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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

(reply to Anonymous)

You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. I would just like to point out that there are many misconceptions about naturopathic doctors. For example, did you know that licensed NMDs attend a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school and are educated in all of the same basic sciences as an MD? In addition they study holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. Licensed NMDs also undergo rigorous medical board examinations and are licensed in Arizona as primary care general practice physicians, just like MDs. Rather than offhandedly dismissing naturopathic medicine as "quackery," I'd invite you to learn more about it. A good place to start might be at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians website: http://www.naturopathic.org/

January 24, 2010 - 8:12am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Tina Marcantel)

What does 'holistic' and 'nontoxic' even mean? Naturopathy is full of feel-good adjectives which are not scientifically measurable or definable. 'Vitality', 'Optimum health,' 'supporting the bodies natural abilities'. Define any of these in a measurable term and we're on our way to looking at this as real science that can be measured, tested and proven. Until then, it's at best, a well marketed placebo delivery system, and at worst, truly damaging to people's health.

PS - this is not a personal attack. I'm sure you personally really do care about the patients you work with and think you are doing what's best for them. It's the foundations of naturopathy are bunk.

January 25, 2010 - 10:24am
(reply to Cruncher)

I have citrus allergy, what would you reccommend?

January 7, 2010 - 4:50pm
EmpowHER Guest

I find the claim that lemon cleans the liver to be a little odd. Could you provide a reference?

January 4, 2010 - 12:13pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Lemon juice helps to stimulate the digestive system. The more efficiently the digestive system works, the less load on the liver to filter out contaminants. Also, lemon juice is high in vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant. When the liver removes certain contaminants from the blood stream it converts them to free radicals and antioxidants neutralize the effects of the free radicals. Drinking lemon juice only triggers a mild detoxification effect, of course, but regular use can help keep things "fine tuned" in the long run!

January 4, 2010 - 1:11pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Tina Marcantel)

Could you provide a reference?

January 18, 2010 - 6:11pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

She can't provide a credible reference, because it's utter nonsense. Just like the rest of these tips. Sleep and exercise are the only valid tips here, the rest is just regurgitating junk on the web.

January 21, 2010 - 9:54am
EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for your your opinion anonymous, we value everyone's opinion here at EmpowHer!

January 1, 2010 - 10:33am
EmpowHER Guest

I disagree with your point on eating throughout the day. I eat just one meal a day, after I've exercised. Not only is this more convenient, but I eat better because I'm not filling up on snack food.

It's called the warrior diet.

January 1, 2010 - 10:24am
EmpowHER Guest

I'd like to add that most of us eat too much meat and dairy. I cut out ALL dairy anf the only "meat" I have is wild fish and I am much healthier. Red meat is the worst and unless you are eating organic chicken, it is probably loaded with hormones(besides having had a horrific, stressed life). We would all do better to eat as much raw, unprocessed, organic fruit and vegetable as possible.
health comes from consuming enzymes which are only available in eating raw foods. Many of the healthiest people I know are RAW vegans as everything they eat is live, healthy and pure.

November 18, 2009 - 1:09pm
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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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