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The New Year offers a fresh invitation to incorporate healthy new habits, which many of us continually aspire to. And yet, busy lives can take precedence over our best intentions. One solution is taking small steps to build momentum, expanding over time for added benefits. These simple tips go a long way to improving daily wellness:
Few habits can boost your wellness as much as daily optimism. In a vivid illustration of the mind-body connection, an American Heart Association study of 97,253 postmenopausal women found that positive thinkers were less likely than pessimists to develop coronary heart disease and had lower odds of death from any cause over the course of the 8-year trial.
Tea has a long and venerated history. It’s also packed with health benefits due to high concentrations of antioxidant polyphenols called catechins. There’s a brew for everyone, from white, black and green varieties, to herbals like ginger and peppermint, fruit infusions, targeted wellness blends and many more. Ever versatile, tea offers soothing comfort in winter and delicious hydration in summer. Incorporate some favorites into your daily life!
Cultivate healthy flora
Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that help to improve the balance of your intestinal microflora, which are vital for proper digestion, gastrointestinal function, metabolism, and immune health. But they do need a little help to thrive. To ensure you’re covered, enjoy probiotic-rich fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir and Miso. If you prefer probiotic supplements, choose a high quality brand, and take them on an empty stomach.
Factor in fitness
Along with helping you look and feel great, daily exercise can reduce many biomarkers of aging. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need at least five 30-minute sessions of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise weekly. Fortunately, several daily 10-minute bouts are effective too. No time for the gym? Grab a few crunches, push-ups, or squats at home, walk your dog, strike some yoga poses, and take the stairs whenever you can.
Go chemical free
We live in an age where chemicals infiltrate our lives on many levels. While it’s difficult to avoid these unhealthy intrusions, you do have the power of choice in many areas. You can:
- Choose organic food over conventional (especially Dirty Dozen items!)
- Go GMO-free. You’ll find GMO-free products in virtually every category here: http://www.nongmoproject.org/
- Seek out green, non-toxic cleaning and laundry supplies.
- Buy all-natural personal care products like soap, shampoo, and lotion─or make your own.
- Create landscaping that requires no chemical usage to maintain.
With a bit of cultivation, these wellness habits will become second nature, and will certainly complement what you’re already doing. Why not make 2015 your healthiest year yet?