As I’m in the midst of a very hot summer and, at the present moment, there are no chances on the horizon for me to swim in the blue Mediterranean sea, I’ve been preparing myself to deal with the heat, changing and adopting few simple habits that help to regulate the function of the digestive system and have improved my psycho-physical health on the whole. Here are my secrets!
1 coffee per day
I am a regular espresso drinker and when I was under pressure in college, I relied a lot on coffees to support my all-nighters. But, if not consumed in moderation, being highly acidic, coffee can irritate the gastrointestinal tract. Since I have myself experienced this, I decided to cut out all the extra coffees that were becoming harmful for my stomach’s mucosa and I left only 1 to drink in the morning when I first wake up. At this amount, coffee can actually be helpful to your body! Science reminds us that one cup of coffee contains 11% of the daily recommended Riboflavin (B2) intake and it stimulates the production of gastric juices — the acids in your stomach that help you to digest food. Science also proved that coffee improves significantly your physical performance, reduces the risk of depression, it may protect you from Alzheimer’s and dementia, and it ultimately lowers the risk of type II diabetes.
With or without scientists’ consent, you can drink in moderation your favorite coffee as a way to celebrate your rendezvous with a friend and enjoy!
Warm water and lemon first thing in the morning
This Ayurvedic ritual is strongly encouraged to be practice in the morning because it:
- Boosts your immune system thanks to the Vitamin C and Potassium which lemons are packed with.
- Aids digestion due to the vitamins in the lemon, and prepares your stomach to receive food in the upcoming hours.
- Acts as a gentle diuretic and clears the skin. In fact, lemon encourages urination which enhances a faster rate of toxins turnover.
In the morning, take a few extra seconds to prepare your mug of warm water and juice of half a lemon (you can add a teaspoon of honey if the sourness of the lemon is too much for you). It’s a simple practice that can give your body a new light.
As our bodies are 70% made of water, water is indispensable to support our tissues and all the physiological processes that keep our body functioning.
Keep yourself hydrated all day by drinking a glass of water every hour or so. Your body won’t be overloaded with water as it will be if you drink the the same amount of liquid all at once, plus it will help to avoid bad eating habits that often occur either when we are in a hurry or simply bored.Seasonal fruits, fresh juices and natural hot beverages, like tea, also keep your temperature stable and will prevent you from being dehydrated.
Eating less, feeling more
Learn when to stop and give your stomach a rest. There’s no need to hurry when eating. We should learn instead how to enjoy food without hurry: chewing slowly until we fully perceive each bite of the meal we are feeding ourselves with, giving our intestines the time to digest properly the food we are eating. We should breath gently, possibly enjoy a talk with someone while we are eating to make the meal time not merely a habit from necessity but a rest too. By leaving a tiny empty space in your stomach, you will feel more comfortable for the activities you planned to do afterward and enjoy the next meal even more. There is nothing more beautiful than actually feeling.
Reduce the intake of carbs
Being a fan of the traditional Arabic pita bread, this past winter I indulged quite a bit in local bread, some must-have typical pastries and the occasional home-made pizza. Although I was conscious of the amount I consumed and careful about the ingredients to choose, at the beginning of spring I was feeling bloated. I realized the cause of this was all the sugar and carbs I had been eating during winter. I tend to associate the start of spring with an opportunity to rejuvenate your body and take good care of it by dedicating more time to sports, having more walks outside, breathing fresh air, and of course, being more conscious in choices with food therefore preferring veggies and fruits.
From my own experience, I confirm that I can easily skip breads, pasta and other carbs and will quickly notice a big difference in my energy.
Here the word comes from the expert:
BKS Iyengar says that “Regular practice of Sirsasana makes healthy pure blood flow through the brain cells.” He goes on to say that “Regular and precise practice of Sirsasana develops the body, disciplines the mind and widens the horizons of the spirit. One becomes balanced and self reliant in pain and pleasure, loss and gain, shame and fame and defeat and victory.” (Light on Yoga, p.170)
Geeta Iyengar also points out that “[t]he upside-down position counteracts the effects of the normal upright position on the internal organs, which have a tendency to drop and to sag and thus become sluggish. The Sirsasana position gently coaxes them to a new life.” (Gem for Women p. 188).
Initially, headstand requires lots of energy and concentration, but over time provides one with the capacity of sustaining extraneous work, both physical and mental. For these reasons, this refreshing and invigorating pose for it becomes essential to daily practice.
Have you adopted any go-to healthy habits? Share with us below!