Simple, healthy habits practised daily can protect you from serious health problems like diabetes and hypertension. They can help you stay in shape, have more energy, feel happy, and age gracefully.
To lead a life with good physical and mental health doesn’t come without effort. Mindful living and healthier lifestyle choices are hugely important to sustain one’s well-being. Like little drops make a mighty ocean, little efforts made every day consistently will lead you to healthy living. Here are fourteen healthy habits that, when practised daily, provide numerous benefits and good health in the long run.
Healthy Habits To Follow Daily
1. Wake up before 6 am
Waking up early in the morning has some serious perks!
We all have days when we’re in a rush and don’t have time to exercise. Waking up with the sun will give you more time for yourself- more time to enjoy your coffee, more time to exercise, less time in traffic, more effective day-planning, more productivity, and good sleep when you wind off. Plus, it is an awesome feeling to wake up to the sounds of nature and birds- just them!
Respecting your body’s sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm) helps regulate your hormones, leading to better sleep, a more rejuvenated body, and better physical and mental health.
Hence, waking up early when made a daily habit makes you healthy physically and mentally.
2. Do oil pulling after cleaning your teeth
The ancient Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling has some impressive benefits that brushing alone may not provide.
Oil pulling helps,
- reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth
- eliminate fungal infection
- reduce bad breath
- improve gum health
- prevent cavities
- whiten teeth
Thus, when done together, brushing and oil pulling can make a huge difference in the health of your teeth and gums.
It also benefits your skin in several ways, such as moisturising lips, improving acne, fighting signs of ageing, and reducing flabs on the face. Hence, it is a valuable, healthy habit to follow daily.
3. Have bowel movements in the morning daily
According to modern medicine, pooping at least thrice a week is considered normal. However, having daily bowel movements in the morning prepares your body for the day in a better way. It makes you feel light and hungry and helps you enjoy your food. Not only this, but regular bowel movements also aid in effective digestion and nutrient absorption and prevent constipation.
Ayurveda strongly recommends having daily bowel movements, and if you don’t have regular bowel movements, you are advised to set aside some time in the morning for this purpose. Drinking warm water before going to the toilet can also help. When you develop this habit, you will never want to break it.
4. Practise mild stretches to awaken your body
If your workout isn’t in the morning, you must at least practise some simple stretches before you start your day. A well-rested body will also be lazy and lethargic. Your joints and muscles may feel stiff and achy when you wake up. However, gentle movements can do wonders to nudge our body back into action and alleviate the achiness in our muscles.
Simple stretches can,
- improve blood circulation
- improve joint movement and flexibility
- reduce pain
- improve posture
- elevate mood
A couple rounds of Surya namaskar is a great way to awaken your body and senses.
5. Don’t skip breakfast
We hear you! When intermittent fasting has become one of the trusted ways to live a healthier life, skipping breakfast may only seem healthy. But skipping the first meal of the day is not for everyone.
Skipping breakfast can have a number of negative effects on your health, such as slowing down your metabolism – the rate at which your body burns calories – which can lead to weight gain over time. In addition, it can cause lower sugar levels and increased blood pressure, which can harm your overall health. Furthermore, skipping breakfast can reduce muscle and brain function and even trigger migraines in some people. Therefore, having a healthy breakfast is important to keep your body and mind functioning optimally.
6. Include at least one plant-based healthy food ingredient in every meal
Adding more plant-based foods not only adds diversity to your meal, making it interesting but also provides valuable health benefits.
Some of the health benefits of plant-based foods are:
- Rich in fibre
- Contains various vitamins and minerals
- Reduces the risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome
- Prevent certain cancers (colon, breast, and prostate)
Metabolic syndrome is having three or more of the following medical conditions: High blood pressure, High blood sugar, Obesity, Low levels of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol), and High levels of triglycerides.
7. Make one snack healthy with nuts and fruits
Think snacks, and often our minds go to pastries, chocolates, chips, and fries. However, most processed foods are high in sugar, carbs, and unhealthy fats, which can lead to health problems like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.
Instead, choosing fruits and nuts as a snacking option can be a great way to avoid unhealthy snacks while also getting essential vitamins and minerals. These healthy options can help you maintain a healthier lifestyle and prevent the health risks of processed foods. So, practise this healthy habit daily to feel energised all day.
