No matter what infomercials try to sell you, there is no quick fix for total health. Being healthy is a lifestyle. It requires caring for so much more than your physical well-being; it calls for attention to your mental and emotional health, as well. If that sounds like a lot of work, it is. It takes time to establish healthy habits. We often have to forgo the sedentary lifestyles we were taught and retrain our brains to love exercise. To be healthy, you have to learn how to listen to your body and act when something is amiss. This requires you to face some difficult things in your life and make a commitment to healing if you are sick or injured, which is never easy. However, good health is a blessing more valuable than money. It’s definitely worthwhile to pursue it.
Dehydration is more common than you think. In fact, nearly 75 percent of Americans experience chronic dehydration. So, if you’re feeling fatigued, foggy, irritable, or just plain thirsty, it may be time to take a look at your daily water intake. Some experts recommend you drink eight, 8-ounce servings of water each day, while others recommend between a half-ounce and an ounce per pound of body weight. In reality, as long as you are drinking enough to stave off your thirst, you are probably doing okay.
The other half of staying hydrated is preventing loss of moisture whenever you can. Any sickness that is accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea is a risk. So are exercise regimens that involve intense sweating and chronic illnesses like diabetes. Dry air is another common culprit when it comes to dehydration. Luckily, it’s also one of the easiest to remedy. Home humidifiers help by adding moisture back into the air, which will help rehydrate your skin and lips. They can even improve your sleep and allergies. Just be sure to do your research before you purchase to determine the right size and type for your needs.
Care for Your Inner Ecosystem
Inside your gut lives trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Ninety-five percent of these little guys reside in your gut, an ecosystem simply dubbed your “gut microbiome.” Your personal microbiome plays a crucial role in your overall health and happiness. For instance, some of the bacteria in your gut educates and trains your immune system so you are better able to fight off disease and illness. Your microbiome helps digest food and keeps your system regular. Furthermore, a healthy microbiome produces 90 percent of neurotransmitters, including GABA, dopamine, and serotonin, which are essential neurochemicals that promote feelings of happiness while reducing symptoms of depression.
Your unique microbiome can be influenced by a number of outside factors. Processed foods, excess sugar, and alcohol have the potential to upset a healthy microbial balance and compromise your intestinal health. To help keep your inner ecosystem healthy and flourishing, introduce healthy bacteria to it by eating foods such as yogurt, apple cider vinegar, pickles, kombucha, miso, and sauerkraut. Fermented foods are rich in probiotics — beneficial bacteria that help brain and body functions. People who do not like the taste of fermented foods often use a probiotic supplement to make up for their lack of healthy bacteria introduced through diet.
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to care for both your physical and mental health. Yet many of us skip being active in favor of the sedentary lifestyle many people have grown accustomed to. Regular exercise helps prevent common chronic illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It keeps your weight in check and makes aging more enjoyable, as those who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from issues like osteoarthritis, joint pain, and cognitive decline. When you exercise, you are able to sleep better and for longer. Furthermore, it helps balance neurotransmitters and combats symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Ask for Help
For some reason, many people put themselves in a place of denial when it comes to their physical or mental health issues. They may refuse to see a doctor or, when sick, be lackadaisical regarding their medication. They might even work out with an injury. The thing is, no man or woman is an island. There is going to be some point in your life where you need help with a medical issue. If your health is a priority, it’s your responsibility to ask for that help when the time comes. It may not be easy — or cheap — but you have to swallow your pride and accept that the human body is flawed and everyone has their issues that require assistance in addressing. Otherwise, conditions will likely only worsen.
Good health is invaluable. The amount of work you have to put into your well-being reflects that value. It’s important to care for yourself from the inside out. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of probiotic foods that support gut health. Exercise isn’t just for the body — it helps with mental health, as well. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help when it comes to health problems. Waiting to address something will only make it more difficult to treat as time goes on.
Guest Blog Post Courtesy of Jennifer McGregor from PublicHealthLibrary.org