There’s more to creating a healthy lifestyle than just nutrition and training. Superior health and wellness comes with time, consistency, and dedication that goes far beyond cardio and a juice cleanse. Don’t get me wrong, physical exercise and nutrition are key components, however your mental health in addition to your physical health is just as important. To create a healthy lifestyle, you must find homeostasis. It’s easy to make a list of heathy habits, but it’s a whole different thing to actually live and instill those healthy habits and execute them. No one’s path will be the same, but we've provided you with 17 health and nutrition tips to get you started!
1. Eat More Protein
One of the most common ways people gain weight is by under-eating, and not getting enough protein in their diet. Protein is a critical macronutrient, that is needed to initiate the muscle building process.
More protein will moderate and help maintain a healthy weight and burn more calories at rest. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn [R]. Protein is naturally the most thermogenic foods.
Aim for at least 0.6-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight to maintain and build more muscle.
If you find it difficult to get in enough protein throughout the day, try supplementing with a protein shake. Whey protein isolate is an isolated form of pure protein that can help with strength, weight loss, better blood glucose levels, and help you achieve optimal health.
2. Drink More Water
Staying hydrated is crucial to your health and longevity. Water is needed for every human cellular action and can help improve your health by providing more mental clarity and maintaining optimal body function.
Research suggests that water can help with weight loss in a variety of different ways. Water can help suppress your appetite, boost your metabolism, and make exercise and digestion more efficient [R].
3. Cook at Home
When you go out to eat, you have no control or any idea of what or how your food is prepared or made. Restaurants use copious amounts of salt as well as cheap vegetable oils and fatty foods to enhance flavor. Going to the store and cooking your own food at home, put’s you back in control of what you are really eating. Cooking with healthy oils, like olive oil, buying lean grass-fed proteins, and reducing processed foods, will help ensure you in creating the healthy lifestyle you want, while also reducing chronic inflammation that builds over time from refined sugars and seed oils.
3. Add Color to Your Diet
Adding color to your diet simply means eating more fruit and vegetables. Fruit and veggies replenish your body with vital and key nutrients, powerful bioactive plant compounds, as well as antioxidants, that can fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.
Think of antioxidants as an invisible coat of armor. They fight environmental factors, that can cause cellular damage, aka free radicals. Free radicals are a byproduct of cellular activities. Everyone has free radicals, and our bodies will always be producing them, through the process of oxidation. Everything from the food we eat, to the exercise we perform, to the stress we endure, is creating free radicals. [R] Free radicals in the body can also be generated as a response to environmental factors/sources, such as pollution, sunlight, and smoke, for example.
By including more fruit and veggies, in your diet you can help improve quality of life and longevity, giving your body all the essential vitamins and nutrients, it needs. Adding a greens and reds powder can also help improve overall health and wellness providing an abundance of nutrients, that you otherwise wouldn’t be getting on a daily basis in your diet.
4. Take an Omega-3 Supplement
Research has shown that-3 fatty acids found in foods like salmon and avocados have a myriad of health benefits, including heart health, joint health, brain health, and can even benefit your skin. Surveys have found that 98% of Americans don’t get enough of Omega-3 in their diet, however, the anti-inflammatory properties, are hard to ignore, and can help add to a healthy lifestyle.
Add some Krill Oil to your daily morning routine. It’s an easy way to get a super packed and potent form of antioxidants and omega-3s!
Overwhelming evidence shows that exercise is associated with a longer lifespan, as well as delaying the onset of chronic disease. Exercise also helps mental health, reduces stress, improves sleep and reduces adipose fat tissue, which is associated with obesity and higher mortality rates. No matter what type of exercise it is, do it. Find something that you enjoy, whether it’s running, cycling, CrossFit, or HIIT, get moving and get your heart rate up. The most important part of exercise is consistency. If you can be consistent, you’ll see results and feel great. Exercising, occasionally, just doesn’t cut it.
6. Go Outside
Long term functional health depends on stress levels and happiness. Going outside daily can improve mood state, improve sleep quality, and reduce stress. Sleep, stress, and mood are all critical factors, in leading a healthy lifestyle and can greatly affect quality of life. So, take a walk, go on a hike, see a beautiful waterfall, play some ball with your boys at the park downtown, whatever it may be, get up and get outside. Breath the fresh air and live a little.
7. Eat More Fiber
Digestive health is the key to health and wellness. Your gut microbiome is the epicenter of your body and connects very important biological process, to your body and brain. Your digestive tract breaks down and absorbs your food, providing vital nutrients to your body. Having a disruption in gut health, can leave you feeling bloated, constipated, nauseas, foggy brained, and often times, can get in the way of how you look and feel and kill your confidence.
