Top 3 Natural Health Boosters For Dummies
There is a reason why we have the saying - health is wealth. You may have all the money in the world, but if you are not healthy, even all the wealth cannot fix you. The lifestyle we follow has a huge impact on our health. Follow a few simple rules to stay fit naturally and have a happy healthy life.
1. Healthy Eating Habits
Most people do not worry about their eating habits till they start facing digestive problems. While popping that anti-acidity pill may provide relief, if you find yourself taking it too often, it could be a matter of concern.
a) Take your meals at correct intervals
Typically, a full meal takes around 4 hours to digest completely. So 4 to 4.5 hours is the best time gap to give between 2 meals.
Longer time intervals lead to over-secretion of bile and gastric juices which cause acidity, gas and harm to the gall bladder. Continuous gaps or skipping meals on a regular basis can lead to stones in the gall bladder.
On the other hand, do not take meals at very short intervals as its exerts excess pressure on the digestive system and causes indigestion.
b) Heavy breakfast, moderate lunch and light dinner
There's an old saying - eat your breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
The central gland in our body is the pituitary gland which controls the correct functioning of all other glands. This gland is more active during the daytime and gradually becomes less active after sunset. That is the reason our metabolism is faster during the daytime and we are encouraged to take heavier breakfast and lunch, while dinner should be kept simply and light.
c) Maintain similar timings for your meals everyday
This theory originates from Pavlov's classic conditioning theory. Maintaining consistent timing for meals help our stomach get conditioned to those timings and helps in quicker digestion.
d) Well balanced diet
The food we take should contain sufficient amounts of proteins, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. Each of these things are needed by our body to perform different functions.
Meat, fish, eggs, soya and lentils are rich in proteins while milk and fruits provide us with different vitamins and minerals.
Green vegetables are also rich in minerals and should be taken in abundant quantities.
Food Rich in Proteins and Vitamins
e) Fluid intake
- Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water everyday. Water is crucial for our body, it keeps our digestive and excretion systems functioning properly.
- Dehydration can cause urinary infection and results in poor blood circulation. This in turn leads to reduced performance of the brain which affects the overall bodily performance.
- Butter milk and tender coconut water can be taken during summer to reverse harmful effects of heat exposure and allergic reactions.
f) Avoid harmful food and drinks
- Keep your consumption of spicy, oily and rich food to a minimum. If you are a foodie and think that you will go crazy without these, do not take it more than once a week.
- Greasy food taken over a prolonged period can lead to gall stones.
- Carbonated water and some forms of alcohol also cause great harm to our liver. Too much carbonated water causes unwanted and unexpected weight gain.
- Over-consumption of alcohol can lead to liver cirrhosis.
- If you love consuming hard drinks, make sure to take restricted quantities of only those drinks that have some benefits. Beer, red wine and brandy fall under this category.
- Beer is said to improve kidney functioning which is true. Beer is also the lightest form of alcohol. It causes less harm compared to other hard forms of alcoholic drinks like whisky, rum or gin.
- Red wine is good for the heart when taken in a small quantity everyday after dinner.
- A few spoons of brandy mixed with water is good for digestion.
Take the poll
Do you follow healthy eating habits? Do you have fixed eating times? Or are you more flexible?
Vote to see which category you belong to.
2. Healthy Sleeping Habits
Sleep is like a battery for the machine that is called the body. The battery gets discharged at the end of every day and sleep recharges it for the next day.
a) Get sufficient sleep every day
Our body requires complete rest for at least 7-8 hours. While children require more hours of sleep, 7 hours is said to be sufficient for adults with normal health. 8 hours is absolutely ideal but working people may not get that much time.
b) Sleep timings
- Ensure that you go to bed by 11 PM and wake up by 6 PM. For all those night creatures out there who think that your body and mind are more active at night, please know that you are causing extreme stress to your pituitary glands by not sleeping on time.
- Beyond 10 PM, any work that we do forces our brain to remain active beyond its best performance hours. This causes us to get up late which makes us groggy for the rest of the day. The cycle repeats and soon, we become used to sleeping late and waking late.
