Making healthier life choices doesn’t need to be intimidating. If you add just a few better habits to your routine, this can pay off tremendously. You will find yourself feeling more energized and upbeat, and as time passes, you may start to see changes in your physical appearance. Whether you’re trying to ditch poor habits or hoping to expand your wellness regimen, here are some small changes you can make to bring about big results.

Reduce your sugar intake.

The data is clear: Americans consume too much sugar, and this is debilitating for our overall health. One way you can cut down on sugar consumption is to drink sparkling water or unsweetened seltzers in place of sodas or other sugary drinks. Keep whole-grain snacks or nuts handy for when you get the craving for a snack, so you won’t end up binging on something sweet. Up your protein consumption and avoid becoming extremely hungry to stave off sugar cravings. Regular exercise can also help in this regard.

Go green when it comes to your diet.

Adding green leafy vegetables to your meals can be beneficial in a number of ways. The nutrients in greens help support cognitive health, improve gut functions, boost your immune system, and even improve the appearance of your skin. Get creative with your recipes to ​increase vegetable intake. Try different types of salads, including warm salads, for variation. Add leafy greens like spinach or chard to soups and pasta dishes. Blend up some fruit smoothies and add handfuls of raw leafy vegetables or even powdered greens.

Improve your gut health.

Your digestive functions relate to the health and well-being of your entire body and mind. What we eat, how we eat, and when we eat make a difference in every aspect of our wellness. Good digestive health depends on having the right gut flora, and a functioning gastrointestinal barrier to prevent the absorption of harmful molecules. You can improve gut health by reducing meat consumption, avoiding irritants, and adding fiber to your diet. Boost your good gut flora by taking probiotic supplements or eating more fermented foods.

Protect your joints.

As our bodies grow older, we often begin to feel the difference in our joints, especially if we are carrying extra weight, sitting for long periods of time, or dealing with past injuries. You want to keep your joints healthy so you can remain active without discomfort. Eating balanced meals packed with nutrients is important for joint health. You should also practice stretching and bending exercises to remain supple and avoid injury. Just a few minutes of yoga or Pilates at the start of your day can make a difference.

Raise your heart rate.

Exercise that gets the heart pounding and blood pumping improves cardiovascular health and strengthens your heart over time. This can help reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and decrease the risk of heart disease. Cardio workouts will also help you feel more energized and make it easier to pursue other healthy lifestyle choices. Going for a run is a good way to raise your heart rate, but if you don’t enjoy running or have access to good running paths, you can also do aerobic exercises such as dance or kickboxing or try a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout.

Eliminate stress triggers.

Stress can take a toll on your overall wellness and increase the temptation to pursue harmful behaviors. Know your stress triggers and try to avoid them. This might mean saying no when asked to take on extra unpaid labor or avoiding types of social media content. If your workplace is adding to your stress, ask yourself whether you’re ready for a career change. Look into online courses and degrees to prepare for a transition to a more rewarding job.

Don’t be daunted by the prospect of change. Instead, look forward to how much better you will feel and how much more energy you will have. Focus on the positive and start small, and you will soon see and feel the benefits of these little lifestyle changes. For more information and support in your pursuit of holistic health, explore the other great articles at Natural Health Answers.

Author: Cheryl Conklin from

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Fruits, vegetables and green drink on table.