Here are a few healthy habits that can help improve our state of wellbeing and our health. Here they are, written in no particular order.
1. Wash your hands as soon as you get home.
This is very important to help prevent the spread of disease. It’s a simple step that can really benefit our health. Washing our hands frequently, especially when arriving home and before eating helps ensure we don’t accidentally touch our nose or mouth and become exposed to various microorganisms. Some viruses and bacteria can survive on the surface of items such as tables or door handles. Keeping our homes clean by washing our hands as soon as we enter, is an excellent habit to have no matter where we live, how old we are, or where we’ve been.
2. Chew your food slowly and well.
Digestion begins in the mouth. Chewing slowly and thoroughly helps the process occur more effectively. It is very easy to get caught up in the rush of the day and swallow our food when it’s hardly been chewed. Eating quickly can cause us to swallow air and lead to gas or bloating. Slowing down to enjoy our food has other important benefits as well.
3. Have a bowel movement a day.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) three bowel movements a day is the ideal we need to strive for. This is definitely not the norm. Most people have one bowel movement a day or less. From a naturopathic point of view the sooner we can eliminate the waste products of digestion from our body, the better. So how can we increase the frequency of our bowel movements? One way is to train our bodies to go to the washroom at the same time every day. The best times are after meals because this stimulates bowel activity. First thing in the morning is also a good time. If you don’t normally have to go, try drinking a large glass of warm water. Then relax! If we are in a rush or worried about the day’s events it will be more difficult to have a bowel movement.
4. End your shower with cold water.
Cold water helps stimulate our circulatory system and our lymphatic system. The cold water causes our capillaries to constrict thus driving blood internally. Once the cold shower finishes, blood rushes in to warm the surface of our skin. It has been said that ending your shower with cold water stimulates the immune system, possibly because of its effect on the lymphatic system. I also find it helps regulate body temperature. Surprisingly after a cold rinse I seem to be more resistant to cold drafts and I generally feel less chilly. Try it for yourself and see what happens.
5. Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
Drinking plenty of clean, pure water is very important to our health. Being well hydrated can help improve headaches, joint pains, and dry skin. The exact amount of water we need depends on many factors including body weight and height, but 8 glasses of water a day is a rough estimate. Sometimes the inconvenience of getting water prevents us from drinking enough. Try having a reusable container or flask at your desk at work. Fill it at the beginning of the day and slowly finish it by the time you go home. If you’re currently drinking less than 8 glasses, increase the amount of water you drink slowly. Start by adding one more glass a day. Another option is to have a glass of water shortly after waking (see Habit #3).
Five more habits are still to come. Some might even surprise you!
Photo courtesy of 96dpi of Flickr.