Now that summer is well and truly here we want to be healthy enough to enjoy it to the fullest. Here are eight healthy tips to help keep you in tip-top condition this summer.
Get on the berries
Take the opportunity to enjoy some summer fruits like blackberries and blueberries. These fruits are especially high in antioxidants which may help prevent a lot of illnesses related to the aging process. The phytochemicals found in berries are said to protect us from cell damage that can lead to a number of illnesses. Berries are also high in fiber so can help to keep the cholesterol levels down.
Another great reason to eat berries regularly are their ability to preserve our cognitive abilities as we age, according to a study from 2012. This is great news and studies have even shown that blueberries may even help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. This could be due to a flavanoid found in the berries known as anthocyanin, which studies have found to improve the cognitive function of animals.
Have green tea everyday
Green tea has long been hailed as a beverage very beneficial to our health. Scientists have found that by regularly drinking green tea it can help to improve the quality of our skin and hair, aid digestion and even help us to lose stomach fat by increasing the metabolism. These effects are mainly due to the high levels of antioxidants found in green tea.
Specifically, a catechin known as EGCG brings about the biggest health benefits for our body and mind, said to be capable of helping with conditions such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and urinary tract infections. The EGCG in green tea is found in quantities that make it between 25-100 times stronger than Vitamin C as an antioxidant.
Green tea also has several other powerful components including Vitamin B, C and E as well as other beneficial catechins. These combinations also help green tea to be effective in combating bacterial and viral infections such as colds and flu.
Researchers have also found that women who drink green tea have a considerably reduced risk factor of developing breast cancer. Similarly, men who drink green tea regularly are half as likely to develop prostate cancer as those that do not, one study found.
The type and quality of green tea do also play a part in the overall health benefits. Typically, using a high-quality tea is always recommended to get the most benefits. Furthermore, Matcha green tea is said to have the highest levels of nutrients and antioxidants as Matcha is essentially the green tea leaves that have been ground into a powder. Many people swear by using this form of green tea to help stave off colds and flu.
Meditate for a clear and balanced mind
Daily meditation is an excellent way to help you de-stress, focus your mind and bring in greater mental clarity to your day. As little as 10 minutes of meditation per day can be effective to help improve the quality of your daily life.
People use meditation for many different reasons. From helping to cope with specific emotional states such as anxiety, fear, anger or worry to helping improve their sleep, academic performance and various cognitive abilities.
The samurai were frequent practitioners of meditation. Zen Buddhist monks taught the samurai a number of meditative exercises in an attempt to clam and passify their aggressive, war-like nature. However, the samurai found the calming effects very beneficial in battle and also used it to help improve their powers of focus, concentration, clarity and awareness.
Meditating regularly has been found to be not only beneficial for helping to calm stress and reduce anxiety, but also in it’s ability to help rejuvenate the body.
Here is an interesting video on Zen meditation for beginners.
Take light exercise
Gentle, daily exercise is a great way to invigorate your body and get your qi moving. Now with the fantastic summer weather we are having, it’s a great time to take advantage and enjoy some simple jogging, cycling or even walking outside.
Going for an early morning jog or brisk walk first thing before breakfast can be a great way to start the day. If it is possible for you, head on over to your local park or forest to make the most of the fresh, clean air as you work out.
Exercising regularly also makes you feel good and will help you start the day on the right note. This is because of the effect that exercise can have on boosting your endorphins, our bodies natural pain and stress fighters.
Stretching daily can be a great way to help to maintain your bodies health. By stretching daily you can not only help to improve your flexibility but you can also help your circulation, increase your range of movement and even help to alleviate pain.
Stretching the whole body also has a similar effect to as doing other forms of exercise in the way that it helps to stimulate endorphin release. These happy peptides help to reduce stress levels and make us feel good.
Get help from the bees
Every year, thousands of people suffer from hay-fever all across the UK during the spring and summer months. This year especially has seen an increase in the amount of people suffering from this allergy. However, there are a couple of remedies that people often find effective.
Try having some local honey every morning to help boost up your immunity. Although further research is needed to prove weather eating local honey (within a 10 mile radius of where you live) does actually have a physiological effect on your bodies ability to fight the allergic reaction, many people believe this to be the case and like to eat local honey, particularly during the spring and summer months.
Of course, acupuncture can also be very effective for hay-fever however, for best results it is advised that sufferers come for treatment during the season before they are typically affected. Therefore, if the summer is particularly the month that you are effected the most from hay-fever then begin your acupuncture sessions in the spring.
Join a Chi Gong class
Qi Gong is an ancient form of Chinese breathing exercises. Originating as far back as 4,000 years ago, Qi Gong is a series of breathing exercises said to benefit and even heal our internal organs, various aspects of our body and even prolong life. Many Chi Gong practitioners believe that it is one of the secrets to longevity.
Besides this, Qi Gong also helps to promote a healthy and clear mind, improve the depth and quality of sleep, clear the skin, effect the metabolism, improve vision, and improve your overall mood.
Here is a video showing 8 simple Qi Gong movements for beginners.
Juicing is excellent for packing your body full of vitamins and nutrients. How often do you manage to get your ‘5 a day?’ Many people when asked, frequently miss these important aspects of their diet. However, with juicing (and I primarily mean vegetable juice here, and not so much fruit – explanation coming in a minute) you can easily get in those essential nutrients and more!
Regular juicing is a great way to increase the alkalinity of your body. Scientists have found that those who experience very few health complaints have a more alkaline internal environment, whereas people who suffer from regular or numerous health complaints tend to have a more acidic bodily environment. This state can be due to our diets, to external pollutants in the environment, to the plastics our food is wrapped in, to the kind of emotional states we frequently experience and so forth. For a list of acid and alkaline producing foods, please click here.
It is best to avoid or to put only a very little amount of fruit in your juicer as fruit has a high sugar content, which in turn leads to a more acidic environment. That is not to say that fruit is at all harmful, just that it is better not to consume too much so you are not getting an overload of sugar. One apple for example contains around 25% of your bodies RDA of sugar!
A great recipe to get you started:
4 sticks of celery
1/3 of a cucumber
1 apple (for flavour)
Place the above ingredients in a juicer, then add to a blender with
1 big handful of baby spinach leaves
1 teaspoon of wheat grass powder (optional)
1/2 glass of mineral water
This makes about two glasses of healthy juice, packed full of chlorophyll to help oxygenate your blood and get your body glowing.