For sustainable health and wellness, you need to think about making long-term changes. Lifestyle changes do not come easy, but they are a must if you want to invest in your future. Beautiful, glowing skin is a product of many factors not limited to diet, environment and genetics. Employing these changes in your life will not only have a positive effect on your complexion, but your longevity as well.
1. Eat more fibre-rich foods
Foods that are in high in fibre such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains can prevent or even reverse type 2 diabetes. Fibre slows down the digestion of foods and allows the gut to benefit from the incretin effect wherein insulin levels increase and blood glucose goes down. Fruits have gotten a bad rap recently because of the fructose content, but the difference between fructose from fruits and regular fructose (like in white sugar), is that the fibre in fruits slows down the glycemic load drastically, making it healthier, not to mention the vitamins and minerals.
2. Grow your own herbs, fruits and vegetables
You can easily grow your own fresh produce at home with a little bit of effort. This encourages people to cook more often, which should reduce the need to eat out. While there is nothing wrong with dining out per se, one is faced with a multitude of bad choices and little to no assurance at the nutritional content. The only way you can be sure of what you’re eating is to make it yourself. Also, fresh herbs add a lot of flavor without jacking up the sodium content. Excessive sodium intake increases blood pressure and puts additional stress on the kidneys.
3. Choose water over coloured drinks
Stay away from coloured drinks like soda and juice and have some water instead. Aside from having zero calories, water also contains no harmful ingredients. Diet soda/juices are essentially calorie-free, but they are loaded with cancer-causing ingredients. Even fruit juices can be loaded with artificial sweeteners or excess sugar. While they contain some vitamins and minerals, juice extracted from fruit is stripped of fibre, which is very important for digestion and blood glucose levels. Just because something is labeled as organic, all-natural, no preservatives, etc. doesn't mean it isn't loaded with calories.
4. Watch your cholesterol levels
The problem with high cholesterol levels is that it increases the risk of stroke or heart attack. Fat accumulating in the arteries is never a good thing, so a health diet is essential. Foods high in cholesterol include butter, lard, egg yolks, full-fat cheese, full-cream milk, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and saturated fats. Make sure your LDL aka “bad” cholesterol is low and that your HDL aka “good” cholesterol is higher. Triglycerides, the most common type of fat in the body, vary according to age and sex. High triglyceride levels combined with high LDL and low HDL have been associated with increased fatty deposits along arterial walls, which increase the risk for stroke and heart attack.
5. Good quality sleep
Your sleep is composed of 90-minute cycles REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) cycles. In the early stages of sleep, we enter NREM which is still light and marks the beginning of our senses being disengaged from surroundings. Then comes the later stages of NREM, which is the deep sleep. Blood pressure drops, breathing slows, muscles relax, blood flow increases, tissue growth and repair occurs and energy is restored. The growth hormone is also released in this stage. NREM takes up 75% of the night.
On the other hand, REM provides energy to the brain, eyes dart back and forth, and the muscles are immobile. Most importantly, this stage supports daytime performance. Though this only takes up 25% of the night, it is still just as important as NREM because it plays a heavy influence on how your waking hours will go. Have at least 6-8 hours of sleep at appropriate hours (between 10pm-7am) are recommended.