The BEST way to improve your health this year is to set Realistic and Sustainable goals. Setting lofty goals that you can only adhere to for a few weeks is not going to help your overall health. So, don’t try to add in 2 hours of exercise a day, and don’t try to say you will live on steamed veggies alone. Choose a Realistic health goal that is Sustainable for the long-term.
Eat more greens! A realistic goal is to have at least half your plate be green at lunch and dinner. By green, I mean any veggie – which could be any color of the rainbow. Vegetables are packed with antioxidants and by definition fight oxidation, meaning fighting cellular mutation, degradation, and illness. Veggies boost your immune system, they feed your microbiome, they fight cancer, they improve gut and cardiovascular health, and they fill you up with their delicious plant fiber.
Move your body every day. Some days you should stretch, some days you should walk or ride a bike, some days you should lift weights. Some days you should play a fun game like tennis, pickleball, or frisbee. Some days you should dance in your kitchen. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day of movement or stretching. When you sit in a chair for days on end, you promote hip flexion tightness, slumped posture, and core weakness. When you have even a little bit of movement, it kick-starts your metabolism in the right direction, improves your circulation, lowers your cholesterol and blood sugar, makes your heart and mood happier, and helps prevent stiffness.
Get a big reusable water bottle. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water – by then you are already in a water deficit. You should aim to drink 2 liters of filtered water daily. Your cells are 60% water, and when you are dehydrated, your cells are not functioning at their highest level. Adequate water intake will improve your skin quality, your blood pressure, your heart rate, your bowel function, your muscle recovery, your mood, and your clear thought processes.
- Don’t drink sugar. Sugar is the most inflammatory food you can eat, and inflammation is at the root of all chronic diseases. One easy way to reduce your sugar intake is to avoid drinking sugar like sodas and sugary coffee confections. Try a 3-week sugar detox and see how easy it is afterwards to continue ordering your iced coffee unsweetened. You can learn to love the taste of unsweetened drinks, and it’s a reminder that water should be the primary liquid you drink to feel your best.
Dr. Boston sees patients for integrative primary care at the Akasha Center for Integrative Medicine at 520 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401, (310)-451-8880.