is commonly used in Chinese food restaurants. Some of the adverse reactions to MSG include headache, a burning sensation on the back of the neck, chest tightness, nausea, diarrhea, and sweating. Be sure to read labels, and if going out to eat always ask about ingredients if the menu is not clear.
5. Remove toxic chemicals from your beauty regimen
What you put on your skin is another important factor that can play a role in the status of your health. There are many chemicals found within beauty products that can effect your hormone levels, these are known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals interfere with the production, transport, breakdown, binding and elimination of hormones. Some of the most notable endocrine disrupting chemicals to be aware of are parabens, oxybenzone, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and Fragrance. Be sure to read labels carefully, and check out the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) website to see what products and ingredients are safe and which ones should be avoided.
6. Your bedspread matters
When you lay down at night you may not think about the cleanliness of your bedspread. Your sheets and pillow cases collect dead skin, pollen, dirt, and microbes. You should change your sheets at least once every 2 weeks. If you experience night sweats, changing sheets once a week is ideal. In regards to your pillow case, some sources state that changing your pillow case once per week is acceptable, while other sources believe changing your pillow case every 2-3 days is optimal. Depending on your lifestyle, whether you wash your face and/or shower before bed each night, will determine how often you should change your sheets.
Pay attention to your skin and any breakouts you may have, this could also be a clue to how often you should wash your bedding.
Tip: Purchasing organic bed spreads may also be another way to improve your quality of sleep and skin health. Many sheets are sprayed with flame retardants to help them become stain and water resistant. Also, cotton is sprayed with pesticides and herbicides that are not always fully removed from the final product. You may still breathe in these chemicals as you sleep, so be mindful of your choices.
7. Get Plenty of Rest
Sleep is vital to healing and health. The optimal number of hours we should get a night is between 7-9. The benefits of a restful slumber include reduction of stress, a better functioning metabolism, and immune system. Many people achieve getting the recommended 7-9 hrs of sleep per night, however, it is not proper sleep. Some tips to help you get a proper restful night of sleep are to avoid being on your phone or any electronics at least 1 hour before bed, do something relaxing prior to going to bed such as listening to calm music or reading a book. Make sure there are no lights on in your room, the darker the room the better the sleep. Create a tranquil bedtime routine that will provide you with amazing rest.
Although there are many options for products that you can buy that promise to give you everlasting beauty and increased health. There are many thing that you can implement into your lifestyle to achieve the same results at a fraction of the cost. Taking care of yourself benefits many areas of your life. When you do better you plant a seed which may eventually lead to your entire family looking and feeling better.