Exercise and eating right aren't the only ways we can take care of our body. While there are countless ways we can all do our body good, here are three that you can start doing right now.
1) Eat Slowly
Why: Yes, we’ll certainly feel fuller if it takes us longer to clean our plate, but we miss out on some digestive action of we throw food down the hatch too quickly.
When we eat slowly, digestive enzymes in our mouth begin breaking down carbohydrate right away. Our saliva – as gooey and icky as it may be when it doesn’t stay in our mouth is really helpful, particularly when it makes contact with food. Saliva reabsorbs nitrates from our foods, primarily green leafy vegetables and beets. These nitrates are converted into nitrites by bacteria on our tongues. When this nitrate-rich saliva gets swallowed into acidic gastric juices, it converts to nitric oxide, reducing inflammation throughout the body. (Lipski, 2012, p. 13)
2) Sleep at least 7 to 8 Hours
Why: As hard (or impossible) as it may be to get a full night of sleep, a good night of rest actually keeps our body leaner.
A 2010 University of Chicago study looked at two groups of people, both on a low-calorie diet. One group slept 5.5 hours a night, and another group slept 8.5 hours a night. Interestingly enough, both groups lost the same amount of weight (7 pounds), but the sleep-deprived group lost mostly muscle in comparison to the rested group that lost mostly fat.
This study was only conducted over a two week period! Now, the participants were indeed overweight to begin with, so the fact that they lost weight on a low-calorie diet is not a shocker. The real eye-opener is the huge disparity between muscle and fat loss. Sleeping has a way of regulating certain key hormones, including:
- regulatingcortisol levels (the stress hormone that is often associated with midsection weight gain)
- regulating human growth hormone (a hormone closely related to appropriate fat metabolism)
3) Take 10 Deep Breaths
“Take a deep breath.” We’ve heard it a million times, but it works. In fact, if you take a few minutes each day to breathe deeply, you’re giving your body the relaxationresetit needs. By breathing deeply, you turn on the parasympathetic side of your nervous system, which allows you to rest and digest.
A few good, deep breaths everyday also helpto:
- Drive oxygen to the muscles
- Strengthen the heart
- Remove toxins (and lots of them!)
I hope you have a chance to work these easy, but often overlooked tips!
Traci D Mitchell is a Chicago-based health and fitness expert, and creator of the 40-Day Shape Up, a program that dishes out body-type eating plans and regular functional fitness workouts. If you’re not joining Traci on Facebook yet, now’s a great time!