The importance of eating well and moving your body are well documented, but what about all the other areas of daily life that impact your current and future health? In many cases, the daily routines and long ingrained habits people form do more harm than good. Make sure your overall health and wellness are well protected by reading up on the 6 habits that prematurely age you:
Chronic stress is not only the leading cause of chronic illness, such as heart disease and diabetes, it’s also the leading cause of aging. Stress and anxiety lead to difficulty sleeping, poor eating choices, a weakened immune system and accelerated aging in the body, impacting both skin health and internal health.
Take steps to reduce stress every day, in whatever form possible. This might mean deep breathing, regular yoga or meditation class, exercise, therapy, journaling, long baths or scheduling social time.
If only afternoon naps were still a daily requirement! Sleep deprivation ages your body, increases stress and anxiety, and causes hormonal imbalance; most noticeably, an increase in cortisol, which is directly responsible for fat storage and belly fat.
Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night, and if that’s not possible, try to find a time to snag a quick 15 minute nap at some point during your daily routine. Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet to encourage deep, restful slumber and unplug your phone, computer and TV at least an hour before hitting the sheets.
Though low-fat diets became very hip over 50 years ago, we now know that healthy fats are actually necessary for brain function, a strong heart, supple skin, nutrient absorption and even fat burning.
Look for healthy omega 3 fats found in walnuts, olive oil, avocado, nuts and wild-caught salmon. A little bit goes a long way, so add a small amount of these foods to your daily meals to reap the most health benefits.
The average American eats 150 pounds of sugar each year. In addition to being bad for the waist line and risk of chronic illness such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, refined sugar consumption is also terrible for the skin and teeth. Eating sugar has the same wrinkle causing, skin aging effects as smoking and tanning.
Opt for fresh fruit instead, satisfying your sweet tooth with natures candy like blueberries which provide the body with antioxidants that combat the signs of aging plus fiber to help keep blood sugar stable.
Uneven Work-Life Balance
Healthy living is all about balance. When your hours and energy all go to your work obligations, especially if your job is particularly draining, demanding or exhausting, you increase your risk for heart disease, decrease brain healthy and markedly reduce your desire or ability to engage in healthy living behaviors, such as exercise, clean eating, stress management and adequate sleep.
If switching to another job or career isn’t an option, focus on ways to reduce the negative health impacts of your current ones. This might mean reducing hours slightly, taking 15 minute breaks to get some air, or employing deep breathing techniques throughout your day. And be sure to schedule downtime and/or mini-vacations so that you have something to get excited about and look forward to.
Eighty percent of sun exposure comes from cumulative everyday outings, such as driving, walking or even sitting next to the window at the office. This can lead not only to skin cancer, but wrinkles, dull skin and sun spots as well.
Limit your sun exposure by applying a face and body moisturizer with at least 30 SPF daily, wear sunglasses to prevent crow’s feet and quit your ‘baking in the sun’ habit immediately. Aim for 5-10 minutes of sun exposure to improve vitamin D production and absorption, but outside of that, cover up!
For personalized support and information related to clean eating, balanced nutrition, and healthy lifestyle, visit Eat Clean Health and look at the variety of nutrition plans, programs, detoxes and meal plans found there. And don’t forget to sign up for the Eat Clean Health monthly newsletter.