Let’s face it: most of us start out the New Year with the best intentions, but soon we are back to our old habits. Here are 18 ways to help you get your health on track in 2013:
1. Eat a large green salad. Greens are full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients like chlorophyll that give our body a huge boost. Chlorophyll, in particular, helps build healthy and strong blood.
2. Drink more water. Water fuels every cell in our body. Insufficient water spells the breakdown of cellular process that can eventually cause illness.
3. Eat two or three pieces or servings of fruit (count ½ cup of fruit like grapes, blueberries, cherries, etc. as a serving) daily. It’s easy enough to choose fruit instead of a less-healthy dessert.
4. Go for a brisk walk. Walking gets your heart pumping, improves circulation, and gets your lymphatic system (the system that eliminates toxic build-up from your tissues) working more effectively.
5. Better yet, take your brisk walk in nature. Breath in the rich oxygenated air from the trees and enjoy the peace and quiet nature offers.
6. Drink a freshly made juice preferably with green veggies. Ideally, dilute your juice 1:1 with pure water. Fresh juices are an easy way to cleanse your body and give it a huge amount of nutrients. Some people spend a fortune on superfoods (which is fine if you have the money) but fresh juices also tend to be rich in antioxidants and other critical nutrients and are much cheaper.
7. Think of at least 10 things for which you are grateful each day. Better yet, start a gratitude journal. Just the act of appreciating what you have can help you feel happier and better about your life.
8. Hug someone you love (make sure it is someone who actually wants a hug).
9. Soak in a warm bath with Epsom salts. The magnesium in Epsom salts is readily absorbed through your skin to relax your muscles and ease tension. Many experts estimate that about 80% of the population is magnesium deficient. This is a delightful way to boost your magnesium levels. Try to stay in the water for at least 20 minutes for maximum benefits.
10. Meditate. The act of calming your mind can relax the nervous system, which tends to be in stress mode due to our high-stress, fast-paced lives.
11. Deep breathe for at least 5 minutes, as often as you can. Research shows that breathing deeply can reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol that is released from the adrenal glands. Simply reducing this hormone can reduce anxiety, stress, and even help with weight loss.
12. Dry skin brush. Brush your skin using a natural-bristled brush. Start with the legs and brush upwards toward the heart. Then brush the trunk of the body also toward the heart (avoiding the breasts), and then brush the arms toward the heart. This gets the lymphatic system moving to eliminate toxins more effectively. Take a couple of minutes before hopping in the shower.
13. Snack between meals on healthy snacks like almonds, veggie crudite, hummus and whole grain pitas. Snacking every few hours helps keep blood sugar levels stable, which is critical to reduce mood swings, depression, balance energy and to lose weight.
14. Stop and smell the flowers. It’s okay to slow down to a pace that you actually enjoy life more.
15. Eliminate at least one item from your life that contains toxic chemicals (dryer sheets, most types of commercial laundry soap, dish soap, “air fresheners,” etc.). Choose a natural option from your health food store instead.
16. Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables. We know we should eat our vegetables but it’s difficult to remember sometimes. Add mashed sweet potatoes as a side dish, or saute some greens with freshly chopped garlic and toss with a little fresh lemon juice and sea salt. Even people who don’t like greens tend to love this way of preparing them. Check out my book Healing Recipes if you need more ideas for creating delicious vegetable dishes.
17. Dust off that piece of exercise equipment you’ve owned for years and put it in front of your television. If you’re watching TV, exercise on the commercials. No equipment? Do pushups, sit-ups, crunches, or other exercises on the commercials. It’s easy and it adds up. Soon, you’ll be surprised how fit you are.
18. Do something nice for someone. It just feels good to do something nice for someone else. Usually we reap the greatest benefits out of paying good deeds forward. A positive attitude is contagious.
By Michelle Schoffro Cook