Have you heard the saying “We are what we repeatedly do”?
This is 100% spot on when it comes to your health. The choices you make every day play an enormous role in your long-term wellness because they are the foundation upon which your health is built.
These basics often get skipped in favor of pharmaceutical drugs, fancy supplements, and trendy therapies, but they should not be overlooked! Whether you’re just beginning your health journey or have already made great progress, here are 9 daily practices that can make a huge impact on your health.
1. Drink 20 oz of Filtered Water First Thing in the Morning
Water makes up 60% of your body and is essential for transporting nutrients and flushing away toxins. When you wake up you’ve gone a full 8-9 hours without drinking any. Rehydrating after a night of sleep ensures you start the day energized and ready to combat environmental toxins.
Drinking water on an empty stomach is particularly beneficial because it has been shown to strengthen immune function and kickstart your metabolism.
Since tap water is one of the top sources of toxins on a day-to-day basis, I recommend using a high-quality filter such as Berkey water filters, which remove 200+ unsafe contaminants.
2. Step Outside for Some Sunshine
Sunlight signals to your brain that it’s time to wake up and reinforces your natural circadian rhythm. It also supports vitamin D production, which is essential for bone, immune, and mood health.
Watching the sun during dawn or dusk is also shown to release serotonin, your feel-good neurotransmitter, for an uplifting start to your day. If the weather prevents you from getting outside, even sunlight through a window is beneficial.
3. Take a High-Quality Multivitamin
I am a huge proponent of getting your nutrients through food. However, the truth is that our food simply isn’t as nutrient-dense as it once was, we are surrounded by unprecedented levels of toxins, and are facing sky-high levels of stress.
This is why I recommend taking a multivitamin to bridge this nutritional gap and support a strong foundation. Look for a product containing a broad range of nutrients that exceeds the minimum recommended daily value (RDV) of each since those are truly the minimum requirements to prevent disease.
In our clinic, we use RootFix MegaMulti because it is specially formulated with the micronutrients, bioflavonoids, and trace minerals lacking in the modern diet. It also contains specific nutrients to support thyroid function, including selenium, zinc, and vitamins B, C, D, and E.
4. Drink a Balanced Smoothie
Smoothies are an easy way to load up on essential nutrients, healthy fats, protein, and fiber if they are crafted well. Hint: the ones full of fruit juice and sugar found at many smoothie shops will leave you feeling cranky and craving sweets by mid-morning.
When building a balanced smoothie, aim for:
- Greens – These are rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients. Spinach, kale, watercress, or chard are all good options.
- Healthy Fats – Avocado, MCT oil, nuts, and seeds will keep you full and power your brain.
- Protein – Look for a clean protein powder, such as bone broth protein or collagen-based protein (we like RootFix Paleo Protein), without added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
- Minimal Fruit – Choose those lowest in sugar, such as berries, pears, apples, or green bananas and keep it to 1/2 to 3/4 cup.
I often drink a smoothie for breakfast out of convenience, but they are also a great option for lunch or an afternoon pick-me-up.
5. Move Your Body and Sweat
Exercise is known to increase energy and endorphins, improve cognitive function, support bone health, and decrease your risk for chronic disease.
If you move enough to break a sweat, you also support detoxification by flushing toxins from your system. If your current state of wellness makes vigorous exercise challenging, using an infrared sauna can be a gentler, yet still effective option for breaking a sweat.
6. Take Your Time at Each Meal
Taking time for the eating experience can help you better digest your food, respect your natural hunger and fullness cues, reduce cravings, and embrace your interconnectedness with the people, animals, and nature that contributed to the meal on your plate.
It honors the power of food as medicine and enhances the experience to make it a deeper healing process.
To implement more mindful eating, try these strategies:
- Sit down and take a few deep breaths before starting your meal.
- If you wish, you can say a prayer or give thanks for the food in front of you. You can express gratitude for all the people who were involved with growing and making your food, including yourself.
- Eat slowly and make sure to chew your food well (this supports digestion and enzyme production).
- Give yourself a few moments after the meal to digest your food before rushing off.
7. Eat a Rainbow
A rainbow of colors on your plate means a wide variety of nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals from fruits, vegetables, and starches. This helps foster and maintain a diverse microbiome and ensures adequate nutrients for immune, thyroid, and mitochondrial function.
A great goal to aim for is to eat one rainbow a day, or take it to the next level and eat a rainbow at each meal!
Here’s a snapshot of a particularly colorful meal our nutritionist, Lili, shared in our Facebook support group.
- Red: apples, radishes, red pepper, and raspberries
- Orange: carrots
- Yellow: grass-fed butter
- Green: arugula
- Purple: cabbage
- Plus a wedge of creamy dairy-free cauliflower herb “cheese,” buckwheat bread, and salmon cakes.
8. Go Screen-Free Before Bedtime
The light emitted by our electronic devices is blue light. This is the same type of light emitted by the sun, which we know signals to your brain that it’s awake time. Using these devices past sunset is known to decrease melatonin production and make it harder to fall asleep.
In order to support your natural circadian rhythm, turn off phones, laptops, tablets, and computers one hour before bed. Use low lighting to read a book, stretch, or practice stress-relieving activities to help you unwind and prepare for sleep.
9. Practice Gratitude
Research shows gratitude lowers stress hormones by up to 23%, can decrease insomnia, and is linked to more self-compassion.
A daily gratitude practice doesn’t have to be anything fancy or time-consuming, just take a moment to reflect and appreciate.
You can keep a gratitude journal and make an entry before bed each night. Or, call someone to tell them you appreciate them. Do an act of kindness or give a compliment for a job well done. Share a helpful or uplifting article, maybe this one 🙂
About the Author: Dr. Seth Osgood is a Doctor of Nursing Practice, Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) Certified Practitioner. Dr. Osgood received his post-graduate training in Functional Medicine through the IFM and from working with Dr. Amy Myers. He has helped people from around the world improve their health utilizing a Functional Medicine approach.