When we talk about strategies to improve our overall health, a lot of the time we tend to focus on how to maintain a healthy heart, digestive system, liver, lungs, and brain. Of course, this is paramount. These major organ systems of your body pretty much regulate everything, and without proper care any of them can fail you. Even if you do it from the comfort of your own home, exercise is imperative.
But head-to-toe health isn’t just about a healthy heart. For true overall health, you need to focus on some of the oft-neglected parts of your body like your teeth and gums, eyes, hair, and nails. Here are some simple strategies you can employ to help.
Teeth & Gums
Are you brushing and flossing? Yes? Sometimes? Well, apart from those basic, obvious ways to care for your teeth and gums, there are a few other things you can do to help keep your mouth pretty and healthy.
First, you can cut back on acidic beverages like wine, soda, and coffee. If you must drink wine and soda (and let’s face it, most of us do), Woman’s Day offers some good tips for dealing with this:
“A few easy tricks to minimize their effect: Try to eat acidic foods only when you’re having an entire meal, so you’ll produce more saliva and neutralize the acids. Chewing sugar-free gum (a saliva stimulant) right after having acidic foods and drinks also helps. Drink through a straw whenever you can; that way less of the liquid comes in direct contact with your teeth.”
For better gum health, make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D. According to the Vitamin D Council, Vitamin D “produces cathelicidin and defensins, which have antimicrobial properties. These compounds reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth” and “reduces matrix metalloproteinases. MMPs are enzymes that are associated with periodontal disease.”
Ways to do this include getting some more sunlight and eating foods rich in Vitamin D like eggs, cheese, dairy, orange juice, and fatty fish.
How often do you think about your eye health? Probably not a lot. But any head-to-toe health strategy must include some care for your eyes. Think of sunglasses as something more than just a fashion statement. Wearing them can block out the sun’s harmful UV rays. When working on a computer, make sure you give your eyes a rest every so often. Eye strain is common in this day and age, as we are staring at screens more often than not. Also think about what you eat. Obesity can lead to a bevy of health problems, some of which can lead to vision problems like diabetic eye disease and glaucoma.
Hair & Nails
What head-to-toe health plan would be complete without some attention to your hair and nails?
One easy move to incorporate into your daily life is to eat some nuts. Almonds are a source of protein and magnesium, both of which are vital for hair and nail health. Walnuts are high in Vitamin E.
“To keep your strands strong and luscious, snack on some walnuts. They are chock-full of two secret ingredients for gorgeous locks: omega-3s (which keep your hair hydrated) and vitamin E (which repair damaged follicles). Plus, walnuts also contain copper, which studies have shown may keep your natural color rich and stave or premature grayness,” says Health.com.
The good thing about many of these strategies are that they won’t just produce immediate results for your teeth, eyes, and hair, but they will also improve the overall health of those vital organs mentioned earlier. Many of the same healthy foods also help to prevent heart disease, bone loss, and digestive problems.