12 Months, 12 Healthy Habits: Turn a New Leaf this New Year

New Year Health Digest

It takes 21 days to kick-start a habit, according to researchers. With the New Year just round the corner, it makes it that much easier to become habituated to 12 health goals by the end of the year - one health goal for every month of the year. Seems easy enough? Then here’s how you can take charge of your health all year:

January for Mental Health

Mental health encompasses your psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It vastly influences how we feel, handle stress, make choices, and relate to others. It’s importance cannot be stressed enough, so here it is right at the top of your wellness calendar:

  • Treat yourself to your favourite activities
  • Take care of your body
  • Surround yourself with positive influences
  • Learn how to beat stress
  • Break your monotonous routine every now and then
  • Don’t shy away from asking for help

February for Hair and Skin

Be it summer or winter, a few skin and hair care practices can be routine:

  • Use a moisturizer with healthy, natural extracts
  • Don’t forget to exfoliate to remove dead cells
  • Include food rich in antioxidants and Omega 3, 6, 7 and 9 like berries, fish, nuts, spinach and avocado in your diet
  • Rinse and condition hair with cool water
  • Handle wet hair gently

March for Eyes

Your eyes allow you to take in everything around you, keep them healthy with these practices:

  • Use sunglasses and protective eyewear when needed
  • Take your eyes of your phone/computer screen often
  • Include carrots, green leafy vegetables, fish, nuts, broccoli, oranges and sweet potatoes in your diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Get your eyes tested routinely

April for ENT

The ears, nose and throat network are responsible for core bodily functions such as  breathing and managing thyroid hormone production - don’t ignore their needs:

  • Take breaks with earphones and loud music
  • Practice breathing exercises
  • Avoid removing hardened ear wax by yourself
  • Steam inhalation can help clear your breathing passage when you have a cold
  • Use ear plugs if you work amid heavy machinery or noise
  • Don’t ignore ear pain after flying, swimming or after a fall

May for Dental

Did you know dental health has been linked with cardiovascular disease? If that adds perspective into ensuring good oral hygiene, here’s what you can do:

  • Drink green tea to help avoid bad breath and tooth decay
  • Raw onions have powerful antibacterial properties to wipe out bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease
  • Visit your dentist regularly to maintain oral hygiene
  • Floss regularly and change your toothbrush regularly
  • Use a mouthwash to prevent plaque build up and gum disease
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste

June for Thyroid Care

The thyroid gland produces two hormones: T3 and T4. These two hormones control metabolism and the healthy function of many organs. Here’s what you can do for thyroid care:

  • If you experience fatigue, muscle aches, weight gain and depression, check for hypothyroidism
  • Stay away from crash diets
  • Up your antioxidant intake with berries and colourful vegetables
  • Adjust your lifestyle to reduce stress

July for Respiratory System

The respiratory system includes the nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi and lungs. When something goes wrong with any part of this system, it can give rise to infections like pneumonia, or give rise to common respiratory symptoms like breathlessness, cough, and chest pain. So:

  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid air pollution at home by using natural products and sprays, and avoid pesticides in your garden
  • Exercise away from busy roads and pollution
  • Incorporate a healthy, vitamin-rich diet
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Place plants in your living spaces

August for Heart

The food you eat and the level of physical activity in your day can positively influence the overall health of your heart:

  • Manage your weight, particularly the mid-section, with exercise and a healthy diet
  • Eat plenty of fibre
  • Cut down on saturated fat
  • Reduce your salt intake
  • Cut back on alcohol intake
  • Monitor blood pressure and sugar levels and keep them from spiking

September for Digestion

Digestion breaks down food into nutrients, which the body needs for energy, growth, and cell repair. Here’s how you can aid this complex process:

  • Begin a high-fiber diet with both insoluble and soluble fiber
  • Go for lean meats
  • Limit food high in fat
  • Ensure your diet contains probiotics
  • Eat on time, avoid late meals
  • Don’t overload on caffeine or liquor

October for Urology

Urology focuses on the wellness of the urinary tract and the male reproductive tract. Their importance cannot be underplayed, so be sure to:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Minimize salt intake
  • Reduce your intake of meat and gluten
  • Eat foods rich in zinc, essential fatty acids and selenium
  • Be careful with the fruits you pick - acidic fruits like oranges, grapes and tomatoes can irritate a sensitive bladder

November for Sexual Health

The key to sexual health is to ensure you take stock of your health when you are sexually active. As is true for your general well-being, a healthy diet and exercise can contribute towards sexual health too. There are, however, other habits to imbibe:

  • Get yourself screened for sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STD or STI) regularly
  • Always practice safe sex
  • Get better acquainted with immunization and preventive medication available to avoid  STDs

December for Bone Health

Several nutrition and lifestyle habits can help in building strong bones and in maintaining them as you age:

  • Eat calcium-rich foods
  • Practice weight-bearing exercises like jogging, walking, dancing, hiking or playing tennis
  • Get your bone mineral density tested
  • Increase protein intake
  • Make sure you get sufficient Vitamin D and Vitamin K
  • Avoid an excessively low calorie diet

So that’s a rundown of the things you need to do to take care of yourself top-to-toe all through the coming New Year. You’ll notice that much of these habits run into one another, for instance minimizing salt intake can cut urology health risks as well as risk of heart disease, making it easier to cumulate your efforts in adopting healthy habits for better living.