Enjoying radiant health and soaking up all the joy life has to offer are serious passions for all of us at Hyperbiotics—so much so that it’s become our mission to inspire everyone to discover their happiest, most vibrant selves. If you’re ready to reveal your healthiest you this year, here are some of our favorite ways to feel wonderful from head to toe.
1. Form Clear Intentions
Aiming for glowing health alone can feel vague—so it’s helpful to form clear intentions of all the delicious things you’d like to be, do, and have this year, as well as specific goals to make those intentions a reality. It’s sort of like creating a roadmap of where you are versus where you’d like to go: your intentions are the broad ideas of what you want, and your goals involve concrete practical steps you can take to create this positive change. To spark your imagination, here are just a few examples of some worthy intentions, along with the goals and specific actions to help you accomplish them:
Intention: Feel like my best self
• Reset my body by doing a cleanse.
• Find some type of movement I love, and exercise at least three hours a week.
• Revamp my diet by eliminating processed foods.
• Limit TV time to less than one hour a day.
Intention: Live authentically
• Unplug from social media for one day a week.
• Be present in the current moment by not checking my phone while I am with others.
• Create more space in my schedule so I can fully be where I am versus looking to the next thing on my to-do list.
Intention: Feel connected
• Mediate for 10 minutes daily.
• Begin a journaling practice.
• Attend a yoga class every week.
• Spend quality time every week with those who matter most in my life.
• Spend time in nature by eating lunch outdoors and taking daily walks.
• Give back by donating to my favorite charity and doing volunteer work.
2. Choose Real Food
When Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, he really knew what he was talking about! In order to achieve the best possible health, it’s vital to eat the best possible food. Thankfully, eating really well doesn’t need to be rocket science. Whether your personal nutritional philosophy is vegan, paleo, ketogenic, or something else entirely, all the experts agree that the root of good nutrition is to eat only “real” food—and jettison the processed stuff altogether.
“Going real” with your diet may feel like a daunting commitment in our culture of convenience, but when you understand the profound implications for your health and quality of life, eventually it will just become a part of who you are—and part of your daily routine. Ideally, real eating means consuming only whole foods in their natural state (such as apples, broccoli, or yams) and cooking from scratch, but realistically you’ll sometimes be buying prepared items as well. So to avoid compromising your standards, you’ll have to be an expert label reader. When shopping, make sure ingredient lists contain only whole, non-GMO, and preferably organic foods—and absolutely nothing you can’t identify.
Since refined sugar can sabotage your best nutritional efforts, be on the watch as well for hidden sugar, which seems to sneak into all kinds of foods including ketchup, fruit spreads, yogurt, and cereals. Even certain plant based milks or yogurts labeled “plain” or “original flavor” often have added sugar! To complicate matters, sugar isn’t even always called sugar on the label. Some of the other names it goes by include dextrose, sucrose, corn syrup, fructose, and evaporated cane juice.
When eating in restaurants and cafes it’s a little more challenging to determine exactly what’s on your plate or in your mug. Don’t be shy about asking your server for nutritional information when you order. After a while you’ll have gathered enough knowledge to be able to plan ahead so you feel confident about what to eat and drink when you go out.
3. Prioritize Your Gut Health
Since wellness begins in the gut, caring for your digestive and microbial health is one of the kindest and most basic things you can do to support your health—and the relationship between the gut and your other bodily systems is so strong that almost any positive lifestyle change will end up benefiting your microbiome. This means just about anything that’s good for you physically or emotionally falls under the umbrella of gut TLC!
That said, here are a few ways to more directly show your gut some love:
• Eat lots of plant foods. Research shows that what we eat produces profound gut microbial changes—and the consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with an increased volume and diversity of helpful probiotic strains in the digestive tract.1
• Avoid junk foods. Processed and refined foods loaded with sugar, unhealthy fats, antibiotic residues, GMOs, and artificial additives harm and lower the numbers of friendly gut flora necessary for proper digestion and health.2
• Reinforce the troops. Supplementing with a high quality, time-released probiotic such as PRO-15 introduces some of the most helpful bacterial species in existence to your personal microbial army.
• Nourish your gut bugs. Living probiotics need prebiotic fiber (found in many plant foods) to really thrive. Unfortunately, it’s challenging to get enough prebiotics in your diet. Stirring an organic prebiotic powder into your favorite foods and beverages helps your probiotic friends to stay well fed and healthy so they can return the favor by keeping you at the top of your game.
• Don’t declare war on germs. Antimicrobial household and personal care products effectively kill off beneficial microbes along with undesirable ones, which is very detrimental to your living microbiome. Stick to simple, natural cleansing products, which keep you and your home hygienic without going on the warpath against all microbes. Additionally, unless you really need them to get well, avoid taking antibiotics. According to the CDC, at least 30% of antibiotics in the U.S. are prescribed unnecessarily!3 While in certain situations, these medications can be lifesaving, they should be used with caution because they indiscriminately destroy helpful and harmful strains of bacteria, throwing your entire gut balance out of whack.
