It has been said that our bodies are our temples – and like any “temple”, quite a bit of upkeep is required to keep it functioning well. Modern science is also telling us that good nutrition is essential to maintaining good health and preventing chronic illness in the long term. Some even say “let food be your medicine”. From a nutritional perspective, we are so fortunate to live at this time in history, where we have ready access to the kind of nutrients that promote longevity and vitality – and so much knowledge to help us make good choices.
So let’s talk about the top ten primary things that you should be focused on, in order to keep that youthful vitality going for as long as possible and prevent the onset of common health issues.
When we become ill, we tend to look to our medical professionals for answers. However, if health care is not affordable, easily accessible, or does not seem imminently necessary, here are some natural methods to curing our common health issues.
1. Get More Magnesium
Magnesium is a required component in over 300 chemical reactions throughout the body. Imbalanced magnesium levels have been positively associated with anxiety, stress, and insomnia. It has been shown to help reduce the production and release of cortisol, a hormone made by the adrenal glands.
Also, if you have problems related to inflammation (including memory loss and brain fog), magnesium reduces inflammation by slowing down the overproduction of cytokines, which tend to be the culprits behind a lot of bodily inflammation.
2. Stay Hydrated
Most of us do not stay properly hydrated. Those with disorders that cause chronic dryness (such as Sjogren’s Syndrome) develop cognitive struggles in addition to dry eyes, skin, and mouth. Even a 2% increase in dehydration can negatively impact the brain, which is composed of 73% water. Staying hydrated by consuming enough water can help curb these symptoms and keep you healthy.
3. Eat Your Leafy Greens
Dark, leafy greens give your body the folate it needs. Folate deficiency is relatively common and causes chronic fatigue, early graying of the hair, and oral sores. Folate deficiency can also lead to anemia, which is marked by pale skin, shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, and feeling weak.
4. Sub Peppermint For Pepto-Bismol
Forget about buying that over-the-counter stuff with an unpleasant taste and opt for peppermint when you get a bout of indigestion. Although those with acid reflux caused by GERD might not get a ton of relief from non-enteric coated peppermint, peppermint has been shown to be effective at reducing stomach pain and inflammation. Peppermint can be added to tea and tends to have a decent taste.
5. Get Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D is something many of us are deficient in and just don’t know it until it shows up in our blood work. Our bodies need Vitamin D to regulate the absorption of phosphorus and calcium, regulate insulin levels, keep our bones and teeth healthy, and keep our heart and lungs properly functioning. Getting just 5-10 minutes of sun exposure a few times a week and/or taking Vitamin D supplements can help boost your health.
6. Treat Inflammation With Turmeric
You might have seen turmeric supplements on the shelf at your local grocer or pharmacy and wondered what it is. Turmeric is a bright yellow spice commonly used in Indian cuisine that has been found to help reduce inflammation. It has been used for more than 5,000 years to treat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s Disease. Some studies find that adding turmeric to your daily intake might even prevent cancer by inhibiting normal cells from becoming tumor cells.
7. Balance Yourself With Basil
Got vertigo? Vertigo can be caused by a number of illnesses, such as anemia, dehydration, vision problems, and thyroid diseases. Holy Basil (or Tulsi) is a natural form of vertigo relief. Studies show that just chewing on 2 Tulsi leaves per day while on an empty stomach can help curb vertigo, as can boiling 2 basil leaves in 1 cup of water and consuming it as a tea.
8. Pump Up Your Probiotics
Hippocrates once postulated that all diseases begin in the gut. The digestive system is home to 80% of the body’s immune system is also a major part of the neurological system. Many of us simply aren’t aware of how big of a rule gut flora plays in how we feel. When we have too many unhealthy gut flora, we experience a range of symptoms and illnesses, from leaky gut to joint pain. Adding healthy probiotics to your diet can boost your digestion, your immune system, and your cognitive functioning.
Healthy probiotics can be found in yogurt, kefir, and protein powders. Also, if you are a vegan, there are vegan options available!
9. Try Licorice Root Tea
Do you have a pesky dry cough or a sore throat? Try adding 1 teaspoon of dried licorice root to 2 cups of water, and let this boil for 5 minutes. Allow the tea to sit for at least 5 more minutes before straining the licorice root and drinking the tea. Licorice root lines the throat with mucus which helps to protect the tissues in the throat. It has been shown to elevate blood pressure, so those with high blood pressure might want to avoid using licorice root. However, it is safe for most people.
10. Up the Antioxidants
Our bodies produce free radicals, which can cause cellular damage if there aren’t enough antioxidants available to fight off these free radicals. Those with autoimmune disorders, cancer, and other serious conditions do not have bodies that naturally produce enough antioxidants to fight free radicals. This can cause problems with the internal organs and immune system. Antioxidants can be found in various foods, including pomegranates, blackberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, artichoke, and kale. Stepping up your consumption of antioxidant-rich foods, like these, or taking quality antioxidant supplements, can help your body better fend off free radicals and support a healthier immune system.
Not all of these natural remedies will work for everyone, but they are some of the most commonly used natural treatments for various health issues. Of course, if you are experiencing persistent and/or debilitating symptoms, you should contact your doctor to find out what step you should take next in reclaiming your health.
Lucy Miller is a nutrition student, marathon runner, and a passionate writer for Mind Your Zen, a brain nutrition supplement resource. She contributes to a number of health information sites sharing useful health tips from her research as a nutrition student.