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6 Habits That Keep Your Body Healthy


by Dr. Nancy Rahnama

Director of Health & Nurition

There’s a common misconception that genetics and circumstance play a larger role in our health than they really do. And of course, certain hereditary factors are unavoidable, but in reality, we have far more control over our physical health than we think.

Most hereditary health factors in our biology have shown themselves by the time we’ve reached adulthood, and many of the risks we face after that are brought on by inheriting lifestyle habits from our parents and grandparents.

The best way to ensure you stay healthy, fit, and happy for the rest of your days is to get healthy habits. Here are 6 you should start working on now:

6 healthy habits you should start forming today

1. Maintain a balanced diet: 

Having a healthy diet filled with fruits, veggies and protein can help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. More specifically, a Mediterranean vegetarian diet is linked with lower all-cause mortality and can reduce certain cause-specific mortalities. Foods like fresh produce, nuts, legumes, wholewheat carbs, and plant-based sources of protein are all part of a well-balanced diet. Making sure that you’re getting enough of the necessary nutrients each day is the best way to ensure a healthy body and proper brain function. Remember, a balanced diet isn’t about always being perfect. You need to avoid the trap of diet perfectionism and then giving up entirely when you slip up. Instead, get into the habit of making the best choice available to you in the moment. Sure, you can have a slice of cake at your birthday, but when you get up the next day get your normal healthy breakfast and carry on your healthy diet as normal.

 

2. Get enough sleep: 

Sleep allows your body to relax and reset for the following day. Sleep deprivation leads to fatigue, stress, poor concentration, and unhealthy food choices. When people are tired, they’re more likely to have a lapse in concentration and mistakenly put themselves in danger when driving, working, or taking care of children. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night and have a consistent wind-down evening routine whenever possible.

 

3. Exercise regularly: 

Staying physically active helps your body as a whole and it’s necessary even if your goal isn’t to lose weight. Daily exercise makes you feel and function better, sleep better, and can even increase your life expectancy.

If you’re not a fan of sports, even walking 30 minutes a day can make a difference to your cardiovascular health and increase your lung capacity. Even if all you do is squeeze following a 10 minute yoga video on YouTube when you’re tired, you’ll feel better than if you hadn’t moved at all.

 

4. Manage anxiety and stress: 

Stress can hinder both your physical and mental health. Managing this can help reduce susceptibility to chronic disease triggered by stressful lifestyles.

When you’re stressed cortisol pumps through the body, but chronic stress high cortisol levels all day long. This can lead to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, weight loss, and more.

While it’s often easier said than done, you need to do what you can to reduce stress levels in your life. Start finding ways to unwind, disconnect from the news and social media for as much of the day as you can, and if there’s a high stressor in your life that can be removed, consider making changes so you can let it go.

 

5. Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink: 

Excessive alcohol intake is associated with high blood pressure, certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke. Minimize your alcohol intake to reduce these health risks, and when you do drink, opt for small amounts of healthier options. For example, a glass of red wine has some beneficial ingredients instead of a mixed drink that is high in sugar.

 

6. Stay social: 

The pandemic caused us all to become introverts, and now many people are finding it difficult to reconnect and stay connected with friends and family, especially when living alone and working from home.

However, staying connected to partners, friends, and family members is good for our mental and physical health. So, make sure you make time to meet up with friends for a walk or call your family members for a chat.

Studies have even found that nurturing one’s social circle can support immune, heart, and brain function. If you are looking for a group of people to connect with but are prone to social anxiety, there are plenty of support groups that can help with the issue of connecting with others.

It’s important to remember that good health is not one element; it’s a multifaceted system that relies on consistent work in all corners. From exercising and eating well to prioritizing our mental health by managing stress, there are plenty of things we can do to stay healthy in body and mind.

 


Dr. Nancy Rahnama, MD, ABOM, ABIM, is a medical doctor board certified by both the American Board of Obesity Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine. Her specialty is Clinical Nutrition, that is, the use of nutrition by a medical doctor to diagnose and treat disease. Dr. Rahnama has helped thousands of people achieve their goals of weight loss, gut health, improved mood and sleep, and managing chronic disease. In addition to her private practice in Beverly Hills, she is also the co-founder and Director of Nutrition for Dr Nancy MD.

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