For optimal eye health, eat superfoods, such as carrots, leafy greens, berries, and almonds. These foods provide beta-carotene, antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin E that are beneficial for the eyes. Also, follow the 20/20/20 rule to reduce eye strain during the day: Rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Just like the other organs in your body, your brain requires certain nutrients to function properly. Whole, unrefined grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole-grain cereals, provide energy to help you concentrate. Eating healthy fats found in pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts are also good for overall brain health. To improve memory, choose foods with anthocyanins, including blueberries and other dark red and purple fruits and vegetables.
The largest organ of the body with a total area of about 18 square feet, skin is our first line of defense against outside pollutants. It serves as a passageway for toxins and chemical wastes to be eliminated from our bodies. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning is a refreshing way to keep skin hydrated and help with elimination. Minimize exposure to additional toxins by using skin products that are natural and free of chemicals. Or keep skin smooth and soft by trying some of the great DIY recipes that use kitchen ingredients, such as oats, coconut oil, honey, olive oil, and aloe. (For simple ideas, check Pinterest or do an online search.)
We often overwork and abuse our feet by stuffing them into shoes and standing for extended periods of time. Feet need exercise and fresh air too! Strengthen your foot muscles and increase flexibility with calf raises: Stand with your bare feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart; slowly rise up and down onto your flexed toes, supporting your body weight (you may need to stand near a wall for support); repeat five times. You can also enhance foot flexibility by holding your leg out in front of you while moving your foot to mimic writing the letters of the alphabet, or try picking up a towel or a pencil with your toes.
Your Arms, Legs, and Back
Your body is a complex network of veins, bones, and muscles that keep you alive, upright, and functioning. Movement is vital to maintaining overall health. Studies show that briskly walking four hours a week can lower the risk of hip fractures by 41 percent, compared to walking less than an hour a week. Add body-weight exercises to your workout, such as squats, reverse lunges, push-ups, and planks, to build muscle and reduce the risk of degenerative bone diseases.
Our bodies were created to work in harmony. Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Taking care of each part of this fantastic machine will enhance overall health and your quality of life.
Article originally printed in Vibrant Life magazine.