Whenever people say “our body is a temple of worship”, everyone tends to associate consuming healthy food pertaining to weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight. However, it is extremely easy for many of us, myself included, to get sucked into the vortex of body aesthetics–I underwent a phase in my life where I only worried about how much I weighed, thus I neglected other aspects of my body such as my nails, hair, and teeth.
Nowadays, we are surrounded by people with six packs, perky booties, and lean gains for days. What allow certain individuals online to stand out pertains more than just a fabulous body. Their eyes are glowing, their hair is neatly worn, their smiles are pearly white, and they have healthy, glowing skin. I’m definitely not the perfect role model for all these criteria, but lately I have been working my butt off to pay more attention to the little details and take preventative action for premature wrinkles, tooth decay, hormonal imbalances, and early physical aging. The results have been so rewarding and I feel more confident than ever.
Remember that eating healthily, exercising, managing your stress, and sleeping adequately extends far beyond maintaining a certain body size. Listed are countless other body parts, organs, and/or systems that are crucial towards your overall well-being. While they may contribute to weighing less and looking leaner, they also stand as major properties that will make a huge difference as you grow older. These physical aspects help you stand out in other ways that you won’t notice until you put in the efforts. Get ready to feel even more confident and lively, internally and externally!
- It’s amazing how so many people forget the importance of skin care. While diet plays a vital role in the well-being of your skin, there are just some skin types that need extra care. You may not realize how much skin clarity and vitality stands out until you see a makeup free face. Severe acne, hyper pigmentation, and cysts can be incredibly frustrating and even devastating, which is why adopting a skincare routine with the proper cleansers and moisturizers is optimal. Additionally, you cannot neglect the power of sunscreen. We all need a good dose of vitamin D, but too much exposure in the sun, especially unprotected, can lead to severe damage of the skin and eventually manifest as skin cancer. Finding the most suitable products for your skin type will enable you to sport clear, even, supple, and a healthy-looking glow. Face masks are also a fabulous spa treatment–I love wearing one several times a week at night!
- While I am lucky to not break out often–literally, I break out less than five times a year–I deal with freckling super easily, which is why sun protection is key in my skin care routine. Pictured is my favorite sunscreen by Kopari Beauty–it is vegan and cruelty free, not to mention, it smells and feels delectable, smooth, and is long-lasting! (Note: they are not sponsoring this post)
- We can always smile with our mouths closed in pictures, but there’s no way to hide our teeth unless we stop talking, eating, drinking, and breathing with our mouths open. Heck, who knows if we open them while we’re sleeping? But anyways, the teeth serve as not only an attractive feature when we smile, but they are the mechanism of breaking down food for digestion in chewing and articulating our speech. Truthfully, they are the “window to our health” as Mohamed Bassiouny once mentioned. To keep them white and sturdy, brush, floss, scrape your tongue, and rinse, all very thoroughly at least twice a day. Additionally, limit the amount of refined sugar, soft drinks, heavily processed flour, and hydrogenated oils in your diet to prevent tooth decay.
- For top-notch protection, feel free to oil pull every morning with any plant-based oil of choice. You can also use a vegan-friendly mouthwash, but be wary as it tends to contain compounds that also kill the healthy bacteria in your teeth.
- Even though I may not notice a massive difference between my brushed hair and un-brushed hair, there is a difference, nonetheless. I’m still a bit guilty of forgetting to brush my hair when I attend my morning class if I’m not going to the gym afterwards, but it is intrinsically rewarding when your hair looks cleaner, well kept, and perhaps styled. Beyond this, washing and conditioning your hair with suitable products is incredibly important (and frustrating if you have a scalp so dry that Death Valley National Park would be jealous) to remove dead skin, dirt, and bacteria on your scalp, promote volume and vitality of the hair follicles, and keep it looking shiny.
- Make sure you figure out an appropriate frequency of using shampoo. Some people wash their hair multiple times a day and others only do so once or twice a week (most fall somewhere in between). You can also apply hair masks as a lovely spa treatment! Additionally, limit the amount of heat you apply to your hair via curling, straightening, blow drying, etc. to abstain from damaging your hair further.
- With aging, our bones do lose their strength and durability, which is why many older people end up shrinking and acquiring poor posture. But have you ever seen those 86 year-olds that are still skydiving, jogging at 4 A.M. in the morning, and walking outside without any aid? THIS, my friends, not Botox, is how you age gracefully. You never stop feeling so alive that you can do absolutely anything (well, most things, let’s be honest). Bones play a massive role in aging because they hold you up, allow you to move, carry your items, lift heavy weights, and give height.
- Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, protein, collagen, omega-3 fatty acids, strength training, sleep, and a healthy menstrual cycle are the skeleton’s best friends. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables with calcium-rich foods as well as nuts and seeds for magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids (specifically chia, flax, and hemp). Kale, mushrooms, almond butter, tempeh, almond milk, flax seeds, wheat germ, and peanut butter have been some of my favorite staples! Integrate strength training as part of your physical activity (do not overdo cardio) and practice posture exercises like regular stretching. Lastly, maintain a healthy body weight, one that isn’t overweight nor underweight.
- There is an insane amount of people who use any form of vision aid such as glasses or contact lenses, and an even greater percentage that use glasses just for reading or driving. Of course, nothing is wrong with using these vision aids, but there are many ways you can ensure no vision loss and that your prescription does not continue to decrease. Furthermore, the eyes are such a prone area to infection, puffiness, redness, and dullness. They are ultimately our critical body parts that help us see the world around us, so might as well keep them sharp, bright, and vibrant.
- To promote clear vision, avoid looking in the sun or reading something too closely to your eyes, keep your eyes moist, wear sunglasses or any form of sun protection, and consume foods that are rich in Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, Vitamin B1, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids. Other aspects of a healthy lifestyle such as physical activity, not smoking, and maintaining properly functioning hormones are key as well.
- Most of us don’t really talk about hormones until we address menstrual cycles, pregnancy, sex, or stress. However, hormones aid functioning of nearly everything else in our bodies from digestion, cognition, disease prevention, metabolism, aging, and overall well-being. Imbalanced hormones are generally the root causes of thinning hair, irritability or depressed moods, irregular menstruation, stress, lack of sleep, weight gain, lower energy levels, and a low sex drive. More often than not, seriously out-of-control hormones can lead to a host of serious medical conditions like cardiovascular heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, kidney failure, and hyper- or hypothyroidism. Hormones don’t just play a role in periods and childbirth–we have to pay attention to them all the time.
- Healthy lifestyle factors are always key. But specifically for women, it is crucial to not excessively exercise and consume an insufficient amount of fat (except for trans fat), carbs, and calories, but to also not delve into the other extreme. Perform some physical activity to build strength and endurance, then pair your workout routine with a nourishing diet that refrains from heavily sugary foods and beverages. Ensure that your sleep is high quality and sufficient as well as your stress levels. Practicing activities that you personally enjoy on a regular basis as well as meditating, journaling, or socializing with trusted loved ones truly help your mental and emotional well-being.
- As someone in my AP World History class once said, “Sleep is for the weak” on Facebook the night before our final exam. Yeah, that is definitely a false statement. Sleep is for those who want to take care of themselves, regulate their hormones, repair muscle tissue, activate their brains, and put their blood pressure and heart to rest. There are three primary stages of sleep (N1, N2, N3) but your ultimate goal is to reach REM sleep, which comprises only a quarter of your average sleeping period but is the most critical to your health. REM is when your energy is the most dormant, exactly what your body needs to recompose itself. Sleep ensures that your hormones for hunger, cognition, memory, satiety, stress, sadness, immunity, and fertility function properly. Seriously, SLEEP when you need to sleep.
- Unfortunately, sleeping is not like eating where it can just be intuitive or based only either on quality or quantity. Two high quality hours of sleep and eight low quality hours of sleep are both not ideal. The best ways to finesse your sleeping patterns is to create a regular routine, shut off all electronics at least thirty minutes before bed, close the doors, shield the windows, and set the temperature to your ideal (should not be too hot or too cold–think chilly autumn). No music, no late-night podcasts, no caffeine, no alcohol, and no food right before bed (if you must, try something easily digestible). Consider melatonin, holy basil, chamomile tea, valerian root, or a magnesium supplement if you are struggling to sleep even with these tips.
- Nowadays, it seems like the gut is the new brain of the body. We now know that gut health has more depth than just weight loss and toilet time. It holds an unimaginable amount of colonies of good (and sometimes bad) bacteria connected to our immunity, brain, heart, mood, skin, and almost every single organ and system we have. Simply fixing a dysfunctional digestion can resolve many health problems–it can even be transformative with how you intrinsically feel!
- For killer gut health, take a daily probiotic supplement, exercise regularly, eat probiotic and prebiotic rich foods, drink plenty of water, minimize your stress levels, and sleep well. If you are currently suffering from any digestive troubles that seem to have an unexplainable root, please consult with a doctor.
What are body parts do you think we should be paying more attention to?