4. Create an Active Lifestyle
Whether it’s running barefoot across a soft lawn or jumping in the ocean surf, our bodies were designed to move joyfully, and active movement can inspire feelings of playfulness, exhilaration, and vitality. Everyone knows exercise is good for you. It benefits the heart, muscles, and bones, and regular exercise also helps our immune system stay strong.4,5
But the gifts of exercise go even farther—all the way down to the gut level, as well as all the way up to the brain. Active folks tend to have more beneficial gut bacteria than those who are inactive, and exercising moderately improves mood, reduces stress, and can even keep your brain young by increasing hippocampus size and improving memory.6,7
To get moving:
• Love what you do. Choose an exercise you’ll look forward to, whether it’s martial arts, swimming, spin classes, or just dancing wildly in your kitchen to your favorite tunes. Even walking regularly will do your mind and body a world of good.
• Pick a daily exercise time. Carving out a specific time for movement makes you less likely to forget to exercise, or find excuses not to.
• Enlist a buddy. Knowing a friend or family member is looking forward to exercising with you is great motivation to keep your commitment to an active lifestyle.
5. Slow Down
Living an active life shouldn’t mean feeling rushed and stressed! Stress flat out doesn’t feel good, but that’s not the worst of it—chronic stress wreaks havoc on the gut microbiome by reducing numbers of beneficial flora, restricting blood flow to the immune system (most of which resides in the gut), and making the digestive tract more permeable.8,9,10
That’s why when you slow down, mellow out, and de-stress, your mind and body will thank you. Here are some effective de-stressing strategies:
• Embrace the word “no”. Setting respectful boundaries prevents burnout from spreading yourself too thin.
• Take periodic mini breaks at work. Every 90 minutes, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. If it’s appropriate, stand up, stretch, and yawn—or even take a short walk.
• Prioritize sleep. Sleep deprivation makes it harder to handle stressors gracefully, and also damages the microbiome (which in turn makes you more prone to stress reactivity!).11,12 There’s nothing on your to-do list more important than getting a good night’s sleep.
• Schedule regular downtime. Plan for at least an hour a day of quiet, connected activities like reading, journaling, or snuggling up with a loved one.
• Try meditative movement. Practices such as yoga, Qigong, or Tai Chi are wonderfully de-stressing.
• Incorporate magnesium. Magnesium is a miracle mineral that works to relax muscles, relieve tension, and even help you sleep! Try a topical magnesium oil for fast, effective relaxation benefits.
6. Spend Time in Nature
Something about being outdoors transforms a blah day into a special one. Each of us is an integral part of nature’s web, and interacting with the natural world invites feelings of well-being. But connecting with nature also positively impacts wellness in more measurable ways, including immune response, weight management, blood pressure maintenance, positive mood, and healing capacity.13,14,15,15,16,17,18,19
All this benefit is due in part to the exposure we get to friendly microbes when we play outside, but nature-induced relaxation and good mood also strongly improve gut health. The bottom line is, being outside is amazingly good for your gut, which is wonderful for overall wellness. To connect with the natural world, try having a picnic under a tree or go for a walk at a local park. If time permits, take a day to relax by the seashore or at a lake. There are even opportunities to enjoy the natural world right in your own backyard through gardening, reading in a hammock, or just lying down in the grass and looking for shapes in the clouds.
7. Nurture Loving Relationships
There’s something about love that makes everything sweeter. And whether it’s the love of a romantic partner, a dear friend, a family member, or an adorable pet, it turns out that loving relationships also boost wellness, so much so that according to the world’s longest health study conducted by Harvard University, the quality of your relationships is a stronger predictor of health than your medical records! Here are a few of the ways love boosts vitality:
• Cuddling, kissing, and even holding hands enriches your microbiome by introducing new probiotic strains.20
• Positive emotions arising from loving relationships strengthen immune function.21
• Loving, supportive relationships reduce damaging stress, which also boosts immunity and overall wellness.22
To get the most from loving relationships, make time for relaxed meals with family and friends to share stories, jokes, and human warmth, or reach out to a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Take an afternoon to play unselfconsciously with your kids in the park, and schedule a romantic getaway (or staycation) with your significant other. To really fill your days with unconditional love, consider adopting a four-legged friend as well—you’ll get back at least three times the love you invest!
8. Seek Out Natural Oral Care
Your gut isn’t the only place in your body that harbors a microbiome; on average, the human mouth contains about 300 species of bacteria!23
Why does this matter? The bacteria in your mouth (both the probiotics you need, and the unfriendly varieties you don’t want) eventually find their way into the gut and bloodstream, impacting all the major systems of the body!24,25,26,27,28,29,30
Thankfully, supporting a balanced oral microbiome isn’t difficult:
• Ditch oral care products that derail microbial health. Antimicrobial ingredients commonly found in toothpaste and mouthwash, such as triclosan and alcohol, kill off helpful bacteria along with unwanted strains. Instead of attacking your microbial community, cleanse your mouth gently with natural oral care products that work in harmony with your oral flora, such as Hyperbiotics Activated Charcoal Probiotic Toothpaste.
