When you think of promoting vitality, you might think about expensive creams, supplements and potions with the promise of a youthful glow. Unfortunately, we’ve all been burned by marketing that promises one thing and under-delivers. In truth, your body was meant to stay youthful. It’s our lifestyle choices that often work against our vitality.
Smoking is one somewhat extreme example of a habit that can age our bodies from the inside out, but there are many common things that we do that make us age before our time. If you eat processed foods, drink alcohol or spend too much time sitting on the couch, you’re probably aging faster than you should.
So, before you try an expensive supplement or cream to help you feel young again, try these lesser-known techniques that promote vitality.
Get more sleep
If you can only make one change to boost your vitality, make it this one: Get more sleep.
If you’re like most of us, you spend coffee-fueled days with just a few hours of shut-eye in between. Our fast-paced society leaves little room for adequate rest, so it’s no wonder that many of us are sleep deprived.
If you aren’t waking up feeling well-rested, you’re not getting enough sleep. In fact, you should be able to wake up before your alarm clock on most days. When you’re constantly hitting the snooze button, it’s a surefire sign that you need to go to bed earlier.
Not only will sleep help boost your productivity, mood and cognitive ability, but you’ll have a better feel for your overall health. If you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep regularly and are still feeling groggy, you may have an underlying health problem that needs to be addressed.
The immune system is hands-down the most important system for keeping us feeling healthy and vital. And meditation is one way to boost immune function while strengthening the mind. At least one study confirms that meditation can help your body fight illness.
The 2003 Psychosomatic Medicine study found that 8-week meditation training can result in higher levels of antibodies than in people who don’t meditate.
If you want to start your own practice, consider trying a guided meditation at home. Just 10 minutes a day is enough for most people to strengthen their minds and boost their immunity.
Focus on antioxidants
Unfortunately, we live in environments that are toxic. There are toxins everywhere, from the air to our food, and there’s no way to avoid them. The best we can do is limit our exposure to the bare minimum and let our bodies do the rest.
Antioxidants are one tool in the body’s toxin-fighting arsenal. Foods rich in antioxidants protect every cell in your body. Antioxidants are found in plant foods like fruits and vegetables. You’ve probably heard of these nutritional powerhouses, but you may not know that there are thousands of types of antioxidants.
That’s one reason why it’s important to get antioxidants from food instead of supplements. When you eat a peach or a piece of broccoli, you’ll get many more antioxidants than if you took a pill. The most popular antioxidants are some you may have heard of:
- Vitamins C and E
Although the antioxidants mentioned above are well-researched, there’s no reason to focus on getting one over another. Instead, try to eat a balanced diet rich in plant-derived superfoods, especially antioxidant-rich foods like berries, leafy greens, dark chocolate and wine.
Avoid processed foods
While antioxidants will protect your cells from some damage, it’s crucial to limit the amount of damage you’re experiencing. One major source of cell damage is processed foods. Processed foods and trans fats cause oxidative stress within the body that increases your need for antioxidants.
Keep in mind that antioxidants fight all oxidative stress. That includes stress that naturally forms within the body and stress from the environment. So, the goal should be to limit your exposure to the bad stuff and let the antioxidants take care of everything else.
Eat more iodine-rich foods
Iodine is an important trace mineral for vitality, but unfortunately, it’s difficult to get enough of it in your diet. It is a vital nutrient that can be found in every organ and tissue in the body, but it’s important to get just enough. Too much iodine can overload the system and lead to subclinical hypothyroidism.
This is why it’s better to get your iodine from iodine-rich foods instead of supplements. Iodine is primarily used to support the thyroid, which supports growth and metabolism, but it’s also used for many other things. For example, iodine has been used in medicine to help disinfect wounds and speed the healing process.
Many skincare experts also recommend iodine to help tone, firm and prevent wrinkles.
To get more of this vitality-promoting nutrient, add some of the following to your diet:
- Sea vegetables
- Organic yogurt
- Organic strawberries
- Organic potatoes
- Navy beans
Exercise every day
We all know that exercise is beneficial, but did you know that it can add years to your life? Exercise helps control your weight by promoting weight loss or helping you maintain a healthy weight. It can also prevent health conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and that’s not all.
Exercise can help boost your mood, improve energy and help you sleep better. It also offers a fun way to get active, get the blood flowing and feel more vital.
If you aren’t already exercising regularly, now is a good time to start. Just don’t let the thought overwhelm you. You can enjoy the benefits of exercise by getting more active throughout the day. The important part is to commit to exercising daily.
Everyone wants to find the fountain of youth, but the reality is that it’s found inside of each of us. All we must do to stay vital is to help our bodies work at their best. Tae care of your body and it will reward you with many years of health and vitality.