Brighter days are ahead - which means that now is a great time to spring clean your health! No, you don’t have to embark on a strict detox programme. There are lots of healthy ways to refresh your body and mind, and get ready for the summer months.
Here’s a simple health guide to spring-cleaning your body and mind from the inside out!
Have a good sleep
Sleep deprivation can make you tired, irritable, and unproductive. It affects your performance at work, in relationships, and most importantly, your health.
When you sleep, your cells get a chance to rebuild and repair. A lack of sleep means this function is impaired. Studies have shown that the areas of your brain you use while awake get a surge of healthy energy when you sleep. This is due to an increase in ATP that helps to replenish brain processes needed to function normally.
Sleep is also crucial for healthy immune function: those who get less than six hours of sleep a night are four times more likely to catch a cold than those who sleep for longer. Poor sleep can also affect your skin and hair! Capillaries may tighten up, restricting the flow of nutrients to the skin and scalp, which can result in a dull complexion and lifeless locks. Getting a good night’s sleep each night may actually be more beneficial than expensive cosmetics!
Try a natural detox
Your liver, kidneys, and lymphatic system are constantly working to flush out harmful compounds. But bad habits can mean that these organs become a little overloaded with toxins in your food and in your environment.
Signs of a sluggish detoxification system can include indigestion, bloating, skin rashes, brain fog, headaches, insomnia, aching joints, sore muscles - to name a few. This is when a gentle detox could be very beneficial.
A good detox supplement should contain plants, fruits, and herbs that have been shown to help your detoxification organs to function more efficiently. Herbs such as dandelion, nettle, green tea, and ginger have the amazing ability to help to rid your body of toxins and accumulated impurities. The natural compounds in these plants can gently stimulate your elimination organs without stressing them out.
Get active and keep fit every day
Exercise can not only help you trim down, it has enormous benefits for mood, immune function, and your gut health. Regular exercise has been shown to help boost the ‘good’ bacteria in your gut, including the type that reduces inflammatory processes in the body.
Exercise also boosts endorphins, your ‘happy chemicals' which help to improve cognitive function while also reducing anxiety, depression, and low mood.
Being physically active doesn’t have to be boring, difficult, or even painful. Choose an activity you enjoy, like walking the dog, jogging, cycling, or even playing Wii tennis - and try to do it for at least 30 minutes each day. Anything that gets your heart rate up could make a huge difference to your overall health.
Boost your gut health
Around 100 trillion bacteria live in your gut, and up to 70 percent of those are immune cells. These gut bacteria all play a part in preventing disease and keeping your body functioning as it should. And more immune cells means a stronger immune system!
Probiotic supplements come in handy here. Probiotics are the ‘good’ bacteria that live in your gut and help break down the food you eat. This is important for absorbing all the valuable nutrients in food, such as B vitamins, vitamin K and short-chain fatty acids. All of these are required by different areas in your body to support energy production, tissue repair and maintenance, cognitive function and hundreds of other processes.
Look for a probiotic supplement that has been designed to survive the highly acidic environment of the gut.
Stress can wreak all sorts of havoc on your body and mind - and most of us could certainly say we’ve experienced a bit of it this year! But 10-15 minutes of daily belly-breathing (also known as diaphragmatic breathing) could benefit your mental health in lots of ways.
Belly-breathing simply means using your diaphragm rather than your lungs to draw in air, allowing for full oxygen exchange in the lungs. This is the fastest way to oxygenate your blood. This extra flow of oxygen not only boosts energy but helps to pull the brakes on your body’s stress response. Your brain stops telling your hypothalamus to activate the adrenal glands that produce stress hormones, and instead allows you to return to a calm state of ‘rest and digest’.
Try a Digital Detox
Taking time out from screens and other technology is one of the best ways to reboot your brain. In fact, research has drawn a link between extensive screen time and symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
When you’re not constantly staring at news feeds, emails, social media updates and other electronic stimuli, your mind gets a chance to relax and be in the present moment. Try disconnecting for a short period each day with a digital detox and do things which involve no electronics at all, like gardening, reading a book (a real one!) or just hanging out with friends and family.
Rehydrate and stay hydrated
The easiest and most effective way to spring-clean your body is to drink more water! Water is absolutely essential for life: after all, it makes up almost three-quarters of your body. It’s not only required for flushing waste from the body but for carrying nutrients to your cells, facilitating digestion, and keeping your kidneys in good order. Water also supports the moisture content of your skin, eyes, and all your organs. It keeps your joints lubricated, and regulates the balance of electrolytes in your body.
Poor hydration can actually lead to headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, and constipation. Aim to drink at least two litres of fresh, filtered water each day. Rather than downing a glass in one go, carry a bottle around with you and take sips throughout the day.