24 Science-Backed Tips to Transform Your Health

James Colquhoun JAMES COLQUHOUN

Collectively, we’re all on a pathway to bettering our wellbeing. Be it mental, physical, or even spiritual health; we’re all about implementing simple practices to support ourselves. So what are some practical ways to do it? There are a few simple, easy tricks I have picked up from my time in the industry, and the best part is they’re all so enjoyable. I wanted to share these 24 science-backed tips to transform your health with you, in the hope that you’ll find a way to bring them into your day.

As a little challenge, in the lead-up to our 2021 Food Matters Total Wellness Summit, I invite you to try a new tip each day! And make sure you let me know how you go in the comments below. I look forward to seeing all of the incredible health-promoting habits you discover along the way...

1. Start Your Morning With Lemon Water

If you’re new to the Food Matters community, you’ll quickly learn how much we love our daily addition of lemon water upon waking. Seriously, it’s my one non-negotiable tip for total wellness! Adding freshly squeezed lemon juice to your morning glass of water is such a simple and powerful way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. When you sleep, your body is busy removing waste and excreting excess acids, which is why our urine is usually more acidic first thing in the morning.

Creating an alkaline state in your body by drinking lemon water early in the morning can boost your immune system function and prevent disease. It’s also a powerful way to detox your body as it stimulates bile production, which is the substance responsible for removing waste products from the liver. Additionally, it gets your digestive system ready for the day by producing more stomach acid and promoting healthy bowel movements.

2. Drink Your Daily Greens

We all know how beneficial greens are for daily health, but we don’t always crave kale. So how do you boost your superfood green intake? You drink them. Superfood greens powders have been shown to boost nutrient intake, support the body’s natural detoxification pathways, and help the body return to a naturally alkaline state. 

3. Practice Mindful Eating

Too often meals are consumed on the go or in front of a screen, but it hasn’t always been this way, and it shouldn’t have to. Mindful, conscious eating not only helps encourage an awareness of our food intake, but the presence helps to promote good digestion and support the metabolism of foods. Plus it’s a little extra moment in the day where you can be free from overstimulation.

4. Stay Hydrated

Our bodies need 8 glasses of water a day for survival, but it has more health benefits than simply keeping you alive. Not only does it help cellular function in the body, but it can also be used to support weight loss and address hunger cravings. Some easy ways to up your hydration include lemon water, a superfood greens powder, and including more foods with high water content, like cucumber and celery.

5. Get A Hug Each Day for Connection

Despite social distancing measures, as humans, we still crave physical connection. Hugs not only feel good, but they’re also scientifically proven to be good for your overall wellbeing. Physical contact and overall connection reduces stress and releases a hormone called oxytocin that boosts happiness. Studies even suggest that it can smooth over rough patches in relationships, but improving positive feelings through connection.

6. Daily Movement

Starting your day with a gentle stretch or movement of choice will boost your energy, mood, and focus for the day. It also helps improve posture and alleviate aches and pains. The movement has been found to improve cognition and mood, which may be due to the release of Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

Yoga, in particular, has been found to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Those who practice yoga regularly have been found to enjoy additional benefits, including lower inflammation levels,improved heart health, and better quality sleep.

7. Address Your Toxin Intake (Watch That Alcohol)

An excess of toxins in the body has been shown to contribute to the development of chronic inflammation, and lead to long-term disease. Toxins can be attributed to a number of causes, but one of the leading sources is in alcoholic drinks. The body has pathways to aid in detoxification, but when the supporting organs become overloaded, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to do their jobs.

8. Develop A Journaling Practice

We feel good when we write things down, right? Well, it turns out, research suggests that writing down our thoughts and emotions can reduce day-to-day stress. If they’re triggering memories, writing them down can help to release them. If they’re positive, documenting them can make you feel more grateful. So work a journaling practice into your day, and if you’re stuck for prompts, here’s where to begin.

9. Express Gratitude

To dive deeper into the profound impact of gratitude, this should be a daily non-negotiable. Expressing gratitude has been shown to boost mood receptors in the brain, which contributes to overall happiness and health. Taking it one step further by finding an opportunity to pay it forward and give back through small acts of kindness has even been identified as a cause of longevity.

10. Find A Consistent Workout Routine (That Makes You Happy)

A balance of exercise that combines cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility has been dubbed one of the most successful for overall wellbeing and longevity, but how do you go about creating a routine that encompasses them all, which you want to do every day? You find exercises that you enjoy! For example, yoga is great for not only flexibility but strength too. Cardiovascular might be an evening mountain hike one day, an at-home spin class the next. It’s about intuitively tapping into what your body needs and honoring that each day - in a way that makes you happy.

