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8 Healthy Habits That Make You Radiant

How to Achieve a More Youthful Appearance, Naturally
  -- By Natalie Nichols, Health & Beauty Writer
Chances are, you know her. Your eyes probably turn green with envy as soon as she walks into the room. She’s the one who consistently looks effortlessly beautiful without makeup. She’s most likely your age (or older), yet looks younger than you. Her skin always glows. Her smile lights up even the most overcast day, and her positive energy is contagious. You’ve probably told yourself, “She’s had work done,” or, “It must be good genes!” But what if I told you that anyone can achieve a healthier, more youthful appearance without turning to a cosmetic surgeon or using any magical beauty products at all?
 
Simply paying attention to your body’s needs and keeping up with a few healthy habits can help you get that gorgeous glow women long for. And trying the following tips will not only help you look radiant, but feel better on the inside, too!
 
Eat Clean
One of the best ways to achieve positively glowing, younger-looking skin is to focus on what you’re putting inside your body. If you’ve been a part of SparkPeople for a while now, you should know how important it is to eat your fruits and vegetables to achieve optimal health. And this goes for your body’s overall health--including your skin. Avoiding processed foods and eating a nutrient-rich diet filled with dark, leafy greens (like kale), root vegetables (like sweet potatoes), fruit with high antioxidant content (like blueberries and raspberries), fiber-filled nuts and whole, gluten-free grains can help your skin look more supple, minimize fine lines and even out your skin tone. Try these easy ways to meet your daily fruit and vegetable quota to reap the rewards of gorgeous, radiant skin.
 
Drink Your Weight in Water
Want to look younger and feel more energized? Put. Down. That. Soda. Soft drinks are still the most popular beverage in the United States. And what is taking up the number two spot? Water. This is quite scary considering that our bodies are roughly 60 percent water. Sugar-laden soft drinks and even their diet counterparts can dehydrate the body, which results in fluid imbalance, less energy and even breakouts. Drinking the recommended eight glasses of H20 every day will not only hydrate your skin and other important organs, but also maintain your body’s fluid balance.

And when your body’s fluid is in a balanced state, you can absorb more nutrients from good foods, digest your meals properly and regulate your body temperature. This means a healthier you will emerge from the inside, out! Water can also flush your body of toxins which, in turn, clears up blemishes, leaving your skin softer, smoother and younger-looking. Bonus: Drinking water can give you energy boosts throughout the day, so reach for another glass of water instead of coffee or soda when you’re feeling tired and groggy mid-afternoon.
 
<pagebreak> Get Some Sleep
Feel like you don’t have time for sleep? Just like you make time for fitness, incorporating enough time for sleep into your busy schedule is just as important to your health and beauty routine, if not more. Inadequate Z’s can wreak havoc on your immune system, contribute to high blood pressure and result in the inability to lose more weight--or even maintain the weight you’ve worked so hard to lose! Also, “beauty sleep” is not just a funny saying or myth. While you’re comfy, cozy and dreaming, sleep researchers say that your body repairs and heals itself. So, get your eight hours in each night to avoid puffiness around your eyes, a washed-out or blotchy complexion and more.
 
Whistle While You Work

Okay, so if you’re one of those people who can’t whistle, no worries. Just make sure you go through your workday showing off those pearly whites in order to look younger and have more energy! If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, whatever you do, don’t let that negative energy follow you to the office. Work on keeping your attitude positive in order to feel less stressed, look less tired and be the exuberant person that your coworkers simply want to be around. Plus, when you think happy thoughts, your productivity soars which means you could get that coveted promotion sooner than you probably think!

 
Practice Perfect Posture
Remember when mom or grandma said, “Sit up straight!”? Well, these women weren’t just nagging you, they had a good point! Over time, your spine gradually reshapes to a different position based on how you sit. So, slouchers, heed this advice! In order to give yourself a more youthful appearance and a healthier spine, practicing good posture is a must. If you make a conscious effort to sit correctly every day, you could look quite a few years younger. It can even help you appear a few pounds lighter without additional exercise! Practicing perfect posture will result in a more confident appearance and can even help ease muscle pain and back problems.
 
To start practicing your posture and looking younger right now, begin performing periodic “posture checks” if you sit at a desk or table most of the day. Not sure how to sit? Here’s how:
 
While sitting, your head and eyes should look straight ahead with your neck aligned over your body. You shouldn't allow your head or chin to jut forward. Keep your knees slightly parallel or just a touch higher than your hips. Your back should remain straight while your buttocks touch the back of your chair. Feet should always be flat on the floor with your weight distributed evenly. The Cleveland Clinic recommends sitting in the same position no more than 30 minutes at a time. So, when 30 minutes is up, stand and stretch then go back to practicing!
 
<pagebreak> Hold Your Head High
Sometimes, looking radiant is all in the way you carry yourself. If you walk into a room with your eyes on the floor, shoulders slumped, of course you’re going to look older--and probably pretty miserable. Now that you know how to practice perfect posture, it should be even easier to hold your head high and command any room. No matter where you're going, walk like you have purpose--even if you’re just going on your weekly grocery run. Good posture, smiling and looking people directly in the eye when you speak shows confidence, strength and can result in a younger, more alert appearance. So go ahead and live with some gusto!
 
Live Happy, Stress Less
It goes without saying that changing negative thoughts into positive ones will help relieve stress and make you happier. And guess what? Younger-looking people are typically those who do, in fact, stress less! When you’re stressed out and anxious, your body produces more cortisol, adrenaline and other chemicals that can make you feel depressed, tired and worn out. Plus, ongoing stress doesn’t do your immune system any favors. Too much stress can cause your glands to produce excess oil which can worsen skin conditions like acne and even eczema. So, take a deep breath and time to relax every day--even if you have just ten minutes. Learn how to live a stress-free lifestyle by trying some simple yoga posess, meditation or enjoying a spa treatment in the comfort of your own home. You’ll look and feel better before you know it.  
 
Do Nothing At All
Sometimes, we just need to relax for a while to gain youthful energy and be more productive later. Taking time to do nothing also plays a big part in stressing less in order to improve our appearance. But sometimes, when we think about everything we need to accomplish each day, taking time to do nothing can sound absurd. But, rest assured, freeing your mind of unwanted thoughts and stress will help you feel rejuvenated, rested and downright blissful.
 
Not sure how to go about doing nothing? You’re not alone! These three easy tips will help you master the art of doing absolutely nothing. You can always start small, devoting just five minutes to this necessary act each day to live a happier, healthier, more youthful existence.
 
  1. Find a spot where there are no distractions, noise or people that can interrupt you. Heck, close yourself in the bathroom if you must!
     
  2. Unplug everything. Turn off the television, your mobile phone, computer and any other electronics that can cause distractions. Better yet, don’t allow them to be in arm’s reach.
     
  3. Sit or lay in a comfortable position, close your eyes and focus on the sound of your breath.
Adopting just some of these natural, healthy habits will help you achieve a more youthful appearance and keep you looking gorgeous and radiant from the inside, out!
 
Source List
Cleveland Clinic, "Posture for a Healthy Back," www.clevelandclinic.com, accessed on April 15, 2013.
 
Kunst, Jennifer, Ph.D., "The Lost Art of Doing Nothing," Psychology Today, August 8, 2011.
 
Watson, Stephanie, "Are You Getting Enough Beauty Sleep," WebMD, accessed on April 15, 2013.