Milder temps are being felt across the country and flowers are just starting to poke through the ground. With spring’s official arrival, many people are starting to give their house and property a thorough cleaning. But that’s not the only thing that could use an overhaul at this time of year.
Our health is something we tend to allow to get dirty and cluttered, especially during winter months. For some people, being stuck indoors and dealing with a lack of sunlight and those winter blues can lead to binge eating and no exercising. This of course leads to weight gain and, if it goes on long enough, perhaps even higher blood pressure and the beginning of insulin resistance.
Spring is the perfect time to evaluate your current health and lifestyle choices. If you’re like most, you may find you have a much easier time implementing those new year’s resolutions to now than you did in those colder and darker months.
With this in mind, here are some ways you can spring clean your health in the coming weeks:
Start Eating in-Season Fruits and Veggies
Spring is the perfect time to start eating more fresh produce. Spring veggies include mushrooms, crisp lettuces, peas, asparagus and onions. For fruits, eat apricots, cherries and grapefruit. Look around your town for local farmer’s markets to help support local farmers and your health at the same time!
Be Careful of Overindulging
It’s easy during the winter months to binge snack foods while streaming your favorite Netflix shows. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are free and clear of this bad eating habit when spring arrives. After all, during the warmer weather, we all begin to have picnics and barbecues outside with our friends and family. And these festivities often subconsciously give us the green light to splurge and load our plates with unhealthy foods.
It’s a good idea to actually eat a small healthy meal before heading out to that barbecue or family gathering. This way, you aren’t showing up ravenous and setting yourself up for binging.
In addition, it’s important to watch your alcohol consumption at these gatherings. Moderation really is key. And speaking of drinking…
One of the most important things you can do for your health is to ensure you stay hydrated. But it’s first important to understand what complete hydration is.
Most people think hydration means you’ve got to drinks lots of water. Yes, your body and cells do need plenty of fresh, clean water. But if you drink a lot of water without making sure you are also replacing lost electrolytes, you will not be fully hydrated. In fact, drinking a LOT of water helps to flush these important electrolytes out of your body. In addition, as the temperature rises during these warmer months, we will sweat more without even realizing it and lose even more electrolytes.
An imbalance of electrolytes causes fatigue, brain fog and our muscles to spasm. Leg spasms are one thing but when your heart starts to flutter, that’s not good.
To ensure you are fully hydrated, it’s a good idea to purchase an electrolyte supplement. There are some products you can add to your drinking water and some that come in pill or capsule form. Some people also put a pinch of sea salt (NOT regular table salt) into their water as sea salt contains minerals and electrolytes.
I do NOT recommend drinking sports drinks as they either contain way too much sugar or too much sugar substitutes, which are just as bad.
If you’ve just spent the winter months being a couch potato, it’s time to get your body moving! Here’s the key: pick exercise that you actually enjoy so you’ll WANT to do it. No one is forcing you to go to the gym. It’s warmer out so maybe you want to ride your bike around the neighborhood or take your grandkids for a walk. Swimming, kayaking, hiking, choose something you love and commit to doing it a few times each week, if not daily!
Numerous studies over the years have shown how powerful and necessary vitamin D is to our health. From improving bone mass to helping with weight loss and boosting our immune system, vitamin D is imperative for optimal health.
While you can (and SHOULD) take a vitamin D supplement during winter months, the warmer temps mean you can get outside and get vitamin D the way nature intended, through exposure to sun. Sun exposure allows your skin to produce vitamin D. Be sure to get 20 minutes of sun exposure each day, and yes, this means without sunscreen, which will block the entire action. Don’t overdo it. This isn’t a case of “if 20 minutes is good then 60 minutes must be great.” No, too much exposure to damaging UV rays is not a good thing. So stick to 20 minutes and be sure to protect your eyes.
Watch Those Allergens
If you suffer from allergies, you know that with the beauty of spring also comes trouble. With tree, grass and flower pollen on the rise, your symptoms will begin to flare up, causing itchy, watery eyes and throat and major sniffles.
It’s important to keep yourself healthy. Keep allergens out of your home by using an air purifier and vacuuming often. It’s also recommended that you use a neti pot to flush out allergens from your nasal passages.
Eat More Protein
Spring is usually when people decide they want to lose a lot of weight so they can look good in their bathing suit for summer. If losing weight is on your “to-do” list, then we encourage you to start eating more protein. Protein helps you lose weight in a few different ways.
To start, eating more protein, along with strength training, helps you to build more muscle, and the more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you burn, even while at rest.
Second, eating protein helps you feel fuller longer, which helps you to stop eating in between meals.
And finally, protein instigates what’s called the Thermic Effect. The Thermic Effect of Food, or TEF, describes how eating food can raise your metabolism for a few hours. Your body must burn up stored calories (fat) in an effort to digest, process and absorb nutrients in your meal.
Eating protein causes a surge in TEF, increasing metabolism by 15-30%. As a bonus, eating protein and animal fat can help you feel fuller longer, so think about adding some fatty cuts of meat to your diet.
While we all need to give our homes and garages a good spring cleaning, don’t forget to give your health a spring cleaning as well. Follow these tips to optimize your health. And if you are looking to take your health to the next level, head on over to the Primal Labs store.