When it comes to improving our health, we tend to focus on the physical aspects related to nutrition and exercise, but spend less time focusing on how our environment can affect our bodies.
Today, there is greater concern about caring for the environment – from taking steps against deforestation, pollution, saving rain forests and endangered wildlife to reducing human carbon footprint. All of these are likely to positively affect our overall well-being. The one environment, though, that we take for granted in looking after, is our own personal environment – our homes.
We spend a lot of our time at home, so it is important that our homes become a healthier place to live in.
Throw open those windows to ventilate your home with natural light and fresh air! Opening several windows for 10 – 20 minutes once or twice a day will not only remove stale air and pollutants, but will also bring in clean air to freshen you and your home. Good ventilation and natural sunlight are essential for removing excess moisture from your home, getting rid of a major health hazard, mould, and for maintaining healthy air quality.
Enhance air quality with air purifiers
The first step to good health is making sure that the air you are breathing is clean. Unfortunately, Malaysia gets plagued by periodic haze due to high levels of air pollutants caused mainly by large scale forest fires on the neighbouring Indonesian island of Sumatra. Over the years, respiratory mortality has increased by 19% due to these haze episodes, along with chronic respiratory infections and asthma.
Investing in a state-of-the art air purifier can help mitigate the risk by sterilising the air and eliminating bacteria, viruses, moulds, allergens, bad odours and other harmful substances from your living space. AIA Vitality members can invest in MedKlinn air purifiers and enjoy a discount of up to 25%.
Green your indoors
Indoor plants undoubtedly offer immense benefits to our mind, body and soul! Known as “nature’s lungs”, plants are able to remove toxins from air (up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every 24 hours, according to NASA research), lower the amount of dust, release oxygen and humidify the air, and even lower stress.
Green is known to be a restful and quiet colour. Hence, having plants at home can reduce anxiety, elevate your moods and make you feel more refreshed and productive. Beyond that, they remind us of nature, which creates a sense of equanimity and balance, and they make your homes look welcoming, fresh, and clean. You can also consider growing some of your own healthy garden greens.
"Having plants at home can reduce anxiety, elevate your moods and make you feel more refreshed and productive."
Avoid chemical-based products
Toxic chemicals hidden in everyday cleaning products have been linked to a myriad of health problems, can aggravate allergies, asthma, and may also be carcinogenic. It is recommended to opt for natural cleaning solutions like vinegar, baking soda and lemon; or use essential-oils and plant-based products.
Switch to soy candles
We’ve all heard of switching to soy milk, but soy candles? Unlike normal candles that are made of petroleum-based paraffin that can be toxic to our health, soy candles are made of natural soy wax derived from soybean oil. These candles are also known to burn slower and cleaner, releasing less soot in the air.
Spring clean your pantry regularly
If you are trying to follow a healthy diet, now is the best time to get rid of all the tempting, empty-calorie, sugary junk food from your pantry! A study from Cornell University found that people who kept snacks and soda on their countertops were unhealthier than people who left out fresh fruits instead.
Cleaning out your pantry also helps you get rid of unwanted, expired and forgotten food items. A clean, well-organised pantry can encourage you to eat and stay healthy by improving shopping and cooking efficiency.
"People who kept snacks and soda on their countertops were unhealthier than people who left out fresh fruits instead."
Filter your tap water
It is recommended to get a water filter to ensure the water you consume is not contaminated. Contaminants such as lead, E. coli, pesticides and others that trickle into our water system can cause serious health problems like cholera, typhoid and in most extreme cases, damage our liver. Filtered water can help reduce the risk of contaminants, balance pH levels, thus protecting your overall health.
Store food in glass, not plastic
Got leftovers? Store them in glass and not in plastic containers. We are already familiar with the damaging effects of plastic on our environment. Glass overall is safer for food storage than plastic as chemicals from plastic can get transferred into your food. Glass is also more durable, doesn’t absorb food smells and can be recycled.
Create your own zen zone
"Create a small special space to help keep you grounded and balanced when needed."
We all have our own comfort nooks at home where we can unwind with a good book and a cup of tea. The idea is to build on it, and turn that special corner into an area of wellness, that allows you to feel healthy, calm and good. Add in all your favourite things like potpourri, essential oils, yoga mat, (soy) candles, flowers, cosy cushions etc. Create this one small special space to help keep you grounded and balanced when needed.
When it comes to maintaining good health, your home should be no exception! Whether it means sweeping away the dust more often or removing toxins, paying attention to and caring for our personal environment does not only affect our long-term health and well-being but also how good we feel at the moment.
The above articles are intended for informational purposes only. AIA accepts no responsibility for loss, which may arise from reliance on information contained in the articles.