Eating fiber rich foods, like oats, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and chickpeas provide a robust amount of fiber and functional complex carbohydrates. Fiber, can help lower cholesterol, improve heart health, keep you satiated, and provide vital prebiotics, to aid in better digestive health.
Nearly all causes of inflammation can be directly traced back to the gut. 60-70% of your immune system is controlled by the gut. Pathogens, microbes, and foreign materials are constantly introduced to the digestive tract, which can produce an inflammatory response.
If you have food allergies, such as a dairy sensitivity, gluten intolerance, or other sensitives, these constituents can be seen by the immune system as an invading allergen, irritant, or toxin.
Having a healthy microbiome, will help regulate the immune system, absorb more nutrients, and produce better defenses against invading pathogens. The gut lining or gut barrier is our first defense against inflammation, and when that barrier is breached, we produce systemic inflammation. This is called, gut hyper-permeability. This specific mechanism is directly correlated and characterizes the etiology associated with inflammatory bowel disease states, such as Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
8. Monitor Your Health
What is not measured, it not managed. Using tracking apps, like Whoop, monitoring your activity, your sleep, and food intake can really help optimize your health and wellness. Getting some basic metrics, can provide you with the information you need to make small adjustments and take your health and wellness to the next level.
Even more important, is to monitor your health through blood panels and what specific vitamins and minerals you may be deficient in, to take the proper course of action. Hormone testing is also vital to human health and wellness, especially as you age. Testosterone, DHEA, cortisol, estrogen, will start to decline after age thirty, attributing to fatigue, a slowdown in metabolism, weight gain, and loss of muscle mass. Thus, it is very important to monitor your health and have a protocol, to optimize health and wellness if you want to live a healthy lifestyle.
If you feel like you are consistent in your training and eat well, but you’re not seeing results, you could have a hormone imbalance. Check out the Swole Kitchen and see if hormonal health testing and coaching is right for you.
9. Reduce Alcohol Intake
Alcohol is a toxin and can lead to chronic inflammation. Alcohol has a systemic effect on the gut microbiota. Chronic alcohol use impairs the balance of microflora in the gut, the gut barrier function, the liver’s ability to detoxify bacterial products and to generate a balanced cytokine milieu, and the brain’s ability to regulate inflammation in the periphery [R].
Alcohol consumption will also hinder performance in the gym, make you feel irritable, depressed, nauseas, and has long term effects on your liver, brain, and cardiovascular system. And let’s not forget the wicked hangover you’ll have after 2-3 shots and a few beers. The long and the short of it, cut back if you want to take your health a little more seriously [R].
10. Get Better Sleep
Easier said than done. Human beings sleep for approximately one-third of their entire lifetime. It’s one of the key elements to better quality of life, body optimization, and hormonal balance. Several hormones are affected by sleep, including cortisol, leptin, ghrelin, testosterone, and melatonin. These hormones, directly influence metabolism, body composition, insulin sensitivity, and appetite.
If you have trouble sleeping, cut down your caffeine intake, get into a healthy night time routine and cut out blue light or screen time a couple hours ahead of your sleep schedule and introduce a potent and effective sleep supplement, like Swolverine’s ZMT.
With better sleep, comes an improvement in productivity, recovery, body composition, and quality of life.
RELATED ARTICLE How Does Sleep Affect Body Composition, Metabolism, And Hormones
11. Limit Sugar Intake
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate, or as I like to call it – empty calories. Added sugars are prevalent in packaged and baked goods. High sugar intake is associated and linked with nearly every chronic disease state, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Sugar is addictive. It has the ability to fire off the happy hormone ‘dopamine’ creating a sense of pleasure and soothing in the Mesolimbic Dopamine System. The chemical dopamine gets fired off and released by neurons when we have sugary foods, signaling a positive, reinforcing reaction. We might experience this same sensation when we laugh, see someone we love, or experience something fun for the first time. [R] The positive signal reinforces behaviors, making us more likely to perform the actions that create this reaction in the brain.
The more sugar you have, the more often you have it, the more frequently dopamine is released and the more the brain wants to feel the same sensation from the sugar that we eat.
That doesn’t mean you have to cut out all sugar. Let’s just not make it a habit.
12. Avoid Processed Foods
Processed or packaged foods often will have hidden sugars, use cheap protein sources, such as soy, add ingredients, that can trigger food sensitivities, and intolerances.
Thousands of food additives are used in the food industry for various functions, to preserve food, taste, and appearance. These are generally synthetic and cannot be consumed as food themselves.