- Irregular sleep routines over a long period reduces our metabolism and causes chronic headaches, intolerance to sunlight and harsh weathers, random allergic reactions and overall reduction in body immunity.
- Staying awake at late night also causes severe hormonal imbalances in women.
- Continuous hormonal ups and downs make women more susceptible to breast cancer and abdominal disorders.
c) Avoid afternoon siestas
Sleeping in the afternoon makes you lethargic when you wake up in the evening. It also becomes more difficult to get sleep at night. Sleeping right after a heavy meal slows down digestion and causes weight gain.
d) Improve sleep quality
- To get better sleep, ensure that you take a light dinner.
- Give at least an hour after dinner before going to bed.
- Avoid frequent caffeine intake throughout the day.
- Don't forget to answer nature's call right before going to bed, even if you may feel you don't need it :)
- Keep the surroundings in your bedroom clean and tidy.
- A cluttered room with accumulated dust, dirty bed-sheets or pillow covers lead to disturbed sleep.
- Make sure that your room temperature is comfortable for you. Use a sheet or blanket to cover yourself if it's too cold. If the room is hotter than necessary, switch on the fan or open windows for good ventilation.
Take the poll
What is your usual time for going to bed?
Are you an early bird, a moderate sleeper or a night owl?
Vote to find out whether you belong to the majority.
3. Regular Exercise
Many people think that exercise is only meant for those who are trying to lose weight or build their bodies. Not at all! Even if you have a great figure, you still need to exercise in order to keep fit.
a) Exercise everyday
Exercise improves blood circulation and stimulates metabolism. Sweating during the exercise helps the body to throw out toxins. When toxin levels reduce, the brain is able to produce more dopamine, the feel-good hormone. This helps in eliminating anxiety and induces confidence and a general happy feeling. Ever wondered why we feel mentally refreshed even after a heavy tiring workout? It is due to the production of dopamine.
b) Choose the right exercise
Natural forms of exercise such as walking or jogging during early hours of morning is the best way to exert your body. If you do not have parks or running tracks where you live, treadmill is another good option to do this activity. Fast walking and jogging improves heart rate and helps in preventing diabetes, high blood pressure and keeps cholesterol under control.
If you are trying to lose weight fast, target the specific body area with the right exercise. For example, to tone your abdomen, perform crunches. For toned arm and shoulder muscles, do push ups and weights using dumb-bells. Make sure that you are using the right weight, trying out excess weight may lead to muscle sprain or tear.
Yoga is a good form of exercise if you don't like running or weight-lifting. Yoga mostly focuses on proper breathing and helps in improving our oxygen intake. Oxygen is the most important component of our living existence, and its increased quantity in the lungs and brain boosts our overall body performance.
Note: If not done correctly, incorrect breathing can lead to lung or heart disorders. Hence, it is best to learn yoga from a yoga expert and then practice it on our own.
c) Exercise timing
- Perform your exercise at least 4 hours after a heavy meal. Exercising on a semi-full stomach causes damage to the abdominal organs.
- Don't forget to empty your bladder before a workout. Physical exertion on a full bladder reduces the elasticity of the bladder.
- Exercise at a fixed time everyday. Here again, the Pavlov's law comes into picture. Your body gets used to the timing and responds better to the workout.
d) Know your limits
- If you are unfit or recovering from an illness or surgery, do not exercise. It will cause more harm than good. Consult your doctor before trying out any kind of exertion.
- Heart patients also have lot of restrictions and should limit themselves to the right amount of walking. Remember, if you are unsure, ask your doctor or a subject matter expert.
- If you are an otherwise healthy adult but feel sudden bouts of fatigue during an exercise, stop right there.
Over-exercising does not help. Body can only take so much. Know your body's limit. Start with light exercise and gradually increase your capacity over a few weeks. Let your body get used to the exertions so that it responds effectively.
© 2014 Ritu Temptor
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