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Six Healthy Habits You Can Start TODAY!

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Everybody wants to be healthy, right? Although there are some things we can't control about our health, there are many things we can. By developing healthy habits that we practice on a daily basis, we can tip the odds in our favor for living a long and vibrant life.

1. Drink more water. Most people don't drink nearly enough water to properly hydrate their bodies. If you simply consider the fact that the human body is about 75% water, it helps to understand the importance of drinking the recommended daily amount of 8 to 10 eight-ounce glasses. The problems associated with improper hydration and the benefits of proper hydration are too many to list here, but consider this one: Inadequate fluid intake and dehydration increases the risk of developing kidney stones. If you've ever suffered the pain of a kidney stone, that knowledge alone could be enough to prompt you to drink up.

2. Eat less food more often. Many people believe that the best way to lose weight is by skipping meals and eating less often. The truth is that when you skip meals, the metabolism slows down and you burn less calories and fat. It's better to eat five or six small meals and snacks (eat every three hours throughout the day) to keep the metabolism going. Include a protein (cheese, fish, lean meats, nuts, eggs, milk, etc.) with each meal or snack to help prevent glycemic (blood sugar) spikes that can lead to weight gain.

3. If it's white, don't bite. White bread, white rice, white sugar--these are all processed (refined) carbohydrates that have been stripped of their natural vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Stick with more natural foods like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and stevia (a natural sweetener). Processed foods that contain limited amounts of natural fibers and nutrients may fill you up, but they can still leave your body malnourished. Natural foods contain the fibers and minerals your body needs to function properly.

4. Give your liver a daily cleansing. For most of us, our livers are working overtime to filter toxins from the air we breathe, the foods we eat, and the things we drink. Like any filtering system, the liver needs to be cleaned occasionally to help it operate properly, so another good healthy habit to develop is periodic detoxification. For a good natural detoxification, squeeze half a lemon in 8 ounces of water and add stevia to taste first thing every morning. The lemon juice helps clean out the liver and also balance blood sugars naturally.

5. Get moving. There’s no way around it—if you really want to get and stay healthy, exercise is a key factor. Research has proven that consistent aerobic exercise prevents obesity and insulin resistance that can lead to type 2 diabetes. Exercise has proven to be just as effective as a particular oral diabetic medication in sensitizing the insulin receptor sites to allow glucose into the cells—and you don’t need a prescription! Of course, the benefits of exercise reach much farther, including cardiovascular health, stress reduction, muscle toning, and sleep enhancement.

6. Get your sleep. Sleep rejuvenates cells and helps in the healing process and also helps to maintain and boost the immune system (e.g., the chances of catching a cold increase if you haven’t had a sufficient amount of sleep). Lack of sleep also leads to stress, which leads to increased cortisol release, which leads to weight gain. How much is enough? For most adults, approximately 7-8 hours of sleep a night is about right.

As we all know, there's no time like the present to start on the road to better health. Start these healthy habits today and in no time they will be a natural part of your daily routine!

Dr. Tina Marcantel is a naturopathic doctor practicing in Gilbert, Arizona. For more information about her practice and to read many more articles by Dr. Marcantel, please visit her Web site at http://www.drmarcantel.com.

Add a Comment46 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I love this share. Thank you for the information. Sometimes the most simplistic things that make our lives more healthy are things that we may not assume. With a very stressful job and lifestyle, I am going to try this with the hopes of clearing up my adult (stress) acne. I will let you know my results.

April 4, 2010 - 10:45am

I'd also add to the list: start drinking more freshly prepared juice! :) I started doing it a month ago and, I must confess, I did notice a difference. My face skin improved greatly, I feel more active, and even my teeth became more white. The latter is the last thing I'd expect! hehe

March 31, 2010 - 7:44am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Zetta07)

Thats because The extra acid is breaking down your teeth more rapidly. I'd suggest a high fluoride toothpaste.

June 25, 2010 - 9:12am

Absolutely right about water and kidney stones. I had my first kidney stone when I was 13 years old - only no one knew it was a kidney stone. I kept complaining about back pain and finally my parents arranged for an X-ray at a local hospital. They said they didn't see anything, and it was probably a pulled back muscle. 10 years later, after a night of agony and an early morning trip to the ER, they got the diagnosis right. I've had probably a dozen stones since. Sometimes nothing works for the pain - including some pretty strong prescription pain killers. I eventually figured out that drinking a lot of water - and I mean a LOT of water - really helps. For anyone who would like a tip on how I was able to get a measure of relief when I had a couple of kidney stone episodes back in the 90's, check a post I put on my Kidney Problems blog.

March 13, 2010 - 2:14pm

The average person should be drinking around 2 L's in my opinion, larger and more active people often need more, men typically require more than women, etc; but I think it's a good GENERAL rule.I've seen so many people who overeat, are "chronically fatigued", or even constipated because of a lack of water (and also fibre, in the constipation case).Unless someone has (moderately advanced) kidney disease or a propensity for a mineral deficiency (uncommon), there's really no reason people shouldn't be consuming at least 5 - 2 L's per day.


February 10, 2010 - 4:42am
EmpowHER Guest

the commenter bashing naturopathic health is the same person who says "fix me" when their health fails. very sad

February 4, 2010 - 5:35am

These 6 tips are great reminders about how focusing on simple life necessities (water, sleep and exercise) can jolt your health and mood. My favorite is your advice to add lemon to your cup of water in the morning. I do this occasionally and didn't know it was helping to clean out my liver! Thanks for the advice!

January 18, 2010 - 8:39am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Lauren Misak)

You're not 'cleaning out your liver'. Your just adding lemon juice to your water. May get a tiny bit of vitamin C and some flavor, but no magic is going on with your internal organs.

January 21, 2010 - 12:06pm

This is brilliant and it's free advice!

January 7, 2010 - 4:50pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Cruncher)

And this advice is worth exactly what you pay for it : zero. Quick tip : NMD is quackery, not medicine.

January 21, 2010 - 11:11am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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