Ten Tips to Improve Overall Health

Family Preparing meal,mealtime Together

Cut Down on Processed Food

Processed foods are obviously not as healthy as organic foods; however you may be surprised at how unhealthy they really are. First off, you lose almost all nutritional value in the food and the preservatives that are added in are unhealthy in general. Secondly, many processed foods contain an extremely high amount of sodium which can lead to heart disease and higher blood pressure. Most foods that you’ll find at your local supermarket are processed. A good rule of thumb is to look for foods that are in their raw form or at least something that doesn’t have a ton of ingredients- the more ingredients often means more preservatives.

brush your teethDon’t Forget about Oral Hygiene

While many people may not realize it, the health of your mouth is often a reflection of your overall health. For example, gum disease is not only bad for you mouth but it has also been linked to things such as heart disease, pneumonia and even breast cancer! In fact, a recent study shows there may be a link between being overweight and having gum disease. With all of this in mind, make sure to brush your teeth and floss multiple times a day because if you don’t, you’re whole body will likely pay the price!

Start Barefoot Running or Walking

Although it may not be well known, there are tons of proven benefits to exercising barefoot. Some of the benefits include better posture, less stress on your joints and less stress on your feet. Strive to incorporate barefoot running or walking into your workout routine and you’re likely to see and feel a number of positive results.

walnutsEat Brown Carbs vs. White Carbs

What’s the difference? Well, white carbs are essentially refined grains such as white rice, pasta, noodles and tortillas. The problem with white carbs is that during the refinement process the foods lose the vast majority of their nutritional value while still packing on tons of carbs. Brown Carbs, better known as unrefined complex carbs, do not lose any of their nutritional value because they are not processed. Good examples of healthy brown carbs are brown rice, oatmeal, nuts and legumes. Aim to consume brown carbs over white carbs and you’ll already be on your way to a healthier diet.

No Soda and Caffeine

Not only do sodas contain sugar and act as an artificial stimulant, but the caffeine that is in them is a big problem by itself. Caffeinated drinks are diuretics which means they speed up your urination frequency. The problem with this is that it negatively affects your hydration efforts. Drinking 8 glasses of water a day is crucial to weight loss success and healthy living in general so any substance that dehydrates your body should be limited if not eliminated from your diet.

washing handsWash Your Hands

Everyone knows that washing your hands is part of living a sanitary life, but many don’t think about how all of those germs can affect your health. Washing your hands is not only healthy for you, but it is extremely important to those around you considering 80% of all infectious diseases are transmitted by touch. Do yourself and everyone else around you a favor by washing your hands on a regular basis.

Take a Break from Looking at the Computer Screen

According to optometrist Dr. Lowe, when we concentrate intensely on anything- whether it be reading a book or looking at a computer screen- your eyes only blink about half as many times as when you’re not concentrating on something. The problem with this is that blinking is how we bring fresh tears to the corneal surface which is essential to keeping your eyes free of irritants. A good way to avoid negatively affecting your eyes by focusing on the computer screen is to use the 20-20-20 rule. What that means is for every 20 minutes you look at the computer screen look 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This is a simple way to break the strain that many of us are constantly putting on our eyes.

multivitaminSpace Out Your Multivitamins

Many people take their multivitamins either early in the morning or at night. While taking multivitamins is great for overall health, a good habit to get into is to break your multivitamin in half and take one half in the morning and the other at night so that you get proper nutrition throughout the day. Simple enough, right?

Get Your Omega-3s Any Way You Can

It has been well documented that fish are amazing sources of omega-3s, but what if you don’t like fish? The solution can be found in plants. Algae-based omega-3 supplements contain the same omegas as fish oil. What’s the fuss over omega-3s? To put it simply, they help maintain the proper level of HDL (good) cholesterol while also lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol. Whether it’s fish, fish oil or algae-based, it is crucial to incorporate a good amount of omega-3s into your daily diet.

healthy mealIt’s NOT Always About Counting Calories

While being aware of how many calories you intake each day is important, what’s more important is being aware of what kind of calories you are consuming each day. By doing this you will be able to better control your insulin levels which can play a major role in achieving your weight loss goals. You want to have steady insulin levels, not peaks and valleys. A simple way of showing this is to ask yourself, do you think that someone that consumes 2,000 calories a day by eating fast food is getting the same nutrition as someone that is consuming 2,000 calories a day through vegetables, lean protein and low-glycemic carbs? To put it simply, look for quality over quantity (but don’t forget about quantity).

These are just a few examples of the wide-ranging ways you can make subtle changes to your diet and life which will result in positive health changes. What are you incorporating into your daily routine to better your overall health?

Sources: Health Communities, Healthy Living, Personal Excellence, Diet to Go