6 Natural Ways to Optimal Health

There are simple, fun, and sometimes effortless ways to extend your life
January 2, 2019 Updated: January 2, 2019

One of the greatest things we can wish for anyone is a long, happy life. It’s the motivation behind many of our healthiest habits. Luckily, there are many small, natural, preventative lifestyle changes that can help us live longer and with greater health.

Nutrition

Like a car, not all of the fuel you put into your body is created equal. Your diet can make a profound impact on how you feel, move, and live. Studies have sought out areas of the world that produce the most centenarians and determined common foods and eating habits of this exclusive group.

Among areas where people tend to live the longest in the world are Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and Ikaria, Greece. Their diets aren’t the same, but somethings come up often, like plants, legumes, and cheese (in Costa Rica and Greece at least). Goat’s milk pops up frequently in several long-lived communities, as does the absence of sugars, save naturally occurring sugars like those in fruit.

While vegetarianism isn’t necessary to live longer, it is an incredibly healthy lifestyle that can absolutely help you achieve a longer life.

portrait of senior woman cutting cucumbers while husband mixing vegetables for salad
(Shutterstock)

Belly Fat Reduction

The dangers of being overweight are well documented. Belly fat, specifically visceral fat in the belly, is known to be especially dangerous. Visceral fat is infamous because of its location in the abdominal wall and its ability to produce hormones associated with diabetes, chronic inflammation, gallbladder disease, and even breast cancer. However, belly fat responds well to lifestyle modifications such as exercise and nutrition.

Lowering Stress 

Stress has been proven to negatively impact your heart and body. A chronically stressful lifestyle can decrease your lifespan. Actively combat stress the way you would any other health issue. Some techniques that work well to reduce stress and the strain it puts on your health include exercise, meditation, spending time in nature, and, of course, working to reduce the stress load in your life.

Cut Out Vices

It seems obvious, but it’s one of those harder-than-it-sounds issues. Cut out the unhealthy vices. Smoking, drinking to excess, drug abuse, consuming fast food and sugary foods, even a sedentary lifestyle can cut decades off your life. While it won’t kill you to indulge in your vices every now and again, a lifestyle built around seemingly innocent things like fast food and vegging out in front of the TV is terrible for your health. It might be tempting to stay in with a pizza, but ignoring your friends and social fulfillment can cut your life shorter, statistically speaking.

Sleep

Sleep is an important part of our daily regenerative processes. It reduces stress, lowers your blood pressure, improves your memory, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and decreases the likelihood of inflammation in the digestive tract. Getting good sleep is one of the best things you can do to maintain your body and improve your general quality of life. It’s important to adhere to the tenets of good sleep, like keeping screens out of the bedroom, cutting down on caffeine in the evening, and sticking to a good sleep schedule.   

Smart Sun Exposure

Sun exposure is one of those things that requires finding a healthy middle ground to get the most benefit. Exposure to sunlight creates vitamin D in the body, which is linked to bone health as well as mental health. But the sun’s rays can be harmful, and skin cancer is always a concern. The trick is to be mindful of your time in the sun and don’t overexpose yourself. Avoid sunscreen with oxybenzone (which has been proven to harm ocean life like coral reefs). Take care of sunburns, stay away from tanning beds, and if you notice an odd mole or skin growth, have it checked out. 

This article was originally published on NaturallySavvy.com

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