Do you remember those early, elementary school lessons where you first learned what was inside your body? A beating heart, lungs to breathe, intestines to digest food, and an intelligent brain to direct the operation. Then you were told that your bones and muscle were what kept you strong and upright. But what’s at the foundation of all of these things? Cells!
It’s been said many times before that cells are the building blocks of life. Every living thing, no matter how small, is built of at least one cell, and as human beings, experts estimate we are made up of trillions and trillions of carefully arranged cells. The exact number of cells in a human body is affected by a number of variables such as size and age, but an average adult might have anywhere from 30 to 100 trillion cells making up their body. Regardless of just how many cells are inside of you specifically, one thing is obvious: we need to take care of our cells!
Why is cellular health so important?
Think of your body as one big sports team. The goal is to win, and in order to win, every member of the team needs to be in their best shape. By working together, the goal is achievable. Cells might be the smallest member of your body’s team, but when your cells are kept healthy and happy, the rest of your teammates—your heart, muscles, and every other part of your body—will be able to work effectively and keep you going strong.
When you support your health all the way down to the finite cellular level, dozens of benefits will come your way. Some of those benefits include:
- Maintain a healthy immune system;
- Support already healthy blood sugar levels;
- Support weight management;
- Maintain a healthy metabolism.
What can I do to optimize my cellular health?
The key to optimizing your cellular health starts with a nutrient-rich diet and regular exercise. But there are many other things you can do to support your cells. Keep in mind that your body is incredibly unique, and the needs of your body are best supported with a physician’s help. When in doubt, always refer to their expertise.
Besides healthy eating and exercise habits, it’s important to get regular sleep and do what you can to reduce stress in your life. Let’s take a deep dive into just a few of the ways you can optimize your cellular health.
Eat a well-balanced diet.
Good eating habits and healthy cells go together like peanut butter and jelly–one of many things that might be part of your well-balanced diet! Your body–and of course, your cells–needs an optimized balance of all kinds of nutrients to keep functioning properly. For example, vitamin A supports your heart, lungs, and other organs, and it can be found in foods like salmon, carrots, broccoli, and leafy green vegetables to name a few. Calcium—found in abundance in dairy milk as well as almond, soy, and rice milks—is crucial for maintaining strong bones. When cells fall out of commission, the protein found in lean meats and nuts is what your body needs to grow new cells and repair existing ones. And don’t forget the importance of staying hydrated! Without enough water, cells would lose their power.
What diet works for you is largely dependent on things like your lifestyle, genetics, and any existing health conditions. Everybody is different, and while everyone needs nutrients, you may not need the same amount of protein as an Olympic swimmer! When planning out meals, make sure you know what your body needs. If you’re concerned about meeting all of your body’s nutritional needs, consider adding supplements to your diet. It’s possible to have dietary gaps when it comes to important vitamins and minerals, so supplements can be an excellent way to fill those gaps. For a wide selection of helpful supplements, USANA Health Sciences is here to help.
Get plenty of quality sleep.
The difference between poor-quality and high-quality sleep can mean the difference between struggling cells and vitalized, happy cells. On average, most people need around seven to nine hours per night, but it’s important to pay attention to your body as it will tell you when sleep is needed. So, when it’s late at night and your body is saying to go to sleep, be sure to listen! We all have busy lives and plenty of factors that might upset any attempts at a regular sleep schedule. Homework assignments, working overtime, or maybe a new baby in the house can keep us from consistently getting sufficient REM cycles. But there may still be things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep!
Getting outside and spending time in the sun can boost vitamin D and increase endorphin levels, both of which are needed to improve your quality of sleep. Maintaining an appropriate level of physical activity can also promote a regular and satisfying sleep schedule. Calcium and magnesium both can support a healthy level of the sleep hormone known as melatonin. If you feel like you’re lacking in melatonin, supplements may be a good solution.
Research has shown that when you exercise, you stimulate the mitochondria within your cells. What’s mitochondria? This is the organelle in your cells that aids in respiration and producing energy. In other words, mitochondria are the powerhouses of your cells. Exercising encourages these small but mighty powerhouses to produce more proteins that are then used to build enzymes and hormones and allow your cells to talk to each other and work to strengthen your body, repair damaged cells, and prevent you from feeling lethargic.
Regular exercise benefits your body in so many ways, and you don’t have to engage in long cardio sessions or running marathons to support your cells. An activity as simple as going for a walk can improve your well-being. Everything from swimming, yoga, cycling, dance, and jogging all contributes to your cellular health.
In today’s fast-paced, high-functioning society, many adults are finding that their mental health is falling by the wayside. If you find yourself spending a lot of time feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed, you are not alone, and there are solutions. This is another area where talking to your doctor can be beneficial, especially if these feelings of stress and anxiety are significantly affecting your day-to-day well-being. Your doctor can help you find solutions to manage your mental health and feel like your best self.
Whether your stress levels are too high or closer to average, try some deep breathing to help regulate your nervous system and get your cells the oxygen they need to function. It may seem simple, but just remembering to breathe slowly and deeply—in and out, in and out—helps our bodies stay calm and de-stress. Other ways you can improve your mental health include connecting with people around you, learning something new, and speaking kindly to yourself (your cells need some love, too)!
Start small! Take care of your cells.
These are just a few of dozens of ways you can support your cellular health. When you take care of those little building blocks of life, they’ll take care of you! Cells may be the smallest member of your team, but they’re the key to unlocking a happier you.