So you want to start feeling younger and healthier, lighter and happier? Remember that reasonable goals and specific plans (“Lose 5 pounds in two months by cutting 200 calories a day.”) are more successful than wildly ambitious desires (“Lose 20 pounds by the end of the week.”). So be patient with yourself, try making some small changes every day, and see big changes in no time.
1 Get more shut-eye. It’s linked to increased lifespan. And it’s called “beauty rest” for a reason. For occasional restlessness, try valerian, passionflower, or melatonin.
2 Do desk stretches at work. Every hour, roll your shoulders, arch and round your back, and hang forward to let your spine and neck lengthen. It will improve circulation and your posture (slouching makes you look older).
3 Add whey protein to morning smoothies to keep energy levels constant throughout the day and boost glutathione, the body’s anti-aging nutrient; vegans, choose rice or pea protein instead of whey.
4 Protect eyes with lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that reduce risk of cataracts and age-related blindness. Find them in spinach, kale, Romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
5 Ban sugar. A high-sugar diet may be linked to accelerated aging. Even one day a week makes a difference. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit, and try stevia for calorie-free sweetening.
6 Join classes. Check out dance classes, aerobics, martial arts, tennis, or salsa; you’ll meet people and be more motivated to move. And exercise will give you a dose of endorphins and a youthful glow.
7 Detox daily. Avoid processed foods, sugar, and caffeine, and focus on liver-healing foods: artichokes, dandelion greens, turmeric, sea vegetables, and broccoli.
8 Energize. Take a B-complex daily to zap fatigue, lessen stress, and improve immunity.
9 Create a customized motivational quote. Include your talents, strengths, and values, and repeat it several times a day. See values.com for ideas.
10 Add 10 grams of fiber to any meal, with half a cup of garbanzos or lentils, a large handful of raspberries, or a cup of broccoli or acorn squash.
11 Ban white carbs. Swap white rice, pasta, crackers, noodles, and tortillas for brown (whole-grain) or yellow (corn) versions instead; you’ll boost fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
12 Add one superfood to your diet every day. Try hemp seeds, chia seeds, raw cacao nibs, or goji berries. Check out Navitas Naturals for these and more.
13. Purge parabens from your beauty routine. Check labels on deodorants, lotions, creams, and makeup, and swap chemical-laden versions for natural ones.
14. Declutter. Lighten up with a closet detox; pack up ill-fitting or old clothes, shoes, handbags, and accessories, and donate to your favorite charity.
15. Check your vitamin D. Low levels lead to fatigue and increased risk of disease; request a test at your next physical, and boost levels with a high-quality supplement.
16. Dance. Crank up your favorite upbeat music and shimmy around your living room for 15 minutes; you’ll burn 150 calories, increase circulation, and boost mood.
17. Hang out with healthy pals. Studies show your health habits mirror those of the five people you spend the most time with—so choose wisely.
18. Boost your sex drive with maca, a Peruvian herb that naturally enhances desire, and protects reproductive health.
19. Get the lead out. Invest in a high-quality water filter to remove heavy metals, chlorine, and toxins from tap water; see guidelines at ewg.org.
20. Avoid plastic food containers. They’re made with endocrine-disrupting chemicals that cause reproductive damage and increase cancer risk.
21. Eat breakfast. Studies show it enhances mental clarity, boosts mood, and promotes weight loss. Prepare in advance: boil eggs, cut up fruit, or make ready-to-heat breakfast burritos.
22. Beat the blues. Turkey, beans, avocados, oysters, and leafy greens contain mood-boosting nutrients to ease depression naturally.
23. Pamper your peds. Soak feet in epsom salts and give them a massage; slather feet with a luxe foot cream or oil before bed.
24. Eat smart at restaurants. Choose lean protein, then ask for extra vegetables on the side and carrot sticks instead of bread.
25. Keep a journal. Every night before you go to bed, write out any worries, stresses, or fears; you’ll sleep more soundly if they’re not rattling around in your brain.
26. Soak away cares in a warm tub with oils, soaks, or salts to soothe muscles and smooth skin.
27. Use sunscreen, even in winter. Choose chemical-free, mineral-based versions.
28. Savor some seaweed. It contains a fiber called alginate that’s been shown to reduce fat absorbed by the body and promote weight loss.
29. Schedule a vacay. Get away from it all; skipping downtime can increase risk of heart disease eightfold.
30. Replace your shoes, not your knees. Don’t skimp on workout shoes, and make sure they fit; shop late in the day, when feet are largest.
31. Speed healing. Rest when you’re sick; use down time to journal, meditate, or do gentle stretches. Slash recovery time with garlic extract, elderberry, or vitamin C.
32. Go green. Adding green foods every day boosts minerals and alkaline balance. Drink green tea, add salads and sauteéd chard to meals, put spinach in smoothies, and munch on kale.
33. Focus on fungi. Mushrooms protect against viruses and cancer. Add shiitake mushrooms to stir-fries, and take maitake, reishi, or turkey tail supplements.
34. Reduce inflammation. It’s linked to increased risk of disease. Avoid processed foods and sugars, eat omega-3 fats and turmeric, and supplement with quercetin, bromelain, or alpha lipoic acid.
35. Boost calcium. Studies show people who get 600 mg a day have less body fat. Collards, sesame seeds, and sardines are good sources; or, choose a food-based supplement.
36. Revamp your workout wardrobe. You’re more likely to exercise in a sexy getup than in frumpy gear.
37. Go organic. At least once a week (or more), eat only organic; organic fruits and vegetables are not only free of toxic pesticides, but are also slightly higher in antioxidants.
38. Rev up metabolism. Studies show cayenne, black pepper, garlic, mustard, and ginger increase body temperature, reduce hunger, and speed calorie burning.
39. Scramble an egg. Most studies show it won’t hurt your heart and may even protect it; eggs are rich in betaine, a compound that reduces artery-damaging homocysteine.
40. Feast on cranberries. Studies show they prevent bladder infections, reduce risk of oral cancer, and protect the heart. Choose dried versions sweetened with fruit juice.
41. Shed pounds with forskohlii, an ancient Ayurvedic remedy that stimulates fat-burning enzymes and hormones.
42. Have sex. It relieves stress, releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin, and burns calories.
43. Get cultured with probiotics. These beneficial gut bacteria enhance digestion and improve immune function. Eat fermented foods (yogurt, miso, sauerkraut), or take a daily supplement.
44. Have a spa day. Once a month or more, deep-condition hair, do an at-home facial, or exfoliate everywhere.
45. Eat a cancer-fighting food. Best picks from the American Institute for Cancer Research: flax, broccoli, cherries, winter squash, grape juice, beans, tomatoes, and garlic.
46. Don’t skip dessert. But make it count: choose nutrient-dense options like dates, nut creams and butters, or yogurt with whole fruit.
47. Drink water. In one study, people who drank two glasses before meals ate fewer calories and lost more weight. Add cucumber slices or mint sprigs for instant refreshment.
48. Maintain your brain. Play chess, study another language, or memorize poetry. Supplement with Huperzine-A and phosphatidylserine for super-smarts.
49. Munch on nuts. In one study, people who ate walnuts at breakfast skipped snacks and felt satisfied until lunch. Keep portions moderate—a small handful is plenty.
50. Smile! Nothing subtracts years faster; one study showed that people judged photos of smiling faces as younger than the same faces with a neutral or frowning expression.