11. Enjoy Dark Chocolate (In Moderation)

If you’ve been following our journey for a while, you’ll know that we can’t stop singing praises for raw cacao. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and contributes to the release of happy chemicals in our brain. Dark chocolate also helps regulate the stress hormone cortisol and stabilize your metabolism, so it’s ideal for all-around health and wellbeing.

12. Daily Cold Exposure

You’ve likely heard of the Iceman by now, but you don’t need to go and submerge yourself in the Arctic. Even by switching the last 30 seconds of your daily shower to the cold setting, you’ll reap the rewards. Daily cold exposure has been proven to support the body’s innate healing power by activating the immune, lymphatic, circulatory, and digestive systems. It is such a simple yet profound way to boost your health and vitality. 

13. Cut Back On The Caffeine (Especially After Lunch)

People who can have a coffee after dinner and still get a decent night’s sleep should truly get more credit for the scientific enigma that they are. The truth is, we should be avoiding all stimulants in the lead-up to sleep to ensure we get those restful 8-hours that our bodies desperately crave.

14. Build Up A Regular Meditation Practice

A few simple moments to quieten the mind, and relieve stress on the brain (and ultimately the body), can be easily achieved with a meditation practice. The benefits of meditation practice can encompass whatever you’re focused on; from rewiring neural pathways to deep, restful sleep. If you’re just starting out, try this meditation with Laurentine.

15. Listen To Music

Music can evoke a powerful response in the human body. Whether it’s calming music to help ground us, energetic music to help pump us up, or a song that reminds us of a particular person or memory; they all have a profound effect on both mental and physical health

16. Sleep Better, And Longer

Good sleep is paramount to everything health and wellness. First and foremost, it allows the body a chance to rest and digest from the day; with everything from food to physical activity. It also allows the brain a chance to shut off, relax, and work through the REM cycles to support it. If you’re doing all the right things, it may help to rewire some misguided neural pathways too. Plus, how good do you feel after a good night’s sleep?

17. Avoid screens & blue light before bed.

Have you seen the blue-light blocking glasses we’ve been loving lately? It’s actually to promote healthy sleep habits and circadian rhythm. This light suppresses the release of melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. You can buy glasses or use a program like f.lux to change your computer’s harsh glow, and always plan a time in the evening to put your devices to bed, long before you do.

18. Laugh Out Loud, A Lot

There’s a reason laughter is called the best medicine. Studies have shown that happiness and laughter trigger a chemical response in the brain that boosts our mood, improves our quality of life, and allows us to develop connections with others. It’s the best kind of triple threat we’ve been told!

19. Bliss Out With A Massage

Spas aren’t exactly the destination of choice at present, but you can still take the opportunity to enjoy a relaxation-inducing massage where you can. It may be as simple as a morning gua sha, or asking your partner or kids to give you a shoulder rub after a long day WFH, after all, it soothes both the mind and muscles, improves sleep quality, and reduces stress.

20. Stop Snoozing (Seriously, Just Set Your Alarm For Later)

Snoozing in the morning can be one of the coziest things in the morning, but it can also be one of the most detrimental to your energy levels. The constant shift between waking and slumber disrupts the body’s REM sleep cycle, leaving you feeling grumpier and groggier. Although it’s initially difficult, we all know how much better we feel when we spring out of bed as opposed to hitting the snooze button, and the vicious cycle we can get into with it. So if you know you need a little extra sleep, set your morning alarm for a half-hour later and give yourself that precious REM time.

21. Hide The Alarm

While you’re at it, set your alarm across the other side of your room. Actually getting up to have to turn it off (before it wakes the whole household) will be enough to do the hardest part of waking for you; tearing back that cozy comforter. Then make sure you resist all temptation to crawl back in by moving into a meditation practice or some gentle stretching.

22. Declutter Your Life

Marie Kondo was truly onto something. Decluttering your life, from your closets to your relationships, can free up both metaphorical and physical space for the things that truly matter. It also helps us become calmer, more cheerful, and promotes productivity in daily life.

23. Eat More Organic Fruits & Vegetables

This is our bread and butter, you knew this one would be on the list! Those good-for-you foods are a chart-topper for looking after your overall health and wellbeing. They boost your daily nutrient intake, overall physical and mental health, and look after you for life - but make sure you’re stocking up on organic foods for maximum benefit! 

24. Learn From Experts In The Field

Tune into the Food Matters Total Wellness Summit later this month to hear the latest research and discoveries in total nutrition, health, and overall wellness. (Plus, it’s totally free, so there’s nothing to lose!)