This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and then make a purchase, I may get a small commission from that sale, at no extra cost to you.
10 KEYS TO OPTIMAL HEALTH
The things on this list may seem like common sense at first glance, but the truth is, it is very easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life and forget to prioritize what is really important.
I hope you enjoy these science-backed keys to optimal health and I hope it encourages you to include a few, if not all, of them in your daily life.
1. Eat real nourishing foods.
This is a no-brainer. It is a well-known fact that food is medicine. Every day you make a choice either to feed dis-ease or fight it by what's on your plate. Real whole foods are life-giving and promote health; man-made processed foods filled with sugar, inflammatory oils, and chemicals feed chronic disease.
2. Move your body often.
Exercise strengthens your body, improves your cardiovascular and respiratory function, protects your brain from damage later on in life, boosts your self-esteem, and makes you happy!
3. Prioritize quality sleep.
Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise when it comes to being healthy. Sleep is when the body recovers. Poor quality sleep affects health. A review of 15 studies found that people who got less than 7 to 8 hours of sleep were at a far greater risk of heart disease or stroke. (1) Sleep is also essential for a healthy immune system - a study found that those who slept < than 7 hours were THREE times more likely to catch a cold. (2)
4. Get sun exposure.
If you've been here a while and watch my stories, then you already know how I feel about the sun. Sunlight exposure is beneficial to your health. Our ancestors use to LIVE outside. Nowadays the average adult is always inside – and that is evident by the fact that nearly 42% of adults are vitamin D deficient. Multiple studies have shown that sufficient sunlight exposure helps increase vitamin D synthesis, lowers depression, assists in wound healing, and boosts your immune system by energizing T cells (3).
5. Hang out in nature.
I always say food is medicine, but so is nature! Nature has intrinsic healing properties that, although perhaps unexplainable, are undeniable. There are studies that have shown nature exposure is associated with reduced recovery after surgery, reduced ADHD symptoms in children, and even health improvements in patients with cancer because of an increased expression of anti-cancer proteins! (4)
6. Nurture relationships and community.
Humans are social creatures. We crave connection and companionship. Extreme feelings of loneliness can increase an older person's chances of premature death by 14%. Feeling lonely can have dramatic health implications such as loss of sleep, depression, elevated blood pressure, and lower overall feelings of well-being. (5)
7. Find time to play + have fun.
Dr. Stuart Brown said it best - “The opposite of play is not work, the opposite of play is depression.” Play is a necessity of the human spirit. It fills your cup. It's refreshing. It allows you to show up as a better human being.
8. Reduce stress + worry.
Stress is not just mental, it has physiological effects on the human body too. When you are stressed out or worried, you release a stress hormone called cortisol. A little bit of stress is okay, even necessary for survival, but constant chronic stress can lead to negative health outcomes. A body under chronic stress may lose its ability to regulate inflammatory response which may promote the development of disease. (6)
9. Minimize toxins.
If you want to enjoy optimal health, you need to minimize your toxic load. There's just no way around it. Most toxins are endocrine disrupters that throw off our hormones and don't allow our bodies to function as they should. Our bodies are made to handle some amount of toxic exposure but we should be proactive about minimizing what we can. Nowadays there are a plethora of healthier alternatives to toxic ingredients and products which makes low-tox living a lot easier and approachable.
10. Practice gratitude.
Mental health matters too. You can't enjoy true well-being and happiness if your mind is not right. A great way to boost your mental health is through gratitude – being thankful for all of the good you have in your life right now and not take it for granted.
How many of these do you do daily, weekly, monthly?
What would you add as essential to better health?
What did I miss?