Almost half of all Americans have used a prescription medication in the past 30 days. While medications are helpful in managing health conditions, you may be looking for some additional ways to improve your health. Luckily, with just a few changes you can be on your way to better health.
Here are some easy ways to improve your health naturally:
Sunlight: Open the blinds
Exposure to natural light can help reset your circadian rhythm and give you a better sleep pattern. Better yet, go outside for about 10-15 minutes and get a burst of vitamin D. Your body produces vitamin D by skin exposure to sunlight. Studies suggest that this crucial vitamin may help lower your risk for osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis. Natural light helps prevent seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and may relieve stress. Try to leave your blinds open at night and wake up naturally with the sunrise. You can even buy an alarm clock that imitates the same thing – waking you slowly with gradually increasing light and make mornings a little easier.
Play with a pet
Being with your furry friend may have heart-health benefits. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that pet owners have lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. A pet that requires daily activity can help keep you slim too. Take a few more minutes to play with them or take them to the park for a walk. Pets may also have extra benefits for children. Some research finds that early exposure to a pet equips kids with stronger immune systems and helps with peer interactions.
Pop a probiotic
There’s some evidence that consuming more bacteria through supplements or natural food sources may improve your immune system, treat irritable bowel syndrome, and enhance nutrient absorption. When choosing a probiotic supplement, make sure it is in an opaque bottle and contains at least 3 strains of bacteria. You can also reap the benefits of bacteria in food sources like kefir, yogurt, or fermented vegetables like sauerkraut.
Being intimate with your partner is good for more than just your relationship. Studies find that sexually active people may have lower rates of depression, anxiety and stress. Sex counts as exercise too, burning roughly 5 calories per minute. Researchers at Wilkes University also found that people who engage in sex at least twice a week have stronger immune systems and take fewer sick days from work.
Limit screen time
Children are most drastically affected by screen time during the developmental years. Some experts say a child can only have 45 minutes of daily TV or computer time before suffering emotionally, educationally, and socially. When it comes to adults, studies found that sitting more than 4 hours a day, whether in front of a screen or not, led to an increase in cardiovascular disease risk. Try limiting screen time in the home and instead plan a fun activity as a family, like playing games or going outside.
Drink green tea
Swapping your morning cup of Joe for green tea may lead to a thinner you. Scientists in Japan recently reported that a compound in green tea called EGCG may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol while speeding up the metabolism. To reap the most benefit, aim for 2-3 cups a day. If the taste is too strong, add a drizzle of honey or splash of milk.
Walk in nature
Sick of the gym? Some research shows that walking in nature may have a variety of benefits. Besides stress relief and improved mood, people who walk in nature may be more creative and concentrate better. One study at Glasgow University showed that joggers who ran outside were happier than those who stayed in a gym. It may be easier to stick to a workout plan if you go outside to exercise. Check out local parks or even trail mapping apps such as “AllTrails”.
Pump some iron
Lifting weights isn’t just for the bodybuilders. By adding strength training to your exercise regimen, you can help prevent bone and muscle loss and falls. Self-confidence also may increase with weight training since it may give you the strength to accomplish more everyday tasks on your own. The best way to get started is by using bodyweight exercises such as squats, pushups, and sit-ups. After you can do these exercises with ease, try adding weights.
The ancient practice of massage may provide both emotional and physical benefits. While it can help reduce pain or help your body recover after an injury, some people find that massage also improves their depression and anxiety symptoms. No time to make an appointment? You can easily give yourself a hand or neck massage during times of stress. Better yet, have a loved one rub your shoulders after a long day to relieve tension.
Spice up your cooking
Herbs and spices added to your meals have strong antioxidant properties and might help guard against chronic conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Chili pepper, oregano, and garlic are some of the most potent. Add one or two of these powerful spices to a stir-fry to give it some serious kick. A study published in Diabetic Medicine revealed that cinnamon may help regulate blood glucose and is especially helpful for diabetics. Try sprinkling a teaspoon of it on oatmeal or yogurt every day to see if it benefits your blood sugar.
It’s important to talk to your doctor before making any drastic lifestyle changes. These tips aren’t meant to replace your physician’s recommendations and current care plan.