We all want it. A quick fix for whatever challenge we face. John wants to lose weight. Sarah wants less stress in her life. George wants to get better sleep. Each person wants results…and now. Sure, John, Sarah and George say they are willing to make the changes that will help to improve their lives, but when they think about what it may take to actually make those changes and stick with them, they feel overwhelmed before they start.
While there are no quick fixes for weight loss, better sleep or stress reduction, there are several “silver bullets” that can deliver big health benefits when implemented on a regular basis.
Hydration: The body needs fluid to function. Did you know that your body contains up to 75% water by weight and your brain even more? Water feeds cells, helps physical and mental performance, controls temperature, and aids digestion. Getting behind on fluid intake can impact allergies, depression, energy, inflammation, blood pressure and conditions like colitis.
Ideas: Start your day with a tall glass of water. Sip a cup of hot water with lemon to stimulate your liver. Substitute a cup of tea or broth for that second or third cup of coffee. Drink an 8 oz glass of water before sitting down to lunch or dinner. On occasion, opt for soup as a lunch or dinner entree over the standard salad or meat-and-potatoes meal for the added liquid.
Vegetables: Vegetables are packed with critical vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are missing from processed foods. Plus, they are naturally low in fat and calories. Most people don’t eat enough veggies because other items compete for space on their dinner plate. Yet, eating fresh vegetables is one of the simplest ways to improve overall health.
Ideas: Eat your veggies first…literally! An assistant professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota determined that when vegetables are eaten alone, people tend to eat more of them. Eat your salad at the beginning of your meal. Choose vegetables and hummus over that muffin for a mid-morning snack. Create a rainbow on your plate by selecting vegetables of a wide variety of colors.
Movement: Your body is meant to move. Movement, of any kind, promotes blood flow, flexibility, balance, and an awareness of your physical surroundings. And when your movement of choice is something you especially love (see my recent post about tail-wagging), you get the added benefit of health-promoting endorphins being released. Studies are showing that prolonged periods of sitting can threaten overall health because the body is compromised at a cellular level when it is sedentary, which can lead to premature physical and mental decline.
Ideas: Park your car at the far end of the lot to get in extra steps when you go to the store. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Meet a friend for a walk or a run. Play with your dog in the yard. Hike a nearby trail. Dance. Walk down the hall to talk with a co-worker rather than sending a text. Ideally, you should get up and move every 15-30 minutes to keep your blood flowing and your joints from becoming stiff. Whatever it takes and in whatever form, get moving!
Relaxation: Stress has its place. We actually need a bit of stress in our lives to power us through the day…to meet deadlines and manage responsibilities. But the body also needs time to rejuvenate and recover from the physical and mental demands of life. That’s where relaxation comes in. Relaxation, in whatever form works for you, can help protect your heart, boost your immune system, promote cognitive function, lower blood pressure, reduce cravings, and balance your mood. While it may feel unproductive, taking time to relax each day offers multiple physical and mental health benefits.
Ideas: Take a walk. Watch a movie. Learn to meditate. Shoot hoops. Go for a run. Practice yoga. Read a book. Play in the kitchen. Take a nap. Soak in the tub. Meet a friend for coffee. Sip some tea. Get out on the golf course. Turn on some music.
A reality of life is that there are no quick fixes. It takes attention to the little things to create balance and well-being. And when you do, the benefits will have long-term effects.
Which “silver bullet” will you embrace this week?
Here’s to your health and vitality!
I believe good health is as close as your kitchen. My nutrition practice is based on nutrient-dense, whole food and lifestyle choices that support health and wellness, especially during times of high stress and transitions. My role is to educate, guide and support individuals who want to break the stress-induced cycle of depletion and regain control of their health. As a Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition® (Candidate), I look forward to helping you create a vibrant life. To learn more, contact me at 303-442-2492 or by email.