The health market is a BIG business and some companies prioritize money over your health. Nutritional supplements, over-prescribed pharmaceutical drugs, fad diet groups, high-end personal trainers, books based on a small amount of information, multiple doctor visits – I could go on, but I think you get the point. I am not dismissing the benefits of spending SOME money to achieve greater health. Our health is important, but choosing between being healthy and paying your bills doesn’t have to be the case.
Below is a list of 12 ideas to optimize your health, and only 3 of them actually require spending any money (roughly $5 dollars).
Catching ZZZ’s is first on the list, not because it is the most obvious, but it’s what most people take for granted. Sleep rejuvenates the body by assisting with energy supplies, coordination, muscle repair, skin health, immune system functioning and the balancing of hormones. We know the average person requires 7-9 hours of sleep a night and if you sleep 6 hours a night the average person will function with only 50% of their mental capabilities. With current statistics stating only 60% of people sleep over 7 hours at night on a regular basis, it’s amusing to imagine almost half the population moseying around half-awake. Well, I suppose this would make sense if you are a people watcher like me.
2) Breathing Exercises
By exercising your lungs with the 4-7-8 breathing technique, you are teaching yourself to breathe in a quality way. The theory is by forcing certain breathing techniques on the voluntary nervous system, you can positively boost the involuntary nervous system. With shallow breathing, air can remain in the tissues of the lungs and become stale, keeping fresh oxygen from finding its way into the bloodstream affecting sleep, stress levels, anxiety, food cravings, mental alertness, energy levels and mood.
3) Drink Enough Water – When & How Counts
Drinking enough water lowers your risk for certain types of cancers, helps to fight infections, helps get rid of bodily toxins by flushing them out, aids in skin health, helps to lose weight, prevents joint pain and arthritis and boost energy. How much water should you drink? Divide your weight by 2 – this is how many ounces of water you need to drink a day. For example, a 150lb. person requires 75 ounces a day at the very least for optimal body functioning. How and when you drink water make can further optimize your health. Drink 2-3 glasses of water before eating your first meal of the day for better digestion for the entire day. Drink 1 glass of water before each meal. Never drink cold water after having a meal – this will solidify the oils and slow digestion. Japanese and Chinese people drink hot tea with their food for good reason.
4) Neck Gravity Traction Exercise
The multiple times my mother told me to sit up straight or you will get a hump neck was for more reasons than just the physical change. The nerves in our neck, collarbones, between the ribs and through our core can become impinged, lessening their ability to relay signals between the brain and body. This can affect our energy levels, reaction times, speech, breathing capacity and circulation – which can lead to numerous health concerns over time. Inversion tables have become popular for alignment and decompressing the spine, but not everyone has the spare cash to buy one. There is a free equivalent that will help decompress the spine and correct the posture. All you need it a bed or table. The towel in the picture is optional. Lay down on your back with your head hanging off the end. You will need to adjust to your comfort levels, but try to hang off just enough where you feel the pull coming from the lower end of your spine. Do this every day for at least 5 minutes at a time.
5) Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is popular amongst the natural health community for weight loss assistance, killing bad bacteria in the body, lowering blood sugar for diabetics, assisting in heart health and helping to prevent cancer. Many of the claims made about ACV are not yet supported by science, but from personal experience this is an item everyone needs in their kitchen. Apple Cider Vinegar was one of the 2 ingredients used to heal my gallbladder naturally to avoid surgery to remove it after I was told by 3 doctors I will never be pain free until I remove my gallbladder. It’s been almost a year of being pain free, but that is not my only personal story with ACV. I randomly read on the internet that ACV can help with food poisoning. Of course, a few weeks later I went to dinner with some friends and we were fed some chicken completely pink in the middle. I guzzled some ACV as soon as I got home and I was the only one of us not sick for days or throwing up. Maybe I was lucky or maybe I have a super power in the form of anti-food poisoning ability, but I put my money on the ACV.
