WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Biology doesn’t dictate your destiny. You have many choices, because “other factors” include a vast range of influences, including diet, exercise, stress management, and emotional events.
More and more research is showing that the key to lifelong good health is making simple changes in diet, exercise and stress management. By making small changes a little at a time, you CAN do anything you want. To help you turn that knowledge into results, we’ve put together this manageable list of health and wellness action steps.
1. Fiber for Breakfast
Fiber is something the body needs but never actually digests. It comes in two varieties, soluble and insoluble, and most plant-based foods contain a mixture of the two. Soluble fiber turns to gel in the stomach and slows digestion, which helps lower cholesterol and blood glucose. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, remains unchanged all the way to the colon, making waste heavier and softer so it can shimmy through the intestines more easily. Add foods with fiber to your breakfast, like oatmeal, apples, bran cereal, bananas, or avocados.
2. Avoid Multitasking
Many of us use multitasking as a way to be more productive, but actually, multitasking doesn’t make us as productive as we think. In fact, it’s likely that the quality of our work is worse when we multitask; it could actually be costing us time instead of freeing it up. Another major downside to multitasking is the effect it has on our stress levels. Dealing with multiple things at once makes us feel overwhelmed, drained and frazzled.
3. Get Up and Move Once an Hour
Of course, exercise is important but almost as equally valuable to your health is living an active lifestyle. It helps you burn those extra calories that you may have overeaten earlier in the day. Things like going for a walk at work or choosing to walk up the stairs are great examples of ways to move every day.
4. Use Blackout Shades in Your Bedroom
Darkness is the primary cue that tells our bodies it’s time to slumber. Chief controller? The internal clock tucked in our hypothalamus that keeps us on a 24-hour wake/sleep schedule. Light triggers all kinds of internal chemical events, including the production of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. Our internal clocks aren’t sensitive only to the rising and setting of the sun. They are also very affected by artificial light as well, making it so imperative that you get as close as you can to complete darkness when you sleep.
5. Meditate for 10 Minutes During Lunchtime
Life is extremely fast-paced, and time goes by so quickly that many of us don’t truly experience and savor our lives. We become over-stimulated, over-scheduled, and over-committed. This causes stress. Not surprisingly, taking a break can actually improve your health: physically, emotionally, and mentally. Meditate for just 10 minutes a day during lunchtime and you will better your health immensely.
6. Express Gratitude for One Thing, Every Day
Science tells us that grateful people are typically happier people. Being grateful makes us more optimistic and reduces negativity, which is a huge reason to make acts of gratitude a daily habit. Try to think about what you’re thankful for at least once a day. If you begin to prioritize gratitude and recognize the things you appreciate most, eventually it will become second nature. Your health will greatly benefit from it!
7. Consume Probiotic Foods Once a Day
Probiotics are beneficial forms of gut bacteria that help stimulate the natural digestive juices and enzymes that keep our digestive organs functioning properly. Things like Greek yogurt, dark chocolate, sauerkraut, and kimchi are all healthy examples that nourish the microbial population in your digestive tract.
8. Take a Brisk Walk After You Eat Dinner
If watching TV or sitting in front of the computer is your daily routine after eating your dinner, replace it with a healthy habit of walking for 15 minutes. Experts believe that walking at least 100 steps after eating your dinner improves your overall wellbeing. This includes proper digestion, burning calories, better control of blood sugar levels and triglycerides in the body.
Original Article: 23 Little Choices That Can Make You Healthier, MindBodyGreen.com, 12/2/15