• Avoid refined sugar. Eating sugary desserts is just as bad for your friendly flora as it is for your teeth! Just as in your gut, undesirable bacteria love refined sugar, which helps them to thrive, multiply, and crowd out the good guys you want to have around.
• Replenish your oral microbial community. Supplementing with a premium oral probiotic like PRO-Dental introduces your mouth to specific probiotic strains clinically studied for the way they support the health of your teeth, gums, and mouth.
9. Find a Mindfulness Practice
When things get hectic, it’s hard to stay present in each precious moment. Mindfulness practices like meditation help us slow down and reconnect to the peace at the center of here and now. Committing to a regular practice also returns some significant health benefits, which include relaxation, restful sleep, and better immune function.
As if this wasn’t enough reason to get on board, mindfulness practice can also impact the structure and function of the brain, increasing gray matter in areas associated with memory, learning, compassion, introspection, and self-awareness—while reducing brain regions associated with worry and fear.31,32 It can even increase the overall number of folds in our brains, while slowing down the natural shrinkage of gray matter as we age.33
Over time, meditation may also increase the length of telomeres (the protective “caps” at the end of our genes, which naturally shorten due to age and stress) so we can stay healthy in later years.34,35,36
Getting back to the gut (where health begins), because meditation so effectively takes you out of a stressful, gut damaging “fight or flight” response, your microbial good guys are put in a better position to keep you feeling healthy and happy.
To embrace mindfulness:
• Choose a modality that interests you. Not sure where to start? Try downloading a free mindfulness mobile app such as Headspace or Calm that offers the chance to try out many types of meditation and mindfulness experiences.
• Experiment with different classic techniques, such as focusing on the breath, following thoughts and sensations, working with a mantra, or guided imagery. Set a regular time for practice, even if it’s only a minute or two a day.
• Consider taking a meditation class to create a richer, shared experience.
• Be easy on yourself. If your mind wanders during practice–which it will—know that gently bringing yourself back to your focus is part of mindfulness, and something to celebrate.
10. Embrace Gratitude and Giving Back
When you’re focused on what’s pleasing rather than what upsets you, you’re bound to feel better. That’s not just a subjective observation—the latest science is confirming that the simple act of being grateful improves physical and mental health and may even help you live longer!36,37
To bring more gratitude into your life:
• Keep watch for all the amazing little things that are happening all around you. Perhaps you can smell fresh cinnamon muffins baking, or see a silent deer grazing at dusk. The more you’re on the lookout for life’s everyday gifts, the more of them you’ll be able to claim.
• Start a gratitude journal and jot down at least five things that brought you true happiness each day.
• Don’t worry about what anyone else has—just focus on the aspects of your own life that make you feel blessed.
Gratitude often begins with a shift in awareness, and the experience can ripen even more if it encompasses giving back. Sharing what you have with others feels delicious not just because you’re doing something nice, but also because it creates feelings of abundance and connection. After all, in order to give, one needs to actually have something to give.
There are almost endless options for giving back meaningfully! You might donate to organizations that work toward positive changes, volunteer at a soup kitchen or animal shelter, or even travel to a developing country to teach literacy or vocational skills. Part of your gratitude journey is figuring out which ways of giving best resonate with your soul.
Here at Hyperbiotics, we’re so proud and grateful to be part of Change for Women, a collective of businesses and creative leaders committed to improving equality, health, and human rights for girls and women worldwide. If this organization calls out to your deepest values too, click here to get involved.
When you commit to significant life changes, it’s only natural to run into a bit of resistance as your cells transform and adjust to their new normal. Hang in there and know that resistance is just part of the process of change. Before you know it, the intentions and goals that once felt tentative will become solid habits that are deeply ingrained in the new you, and you’ll be well on your way to a level of vibrancy you may never have imagined possible.
Wishing you and your family the happiest, healthiest year ever!
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Roberta Pescow is a writer at Hyperbiotics and proud mom of two amazing and unique young men. Natural wellness is a subject she’s passionate about, so she loves sharing information that helps others discover all the ways probiotics support glowing health and well-being. To learn more about how a healthy microbiome can enrich your life, subscribe to our newsletter.
This Healthy Living section of the Hyperbiotics website is purely for informational purposes only and any comments, statements, and articles have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to create an association between the Hyperbiotics products and possible claims made by research presented or to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options. This website contains general information about diet, health, and nutrition. None of the information is advice or should be construed as making a connection to any purported medical benefits and Hyperbiotics products, and should not be considered or treated as a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.