Seven Easy Health Boosts

September 2016

Forget the excuses for a minute. It's time to do a quick health check. Are you using these 7 health boosts in your life? If not, you totally should.

1. Add Meditation to Your Daily Routine
Meditation is growing in popularity and with good reason. Research suggests that meditation may lead to reduced blood pressure, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, insomnia, and the incidence, duration, and severity of acute respiratory illnesses (such as influenza). Meditation is also known for stress reduction and physical relaxation.

2. Hug It Out - Literally
Are you a hugger? If not, maybe you should start embracing it. Hugs have been shown to increase the production of oxytocin (the "love" hormone). According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), "oxytocin lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body, reducing blood pressure, improving mood, increasing tolerance for pain and perhaps even speeding how fast wounds heal. It also seems to play an important role in our relationships. It's been linked, for example, to how much we trust others."

3. Laugh ... A Lot
Laughter has many health benefits. For example, did you know that laughing decreases stress hormones, increases your immunity, and triggers the release of "feel good" endorphins? And that's just the beginning. So laugh, giggle, chuckle - it's good for you!

4. Embrace Tea Time
Green and black teas offer many health benefits. Did you know that sipping tea can lower cholesterol, cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and risk for heart disease? It also can increase memory, focus, and concentration. Not bad for a simple cup of tea, right?

5. Limit Added Sugars, You're Sweet Enough
Not all sugar is created equal. Although your body is designed to digest natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables, it is not equipped to handle all of those added sugars found in soft drinks, candies, desserts, and many processed foods. Added sugar has been linked to increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

6. Strike A Pose ... A Yoga Pose, That Is
Yoga is a great way to increase strength, flexibility, and your mood. Plus, yoga has been shown to ease pain intensity, functional disability, and depression in adults with chronic lower back pain. Feel the Zen.

7. Make a Date with Your Doctor
When we were children, yearly visits to the doctor for a check-up were just a part of our routine. Then, for many of us, those yearly appointments fell to the wayside and we only went to the doctor when we fell ill. Renewing your commitment to annual check-ups with your primary care physician will allow you to catch problems early and keep you feeling your best. Don't have a primary care physician? iTriage can help you find one and guide you to medical answers you may need along the way. Way cool.