The state of your skin can give many clues about the appropriateness of your diet and lifestyle. Ideally, the skin is smooth and clear with good elasticity. There are no dark circles under the eyes. Dry skin, acne and itchy rashes can signify that you may be eating foods that are not optimal for you (e.g., acne – dairy, refined sugar products) or that you are lacking in some dietary component (e.g., dry skin – water, omega 3 fatty acids and other fats). If your skin is not looking it’s best, try changing your diet. Try increasing your intake of water, healthy fats (salmon, avocado, nuts), fruit and veggies (berries, sweet potato and leafy greens are best). Also, make sure you are reducing your intake refined sugar, dairy and alcohol (or better still cut it out completely) and switch to natural and organic skincare products. Wait 2-3 weeks and watch the health of your skin transform.
The bowels are a major indicator of the state of our health. Digestion is crucial for the breakdown, assimilation and absorption of nutrients, so it is easy to see how disturbances in digestion can keep you from looking and feeling your best. Not to mention the role digestion plays in many inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. Ideally, you should be moving your bowels at least once a day, but not much more than three times daily! If you’re having trouble moving your bowels try drinking a large glass of warm water with squeeze of fresh lemon juice or try going for a brisk walk or doing some other form of exercise to help stimulate the bowels. Taking probiotics or eating probiotic rich foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, or pot set natural yoghurt are also great for keeping your digestive system healthy.
Vibrant energy is a classic indicator of health. Do you wake refreshed and ready to start your day? Are you able to stay mentally sharp throughout the day without artificial stimulants (i.e. caffeine or sugar)? If you wake up groggy after 7-8 hours of sleep and feel drained or lethargic after lunch, then it’s time to take a look at what you are putting into your mouth. Adequate protein and keeping blood sugar stable with frequent meals, adequate hydration and a consistent bedtime routine and schedule, are top priorities when considering energy. Try cutting out the packaged foods and the ‘white’ carbs, eat only fresh whole foods, drink 1 glass of water every hour and make sure you’re getting to bed before 10pm. Exercising first thing in the morning will also help to increase your energy and keep you mentally alert. An intense 20 minute session or a even a brisk 15 minute walk around the block will do.
Moods and Emotional State
Our mental-emotional state has an underrated impact on the state of our health. Negative thoughts generate negative emotions that create stress responses in the body. In turn, this releases inflammatory stress hormones, which constrict blood vessels, elevate the heart rate, and basically send an alarm signal throughout the body. After many years of this, hypertension and heart disease can develop. Stress can worsen any disease state, so it is important to keep it to a minimum. Positive emotion has the opposite effect on the body – protecting the heart, blood vessels and brain and stimulating the immune system in a positive way. Try gentle exercise such as yoga or guided meditations to help reduce stress. If that’s not your thing, simply spend more time doing the things you love and with people who lift your spirits higher and bring out the best in you. Other things that can put you in a positive mind state include getting off social media and connecting with people in real life, smiling and doing kind things for others (without expecting anything in return!).
Article by Kavisha Jega