In a fast-paced world with a million different distractions, it’s important to make time to maintain your health and wellness. While there are treatments available for our mental and physical concerns, lots of us are turning our attention to natural practices as an effective and safe alternative, that are easy to incorporate into our routine and often come without side effects.
Sound good? In this article, we share our top eight practices to naturally improve your health and wellness for a happier and healthier life.
Regular exercise is essential to improve your health and wellness. Not only can it improve your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer, exercise can also reduce stress and improve your mood. This is because it releases endorphins in the brain which act as a natural painkiller and mood booster, as well as reduces cortisol – the hormone that is released in response to stress.
The best part is that working out doesn’t just have to look like going to the gym five days a week (if you don’t want it to). Walking, running, cardio, weights, yoga, cycling and playing a sport are just a few of the different types of exercise that you can incorporate into your routine. The trick is to find an exercise that you enjoy, and that easily fits into your lifestyle.
This one goes without saying, but drink plenty of water. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, and we need to replenish this to avoid dehydration. Even mild dehydration can impair mood, memory, and brain performance. In addition, water helps to aid digestion, flush out toxins and regulate body temperature. In short, more water = a better you, in all aspects of your physical and mental health.
In a study in young women, researchers found that fluid loss of 1.4% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration. In a similar study in young men, fluid loss of 1.6% was detrimental to working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet
On the same note, eating a balanced diet is essential for your overall health and wellness.
A balanced diet is one that includes a range of foods from all major food groups, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. It provides all the essential nutrients you need to function, and can help you to maintain a healthy weight, boost your mood, and improve your energy levels.
4. Take Natural Supplements & Probiotics
It’s not always simple to get all the vitamins and minerals that you need in a week, in particular if you consume a plant-based diet or suffer from untreated nutrient deficiencies. Instead, you could take natural supplements to ensure you have all the nutrients that you need to function.
Some of the most common nutrient deficiencies include:
- Iron: can lead to fatigue, headaches, chest pain, cold hands and feet, and other health issues.
- Vitamin B12: can lead to fatigue, numbness, muscle weakness and neurological problems, from mild depression to dementia.
- Calcium: can lead to painful muscle spasms or cramps, numbness or tingling, dry skin, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
- Magnesium: can lead to loss of appetite, fatigue, pins and needles, nausea, sleepiness and abnormal heart rhythms.
- Zinc: can lead to hair loss, weight loss, changes in nails, irritable mood, more infections and wounds that take a long time to heal.
You should consult a healthcare professional if you believe you are deficient in a nutrient, though taking over the counter supplements can be used to fill any dietary gaps.
In addition, probiotics can be taken to support gut health, and overall immune function and health. These are live microorganisms that are found in fermented foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi, which you can purchase as easy-to-take capsules. Though further research is needed to understand the benefits of probiotics, studies show promising results.
- A 2014 review of 14 studies (1,182 participants) of probiotics for constipation in adults showed some evidence of benefit.
- A 2018 review of 53 studies (5,545 total participants) of probiotics for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) concluded that probiotics might have beneficial effects on IBS symptoms and abdominal pain.
- A 2017 review published in the Ann Gen Psychiatry found that ten studies where people took probiotic supplements found positive results on all measures of depressive symptoms.
5. Use CBD
Our endocannabinoid system is thought to regulate many of the body’s functions, including sleep, mood, gut health, appetite, metabolism, and immune function. Experts believe that Cannabidiol (CBD) could bind to the receptors in our endocannabinoid system and improve their effect, leading to therapeutic benefits like pain relief, better sleep, improved focus, less stress, and relief from other short-term or chronic conditions, such as allergies or ADHD.
There are lots of different types of CBD, but we would recommend that you go for broad-spectrum CBD products as these offer the full effect, while remaining drug-free. In terms of what CBD product is right for you, it all comes down to preference. CBD oils offer faster but less subtle relief, whereas something like a CBD edible has a slower release, but offers a subtler and tastier experience. If you’re suffering from aches and pains, on the other hand, a CBD topical that you apply to the skin could be the better option.
6. Get Better Sleep
Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining our physical and mental health. When we sleep, our body performs a range of restorative functions that:
- Improve physical health by restoring damaged cells and tissues, regulating our hormones, and strengthening our immune system.
- Improve cognitive function, including memory consolidation, focus and attention, problem-solving skills and emotional regulation.
- Improve our mood, reducing the risk of irritableness, stress, anxiety and depression.
- Enhance athletic performance and recovery time.
Adults should aim to get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, though this somewhat depends on age, lifestyle and health.
7. Practise Mindfulness
Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, body scans and practising gratitude and forgiveness, can help to improve mood and increase overall wellness.
Studies have shown benefits for patients engaging in a mindfulness meditation program — including those with depression, anxiety and chronic pain.
8. Use Aromatherapy
Essential oils have been linked to a range of holistic benefits, such as reduced stress, improved mood, and infection-fighting properties. These are some common essential oils and the conditions they are believed to help with:
- Lavender: Helps with relaxation, stress and insomnia.
- Eucalyptus: Helps with headaches, congestion and respiratory issues.
- Tea Tree: Helps with acne and fungal infections.
- Lemon: Helps to boost energy and improve mood.
Simply pop a few drops of your favourite essential oils into a diffuser, bath, or directly onto the skin, for a pick-me-up.
And there you have it – eight simple ways to naturally improve your health and wellness. From exercise and mindfulness to CBD and supplements, these natural practices are an excellent alternative to synthetic treatments for a healthier, happier life.
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