Eating raw, natural foods can help eliminate processed foods, that may have these additives. Preliminary animal studies, have shown that common additives, such as emulsifiers, stabilizers, and preservatives, can induce low grade inflammation and obesity/metabolic syndrome in wild-type hosts and may impair the epithelial barrier [R].
13. Take A Vitamin D3 Supplement
Most people are vitamin d deficient. In fact, an estimated 1 billion people or 50% of the world population that has a Vitamin D deficiency, which means that 1,000 or more of your bodily functions are constantly impaired.
Vitamin D3 provides a ton of benefits, especially for mood, hormones, bone, and heart health.
Vitamin D ironically is not even a vitamin, it’s a steroid hormone, which helps regulate testosterone production.
RELATED ARTICLE Do I Need Vitamin D3? Benefits Of Vitamin D
Several studies have shown a positive correlation between vitamin D levels and total and free testosterone levels. Most studies have found that individuals with low vitamin d levels are much more likely to have low testosterone levels when compared to those with an adequate amount of vitamin d. Studies have also shown that supplementing with a low dose vitamin d, can increase free and total testosterone up to 25%.
It’s a proven fact, that without the sun, people tend to be more depressed. With 50% of the world population being Vitamin D deficient, it’s no surprise, that one of the greatest benefits of Vitamin D, is in the ability to help fight depression. According to randomized, double-blind, controlled study, 441 patients were assigned to one, of three groups; vitamin D (20,000 IU cholecalciferol) was given twice per week, once per week, or not at all (placebo) for one year. All participants also received calcium supplementation (500 mg daily). Findings indicated that for the two groups that received vitamin D, there was a significant improvement in depression (using the Beck Depression Inventory) which was more pronounced in those with higher depression at baseline [R]
Additionally, vitamin d helps immune health, heart health, and even obesity. Thus, adding Vitamin D3 into your daily regimen, will no double help you lead a healthier lifestyle.
14. Cut Out Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates are carbohydrate sources or grains which have had almost all the fiber, vitamins, and nutrients removed. For this reason, refined carbohydrates are often referred to as “empty calories”. Foods like white flour, processed corn, white bread, soda, added sugars, breakfast cereals and grain bars, do not provide an adequate source of nutrients, and raise blood glucose levels, attributing to more body fat over time [R].
15. Lift Weights
Lifting weights aka resistance training is one of the best things you can do to impove your quality of life. Lifting weights will also improve metabolic including bone density, core strength, functional strength, as well as reduce your chances and delay the onset of chronic disease states, improving blood glucose levels.
The more muscle mass you have on your frame, the faster your metabolism, improving body composition. So, if looking great and feeling great in your body is the goal, then you won’t get there without lifting weights.
16. Get Social
Epidemiological studies show that nurturing and fostering relationships with your loved ones, friends, and family improve long term physical health and well-being.
Loneliness, depression, and isolation can be detrimental to physical and mental well-being. Thus, establishing a community and being social can help improve nearly all parameters of wellness [R].
Get some friends, create your community, without it, your health may suffer.
17. Avoid Restrictive Diets And Get Personalized Nutrition
If you’re looking for a way to lose weight, get stronger, and maybe get that body you have always wanted, new studies show that personalized nutrition programs garner better results than traditional diet and fitness trends. In part, because personalized nutrition is not a trend at all. A review published in the journal Advances in Nutrition investigated whether personalized nutrition plans are more beneficial than generalized diet advice and protocols, and the results suggested that they are.
Diets provide short term results, that are predictably unsustainable. 95% of all diets fail and most will regain the weight they’ve lost within 1-5 years. Why, because diets are restrictive. They restrict foods and cut calories drastically low, providing short term and unsustainable results to a long-term problem.
With the advances in data metrics and analytics, using tools and apps, like your apple watch and WHOOP to track activity, caloric intake, heart rate, sleep, food tracking apps, and DNA testing kits to identify food allergies, and sensitivities, fad diets are quickly becoming a way of the past.
With the help of science and the new age of data, personalized nutrition may be able to help us better understand how to control blood glucose, fat oxidation, cholesterol, food sensitivities, and what types of training will provide the most benefit.
Diet’s take a one-size fits all approach to nutrition. Keto, for example, applies a simple principle, of eating more fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrates. This approach may work for some to lose weight in a short period of time, however this diet approach does not several factors into consideration, such as phenotype, food preference, diet restrictions, food sensitives, preferred training protocols, or performance-based goals.
Personalized nutrition takes all variables and individual characteristics into consideration when designing a custom nutrition program, to help that individual find more long-term success and sustainability, through food optimization and behavior change.
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