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The Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Health Immediately

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I get this question all the time.

To be honest, I find it VERY HARD to answer.

This is difficult to answer because there are HUNDREDS of small changes to make for your health, and the top 5 for you will be different than my top 5 or the girl next door’s top 5.

We are bio-individual beings with unique needs and challenges.

This is why I prefer individualized nutrition coaching practice. Learning about your unique struggles and lifestyle helps me find the most impactful changes for you!

Recently, I was being interviewed for an article and this question came up, again.

Since this question gets asked so many times, I thought I’d do my best to answer it. So here you go:

The top 5 health changes that almost everyone would benefit from.

Reduce toxin exposure

We are constantly being exposed to toxicants in our environment, from pesticides on produce, PFAS in cookware, artificial scents in nearly everything, and increasingly contaminated air and water.

These chemicals can lead to a wide variety of diseases and put undue stress on our body’s internal detoxification systems mainly our liver, kidneys, and skin.

The best way to combat this is to reduce exposure.

  • Buy cleaner products.
  • Eat organic when possible.
  • Consult the EWG for safer and cleaner products.
  • Use a water filter.
  • Wear a mask around noxious chemicals.

You don’t have to do all of these things at once. Instead, pick the largest exposure you have and try to clean that up.

If you don’t know what your largest exposure is, or the one that would have the most impact, reach out for a coaching consultation to find out.

Eat whole foods with fewer additives

Real foods don’t have ingredient lists. They don’t come in bags or boxes or cans. They don’t have anything mixed in.

They come from the earth as is and we should aim to eat mostly this type of food.

Think carrots, broccoli, lettuce, potatoes, strawberries, lamb, rice, eggs, chicken, almonds etc.

These are nutrient-rich whole foods that will fuel you!

Buy Organic - produce
Photo by Kate Trysh on Unsplash

Eat a variety of foods, including more vegetables

The government recommends 5 servings of produce a day. The Institute of Functional Medicine recommends 9-10 servings of those same fruits and vegetables per day. Most people are struggling to get 2-3 servings and I think this is an area where almost all of us can improve.

Fruits and vegetables contain beneficial polyphenols (the same chemical compounds that produce colors in plants) that have medicinal benefits. This is why we say to eat the rainbow (naturally of course).

Additionally, having more than 30 different types of plants every week is associated with better gut health because it better feeds a healthy and diverse microbiome.

Think about the fruits and vegetables you eat each week. Try to add a new one each week and at least one more serving per day and then grow from there.

One of the most helpful ways to make this something you can do long term is to learn how to cook creatively with vegetables and make them taste delicious without a pound of cheese on top 🙂 Peruse my recipes for some ideas.

Variety also includes a mix of cooked food, raw food, and fermented food.

Blonde women with long hair and pink sweater sitting on counter mixing arugula salad with wooden salad forks and wooden salad owl

Create better response patterns to stressors and stress

Stress has been called the silent killer, and it can negatively impact our well-being, as well as, our physicality. Unmanaged stress can negatively impact the immune system, cardiovascular system, sleep, and cognitive abilities.

But we can’t avoid and eliminate all stressors! This is not a call to quit your job and move to an isolated ranch (though trust me, I thought that was the path for a short while).

And some research shows it is not the stress itself, but our attitudes about the stress that cause those negative impacts.

Instead of eliminating all stressors, we have to cultivate habits and strategies to better manage stress. We have to work on mindset to calm our reactions so we can respond with intention instead of react.

Forest bathing, technology fasts, social time, laughing, meditation, exercise, and journaling are all great avenues to improve our stress responses and our mindset around stress.

Girl in black tank and green sweat shorts, sitting cross legged in the desert with hands on her head, sun is setting behind bluffs
Meditating in the desert

Get meaningful and restorative rest

I grew up in a time when “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” was a popular and respected attitude. What I know now is that attitude is just a way to get to the “dead” part faster. And who wants that?

We all live in a world with too much to do and too little time, which can lead to delaying or undervaluing proper rest.

I chose to say rest because this is bigger than just sleep. We need good, deep, uninterrupted sleep for around 8 hours every night. But we also need to participate in restorative and restful activities outside of sleep.

Let go of the idea that all moments should be productive and reconsider rest as one of the most valuable (and if you must, productive) things to do with your time. It makes you more efficient, happier, and better able to handle stress.

This also plays into social ties. Having strong relationships and good social community is one of the strongest predictors of good health outcomes.

This is really a call to have fun and let loose. It’s good for your health.

I probably missed a thousand things to do for health

This list is purposefully small and vague. Because there is no one magic bullet.

But there are lots of tiny little shifts that can point you in the right direction to improve health, mood, and vitality.

If you want more, sign up for my newsletter where I consistently share little changes that put you on the path to better health.

About Alicia

I love cooking almost as much as I love eating so I try to make sure I feel good about what I'm eating. I believe it's always a good occasion for some bubbly and I also love feeling healthy and being outdoors. I try to buy, cook and eat whole nutritious foods that promote a fun active lifestyle.

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