1. Eat Whole Foods, Organic When Possible
“Breaking free of the grip of processed food is a must if you want to claim and own your health,” advises Lipman. Processed foods containing sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and flavors, preservatives, and unhealthy fats have been linked to type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
By contrast, organic, non-GMO vegetables and fruits offer essential fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients our bodies need to thrive.
When selecting whole foods — especially produce — opt for organic varieties whenever possible. Pesticides and other agricultural chemicals can be hazardous to both physical and cognitive health. Each year, the Environmental Working Group publishes the Dirty Dozen, a helpful list of the most pesticide-heavy produce, which includes strawberries, apples, spinach, kale, potatoes, and more.
Eating clean becomes more important when you eat high on the food chain, says Lipman, noting that antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides tend to concentrate in conventionally farmed meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs. Though organic foods are often more expensive than their conventionally grown counterparts, think of them as an investment in your health that may help avoid costly medical bills down the road.
Try joining a local CSA (community-supported agriculture) group for locally grown, organic produce, or look into services — such as Imperfect Produce — that deliver affordable, organic, cosmetically marred but nutritionally robust produce right to your door.
2. Get Bodywork
Massage and hands-on healing techniques energize and rejuvenate us, increasing our sense of well-being while easing stress, says Sheila Patel, MD, chief medical officer for Chopra Global.
“Massage is a very underutilized tool for pain management,” she explains, noting that it can stimulate the release of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, improve circulation to the muscles and connective tissue, and encourage lymphatic flow and drainage. Studies have demonstrated that it can also reduce stress, pain, and muscle tension. “In addition,” Patel notes, “Ayurvedic massage that incorporates energy work and acupressure can help optimize the body’s internal communication via nerve signals, create energy flow, and enhance immunity.”
To enjoy the benefits of massage in a budget-friendly way, try reaching out to a massage school, where students often offer discounted rates. Or take advantage of DIY…