6) High Intensity Interval Training
HIIT is the #1 fitness trend in world according to American College of Sports worldwide survey. The reason for its popularity is due to its alternating high and low intervals that boost the metabolism for 48 hours after each workout. For a person looking to maintain their health, you only need to work out 2x a week in 15 minute intervals if you do High Intensity Interval Training.
7) Turn OFF Wi-Fi and Cellphone While Sleeping
The radiofrequency (RF) from wireless tablets, laptops and phones interrupt all 5 of our brain waves and it disrupts DNA repair. Three of our brain waves –alpha, theta, and delta – involve sleep and dreams. To add to the multiple benefits of good sleep listed in #1, some experts believe that dreaming is actually some kind of clearing-out process. More sleep researchers think that dreams serve the function of helping to reorganize and store psychological information taken in during the day. Want to learn why Radiofrequency (RF) radiation is currently classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Group 2B carcinogen? Read this: Can Wi-Fi and Cell Phones Cause Cancer?
8) Chia Seeds
Chia seeds deliver a massive amount of nutrients in small servings. I suppose this is why the Mayans named this seed “Chia” which translates as “Strength”. They are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and Omega 3(EPA/ALA). This inexpensive superfood is known to help with heart health, blood sugar levels and weight loss.
9) 24-hour Fasting
According to the website the Lean Look, occasional 24-hour fasts are remarkably beneficial because after you’ve fasted for about 18 hours your body releases human growth hormone, which allows the body to burn fat and maintain muscle. This means you have six hours of accelerated fat-burning. To add, the cleansing of the internal organs slows aging, regulates blood sugar, regulates digestion, eliminates waste, trains the body to burn fat and assists with food cravings. For those looking to make the most out of a fast, by eliminating a normal part of your routine for a day like eating, your brain could be forced into a more conscious state. I personally do my best problem solving and creative thinking while fasting. Tip: Add Apple Cider Vinegar to all the water you drink. Not only will it help your body by further cleansing the organs, the sour taste somehow helps with the hunger pains you will have in the first few fasts.
10) Make Healthy Meals in Bulk
One of the more common reasons people will choose an unhealthy meal is due to time constrictions. Our lives are busy! Dedicate one day a week to make healthy meals in large amounts, separate them into single portions or family sizes and then freeze them. This way you will have a quick, easy meal to make during the week when you know it’s hard to cook.
11) Dandelion Root Tea
There is a long list of benefits associated with Dandelion Root Tea including reducing inflammation and lower high blood pressure, but it is mostly known as being a healthier replacement for coffee. Dandelion Root does not have the same instant affect as coffee, but this incredible liver cleanser assists with increasing natural energy production by clearing out the junk the body accumulates that makes us feel sluggish.
12) Review Your Top 5
The previous suggestions are directly related to your bodily health. This suggestion is about your psychological health and how it can manifest into your bodily health through stress. A stressful lifestyle plays a large role in failing health. Reviewing your top 5 is crucial to achieving all your goals including your desire to achieve better health. Your top 5 are the people in your life you spend the most time with. Maybe you spend most your time with the same 3 people or the same 8 people. The amount is not the point, it is the message. For visual illustration, imagine you are a fish swimming in a stream with your family of other fish. When you are swimming with the current, all is pleasant with your family. Occasionally, you run across a little waterfall or current where you all collectively bite into a branch to sail the stream together making sure your fellow fishy family is safe and not pulled away by the obstacle. These little moments of team work and genuine care for one another makes it possible to continue to stay together when you float into the larger waterfalls quickly with little warning. In fact, sometimes you look back and wonder how you all made it out unscathed. Maybe it’s the love or maybe it’s the teamwork. Now, what if our fellow fishies were not this genuinely caring or supportive. Sometimes, the little currents might seem like large waterfalls if you all keep swimming over and into each other. After a few obstacles, you will learn that most currents you will ride alone and the waterfalls you will dread, but when you all are smooth sailing at least you will have someone to talk to again even if you secretly want to tear their fins off. In summary, keeping good company helps us to tackle all of life’s diversity with greater ease as well as propelling us forward to achieve greater feats than we could otherwise do alone.
“I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.”
― Jon Katz