By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
April 7th is World Health Day, so to celebrate we want to share some healthy eating, living, and stress-reduction tips from around the world. Use these tips to make your everyday a little bit healthier.
How are people staying healthy around the world?
Russians recommend heading to the banya, which is similar to a hot sauna for stress reduction. Research suggests that surrounding the body in a warm environment during times of stress may indeed work. Research shows that enveloping your body in warmth during stressful times can trigger brain and body responses that mirror emotional warmth, which in turn can boost mood.
In Israel mud is a frequently used skincare product; however, it’s not just any mud, but mud from the Dead Sea. Mud from the Dead Sea is thought to be rich in sodium, magnesium, bromides and other minerals that may help to provide hydration, reduce inflammation, and rejuvenate skin.
Danish people find that spending time with loved ones, family and friends being hygge or “cozy” can help to beat the winter blues, and they’re right. Spending time and making connections with others can help to promote the release of the hormone oxytocin, which can help to boost social confidence and mood.
In Thailand people believe strongly in the power of massage for stress relief and for improvement in overall wellbeing. The style of massage in Thailand can often be vigorous and applies pressure to relieve stress. Research shows that when pressure is applied, pressure receptors naturally release serotonin – a natural antidepressant.
Brazilians have a whole new take to easing the pain of a sunburn. In Brazil it’s often recommended to pile a large amount of fresh rolled oats onto a gauze pad, twist it up like a sack and tie it over the bathtub faucet so that when the water is turned on the water runs through the oat sack. It is believed that the minerals and anti-inflammatory properties in the oats will seep into the bathtub water and help to heal and ease the pain of the sunburn. Traditional aloe is also a wonderful soother for a sunburn.
In Turkey natural products such as daisies are recommended as beauty enhancers. Many women use “daisy water” as a way to boost natural hair highlights. To do so, boil one cup of daisies in hot water for 5 minutes, then once cooled pour over hair. Many others around the world recommend other natural plant-based methods for hair cleansing and rejuvenation, such as coconut oil rubbed on the hair to improve dryness.
In China herbs and spices are often used as remedies for common ailments. One of the most commonly recommended includes Astragalus, which is actually from a root, and is used to aid with the healing of colds and allergies and symptoms such as runny nose, itching and sneezing. Asian ginseng is also well-known for its potential to boost immunity. Including more herbs and spices can be a great way to boost nutrient intake and to enhance flavor.
People in the UK practice both downsizing their portions and starting their day with a healthy breakfast. Research shows that people from the UK are 60% more likely to make time for breakfast than Americans. Breakfast is probably the most essential meal as it sets the tone for what happens throughout the day. Research suggests that people who start their day with a healthy meal are more likely to make good choices throughout the day.
In India yoga is not only recommended in India for its zen-like effects, but also for its effects on promoting weight loss, stress relief, mindfulness, and overall health. There is much positive research to suggest that yoga should be a part of everyone’s day as it helps to boost mood, build strength, ease anxiety, and promote healthy habits just to name a few.
Try to incorporate one of these new practices into your healthy lifestyle!