8. Include healthy herbs and spices in your meal
Every kitchen should be stocked with healthy herbs and spices, and they must be used in everyday cooking for the amazing health benefits they provide you.
Herbs and spices like turmeric, black pepper, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, garlic, etc., have various medicinal properties like antioxidants, anticoagulants, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, glucose-and-cholesterol-lowering, and brain-function-improving properties.
You can chew them raw, crush them and sprinkle them on dishes, or drink them as herbal teas. Just make sure to include a few of them in your daily diet.
9. Have your last meal before 8 pm
For a long time, nutritionists believed in the “Calories in, calories out” theory, which suggests that weight gain or loss depends on the number of calories consumed and expended.
However, recent studies have shown that the time of day you eat can significantly impact your body’s blood sugar levels and fat-burning process. People who ate dinner after 7 pm had peak blood sugar levels that were almost 20% higher, and their fat-burning capacity was reduced by 10% when compared to those who ate dinner earlier.
Even if 7 pm is too early, let your last meal be by 8 pm. Doing so can prevent obesity and spiked blood sugar levels.
10. Let go of grudges
It is common to feel resentment towards someone who has caused you harm. However, holding onto a grudge for an extended period can harm your mental health and add stress to your life. Many studies have shown that holding onto grudges can even lead to cognitive decline. Although it may not be easy, letting go of these negative emotions can incredibly benefit your well-being and is worth the effort.
11. Laugh more
“Laughter is the best medicine” is no joke. It is a slightly exaggerated saying but a healthful one!
Laughing has the power to heal certain ailments and accelerate the recovery process from illnesses. A good, hearty laugh can benefit your neurological, emotional, physical, and cognitive health. Moreover, laughter is infectious and can spread to those around you, improving their overall well-being as well. Just a few minutes of laughter can help clear your mind and allow you to think creatively.
A few benefits of laughter:
- Reduce blood pressure
- Lessen pain
- Relax muscle tension
- Reduce heart rate
- Improve immune system functioning
- Release feel-good neurochemicals, including serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, etc.
- Boost productivity at work
- Enhance social bonding
So, watch funny videos or memes, share jokes with colleagues, or even fake laugh with your loved one until it gets real – Do it every day for your well-being.
12. Shut your gadgets down one hour before bedtime and read a good book
Undoubtedly, digital devices have improved our lives in many ways, but their excessive and irresponsible use also has many downsides.
Using gadgets mindfully only when necessary and with a schedule is crucial to maintaining your health and well-being. Particularly, shutting down all the gadgets, including the TV, at least an hour before bed ensures a good night’s sleep. With a good night’s sleep comes good physical and mental health.
Studies found that using these devices interferes with the production of melatonin, the natural hormone released when you are tired and ready to sleep. Hence, when you doomscroll your phone, your brain is wide awake, thinking you’re not tired yet. This can severely impact your sleep cycle, which can later become a full-bloomed problem of insomnia or sleeplessness.
Thus, ditching digital devices an hour before bed is important for a healthier life. Instead, reading a good book in bed has been found to promote better sleep.
13. Journal every day
Keeping a journal daily is a wonderful habit that can help you appreciate the positive things in your life and foster gratitude. Practising gratitude has been found to positively impact your mental health, making you feel more content and happy in life.
When journaling, reflect on your day, noting both the good and challenging moments. At the end of each month, take time to read through your journal and reflect on your progress. This can help you identify areas where you have grown and moved forward, giving you a more positive outlook on life. By regularly focusing on the positive aspects of your life, you can cultivate a sense of appreciation and gratitude that can help you feel happier and more fulfilled.
14. Go to bed before 11 pm
The post has come full circle now, starting and ending with sleep habits. As said earlier, the body’s internal clock, called the circadian rhythm, regulates physical and mental functioning. Respecting this rhythm ensures your body functions efficiently, resulting in good physical and mental health.
Studies have also found that sleeping before 11 pm lowers one’s risk of heart disease and results in fewer metabolic disorders, including diabetes.
Achieving and maintaining good physical and mental health is essential for a happy and fulfilling life. Fortunately, it is not impossible. It requires determination and a well-thought-out plan to practice simple habits consistently that offer incredible benefits.
Habits like choosing healthy foods, snacking on fruits or nuts, regular exercise, a consistent sleep schedule, and a positive outlook are all simple to follow daily. What’s required is the determination to follow through.