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When we think of investing in something a few things come to mind, such as investing in your education, or your career, and the most obvious is investing in stocks. However, one of the most important investments you can, and should make, is in your health. Whereas your education, career and especially with stocks, you have an option to change them depending upon the direction you want to go with your investment. You don’t have that same luxury with your health. Why? Well, you’re only given one body and what you feed that body and how well you take care of that body is the difference between life and literally death. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but it’s true. So above and beyond everything else in life, investing in your health is crucial. Here are five ways to invest in your health starting today.

1. Buy real, whole foods

When I say buy real, whole foods, I’m talking about fruit, vegetables, nuts and some grain, mostly brown rice. With these categories alone there are endless things you can make. I purposely left out meat, poultry, fish and dairy, because consuming those foods in large quantities can actually be unhealthy for you. Truth be told, if you’re going to choose one to add to the first list of foods, I would choose fish, but you only should consume fish once maximum twice a week. As for meat, poultry and dairy, the reason they should not be part of your daily diet is due to inflammation.

We are discovering more and more that inflammation is causing a lot of our health issues. Inflammation is our bodies’ response to diet, lifestyle and environmental stress. Particularly with diet, we are finally understanding that too much sugar, soda, highly processed and conventionally produced foods are wrecking havoc on our health. As easy as it is to grab a burger at McDonald’s or heat up a frozen entree, the flip side of that is the deterioration of your health.

So think twice about the foods you’re buying. And even though many people would encourage buying organic, if you can’t afford it, don’t worry. Just make sure you’re soaking and washing your fruit and vegetables in vinegar before you use them.

2. Exercise

This is a no brainer, but I’m amazed by how many people I know that don’t invest in exercise. The biggest reason is time and I’ll get into why you need to invest in time for your health, but let’s talk about how you can invest in exercise.

For most of my life exercise has been extremely important. I started exercising when I was fifteen, because Alyssa Milano had just released a workout video for teens. Yes, I was completely obsessed with Alyssa Milano when she was on Who’s The Boss?, so naturally I jumped at buying her video. But I’m glad I did, because I was forever hooked on exercise.

Last year I wrote about why Everyone Needs to do Yoga. I still believe this, but realize not everyone has the time to do yoga on a regular basis. And not everyone has time to go to the gym for an hour a few times a week, so what are you supposed to do?

You HIIT it, that’s what you do! HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. I think when most people think about HIIT, they associate it with Crossfit, well I don’t.

I first got hooked on HIIT from Bodyrock.tv, which I’ve written about a couple of times in the past. What’s great about HIIT and specifically Bodyrock is that you can do it in the comforts of your home and you can even get away with using your body weight so you don’t have to invest in buying weights. Twenty minutes is all you need and you know what, you could even get away with fifteen minutes.

All you have to do is choose three to four exercises and do them in three circuits. For example, choose jumping jacks, push-ups, lunges and planks, choose the amount of time you want to do each exercise (one to two minutes for each is fine), do each of those exercises for that time and repeat three to four rounds of each. You would be surprise the kind of workout you get. I’ve seen both myself and lots of friends be transformed by HIIT without having to invest a ton of time. Fifteen to twenty minutes two to three times a week will make such a difference to your overall health.

3. Time

I know life can get out of hand, especially if you’re juggling a full time job, being a mom (or dad!), taking care of your home and your family. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s worth sacrificing your health in order to save time on buying fresh food, cooking or exercising.

I’ve already talked about how you don’t need a lot of time to invest in exercising. However, taking time to buy fresh food and cooking can be extremely challenging.

I am not a mom yet, but what I can say is, I don’t want to cook everyday. I have found recipes that allow me to cook three times a week and the other days I have leftovers. Only once a week I will treat myself and my husband to a dinner out or take out.

One of my favorite recipes is Eggplant Parmesan. It takes a little bit of prep time, but you can have it for three meals easily. Here’s a great recipe for Eggplant Parmesan.

Another great thing to do is cut up vegetables and make brown rice or brown rice pasta for the week. This way all you have to do is cook and not worry about the prep time.

I know time seems like a precious commodity today, but it means everything for your health. Make time to go grocery shopping for the week and make a list prior to going. Make time to cook, but make dishes the last a couple of nights or make time to prep some items so you only have to cook when you get home, rather than prepare a whole meal and cook. Make time to exercise, especially knowing that you don’t need to take a lot of time to get a great workout. Time is worth the investment when it comes to your health.

4. Community

You may be wondering what I mean by community. Well it’s your community of friends and family. Why is this important for your health? It’s your support system for all sorts of things in your life.

Blue Zones, a concept used to identify a demographic and/or geographic area of the world where people live measurably longer lives. It’s based on the book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. One of the things that helps these people live such long, full lives is their community or tribe as they call it in the book. That tribe is made up of people that are a positive support group for you. They can be family, they can be friends or even a mix of the two.

When my husband and I were living in Brazil, the first two years were really difficult, because we didn’t have a good community. Yes we had some friends, but not enough to feel we had a tribe of solid people in our life. Finally we started to meet a whole group of expats from the U.S., Canada and Europe and what a difference that made. Every aspect of our lives changed, our relationship, our health, our work, everything.

Make sure no matter where you live that you have a great community of people. It doesn’t have to be only family, it can be an amazing group of friends too. And most importantly, make sure you take quality time from your busy life to spend time with them.

5. Take a break

Recently I wrote a post titled, “Stop Being Hyper-Connected to the Online World.” With the rise of social media and smartphones we’ve become addicted to spending time online. I understand that depending upon your work or business that you have no choice but to spend a lot of time online for the success of your business. However, you need to be mindful of when to take a break.

There are different ways in which you can take a break. You can exercise or go for a walk. You can read a book or meditate. It doesn’t haven’t to be a ton of time, but however you take a break, you need to fully disconnect and enjoy that break without worrying about the endless stresses of life.

Health is everything in this life. You only have one life and one body so you need to make sure that whatever you’re investing in, that you also invest in your health. Your mind, body and soul will thank you for it.

Sources:

Inflammation: The Real Cause of All Disease and How to Reduce and Prevent It – Bodyecology

Anti-inflammatory Foods – Dr. Axe

25 Meat-Free Clean Eating Recipes That Are Actually Delicious – Buzzfeed

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