5 Tips For A Healthier Body & Brain


5 Tips For A Healthier Body & Brain [EXPERT]
Maintaining a healthy diet goes a long way.
How to change your lifestyle habits for a healthier, happier you.

To keep your gut healthy and running smoothly, eat a balanced, whole foods diet with plenty of fiber and water. Replenish your bacterial flora regularly by eating cultured foods like yogurt, kefir, cultured vegetables, raw sauerkraut or kimchi. A probiotic supplement containing bifidobacterium and acidophilus will help to maintain or repopulate bacteria that may be lost due to a poor diet, stress, toxins or antibiotic use.

3. Cut out the sugar. In addition to acting as a source of empty calories, most sugars cause spikes in insulin that promote fat storage and can eventually lead to Type 2 Diabetes. Sugars also make the body work harder to maintain an alkaline pH, which can contribute to osteoporosis and disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

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Sugar also promotes inflammation and cardiovascular disease, accelerates the aging process, causes swings in energy and mood, as well as irritability and depression. To replace refined sugars, stick with naturally sweetened fruits that provide fiber and nutrients. Naturally sweet root vegetables like sweet potatoes, onions and beets also serve as an effective replacement for sugar. Use spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger which help to regulate blood sugar. 10 Reasons Quick Weight Loss Diets Leave You Fatter

4. Reduce your exposure to toxins. On any given day, we can be exposed to hundreds of toxins including car exhaust, BPA from canned foods, bottled water or cash register receipts. Unfortunately, pesticides and added chemicals in foods, as well as cleaning and personal care products also add toxins to our lives. Over time, they can accumulate in our fat cells, promote inflammation and may play a role in obesity and metabolic syndrome.

To minimize your exposure to toxins, avoid canned or processed foods and bottled water. Purchase organic produce, meats, and dairy products whenever possible and move towards using more natural or organically made soaps, shampoos, moisturizers and makeup. Also, consider periodically carrying out a metabolic detox to remove toxins at the cellular level. 10 Tips To Avoid Emotional Eating

5. Exercise. The same benefits that exercise provides to our bodies are experienced in our brains. Increased insulin sensitivity, decreased inflammation and an increase in oxygen sharpen our thinking, relieve stress and improve our moods. In fact, according to Dr. John Ratey in his book Spark, unlike anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications, exercise naturally balances all of our brain chemicals, strengthens connections between brain cells.

More from YourTango: Health Help: What Does 'Eating Well' Really Mean?

This encourages the hippocampus, a brain region involved in learning and memory, to produce new brain cells. Include at least thirty minutes of exercise daily with a combination of cardio work, resistance training and stretching. Try yoga, pilates, recreational sports or take a walk. Even house or yard work will produce the benefits.

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