By Dr. Kaley Burns EBS COLUMNIST
Spring is here, so let’s shed the winter doldrums and get your body and mind recharged for the new season. Here are a few ways you can put health first this spring.
Make drinking water a moment of restoration
Drink your daily glasses of water mindfully. Set the intention that you are doing something healing and nurturing for yourself. Thank the water for nourishing and replenishing your body. Practicing gratitude regularly has been shown to improve overall wellbeing and feelings of happiness. We all need water to live, and we all deserve access to clean drinking water. Not everyone has that access, so that might become another layer of your gratitude. You can enhance your water with a squeeze of lemon for vitamin C to support immune function, chopped cucumber for its high levels of antioxidants or a few sprigs of mint for help with GI discomfort.
Eating less sugar doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor
Added sugars are everywhere, from drinks to condiments. Simple sugar is not very filling and has no true nutritional value. Fortunately you don’t have to give up that sweet sensation when reducing sugar intake. Try sweetening your food naturally. A great way to cut back on added sugar in a snack or breakfast is swapping out flavored yogurt, which can have as much as three teaspoons of added sugar per serving, for unsweetened yogurt, then topping it off with fresh or frozen berries and a dash of vanilla extract. Enjoy that same delicious, sweet flavor without the added sugar.
Get back in rhythm with light
Getting exposure to bright light early in the day is critical for the health of our circadian rhythm. Open your curtains in the morning to let light in on sunny days. Take long walks when it’s brightest outside, and if you’re really limited on time, consider purchasing an indoor sun therapy light so you can create your own “morning light” anywhere.
Make room for magnesium in your diet
Magnesium is a multitasking mineral that is utilized by every cell in the body. It’s also estimated that nearly 75 percent of Americans aren’t meeting their daily recommended intake. Signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include muscle aches, poor sleep, constipation, migraines, nausea and generalized fatigue. Magnesium is also a mineral that’s critical for regulating vitamin D levels.
Enrich your diet with magnesium by adding pumpkin seeds, almonds and spinach. To fight a deficiency more quickly, consider a higher-dose magnesium supplement.
Pick up some postbiotics
Postbiotics are the byproduct of probiotics. First, the good bacteria in our guts feast on prebiotic foods, which have fiber that is otherwise indigestible to us. Then those probiotics proliferate and do the great work of helping us maintain a strong immune system. However, in doing so, they excrete waste. While unappealing, that waste actually offers numerous health benefits.
Aiming for variety in your diet can naturally increase your production of postbiotics. Additionally, increasing your intake of probiotic-rich foods, such as plain yogurt, cultured cottage cheese, kombucha and kimchi, while also increasing foods high in prebiotics, such as oats, flaxseed, asparagus, garlic and onions, will naturally boost the amount and variety of postbiotics.
Getting the recommended 25-38 grams of fiber per day will naturally produce postbiotics. For anyone who experiences digestive upset from these foods, you can find postbiotics as a supplement.
Dr. Kaley Burns is the founder, owner and naturopathic doctor at Big Sky Natural Health. She embraces a natural approach to health and aims to similarly inspire and guide others on their health journey. Dr. Burns has advanced training application of regenerative and intravenous injection therapy. She also serves as the vice president and CE liaison of the Montana Association of Naturopathic Physicians.