(BPT) - If you’re seeking ways to boost your well-being for the new year, consider taking a holistic approach. Don't focus on one specific habit to conquer, but instead look at supporting the different systems within you — like your respiratory, immune, digestive and cardiovascular systems. A holistic approach focuses on those interconnected systems, not just aiming for a specific number on the scale.
Registered dietitian nutritionist and certified yoga teacher Keri Gans, author of "The Small Change Diet" and an EpiCor® ambassador, offers tips to help you view wellness in a whole new way.
"Find routines and practices that support your entire body," advised Gans. "Think about how the exercises you choose, the habits you adopt or dietary choices you make support your well-being as a whole."
Here are three tips from Gans that can help revamp your wellness routine this year to focus on your whole self:
1. Move more and breathe
When you’re stressed, you take shallower breaths, which can reduce your oxygen intake. Deep breathing helps you take in more oxygen, which travels throughout your body and gives you more energy. According to Healthline.com, deep breathing can help relieve stress while supporting a number of your body’s systems.
- Take "breathing breaks" daily, closing your eyes and taking a few slow breaths.
- Practice guided meditation or mindfulness techniques using breathing. Try a meditation app to help you learn easy techniques.
- Move more, daily. Steady walking or cycling promotes deeper breathing, as does more rigorous exercise. Aim for at least a half hour of moderate physical activity most days to get your heart pumping and oxygen circulating throughout your body. Regular physical activity also helps to reduce stress. Consult your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program.
"Daily deep breathing and moving more helps you feel better, and has other positive benefits for your whole body, like potentially lowering your blood pressure," said Gans.
2. Support your gut health
Gut health is vital for keeping your digestive system working as it should — and also supporting your immune system.
"The majority of immune cells originate from the gut, so your gut health influences your entire immune system,” explained Gans.
Some foods can make a big difference when it comes to having a healthy gut microbiome, specifically fermented foods.
"Fermented foods offer cultures — which are beneficial to live bacteria or microorganisms — plus metabolites and compounds that are produced by those cultures during the fermentation process," explained Gans. "These metabolites are part of the foundation for a healthy gut microbiome."
These fermented foods help support your gut health:
- Sourdough bread
“If you can’t include many of these foods in your diet, or you don’t like their taste, you can benefit your gut health by taking a supplement containing postbiotics, which have beneficial metabolites and compounds shown through research to support your health,” says Gans. For example, look for supplements containing the #1 postbiotic brand, EpiCor®, which is a first-of-its-kind whole food ingredient that taps the natural power of fermentation to help positively modulate the gut microbiome.
"You can think of EpiCor Postbiotic as a multivitamin for your immune system, which helps take care of your health every day," said Gans. "Clinical studies have shown that it can help support your immune system for coping with everyday challenges."
3. Improve the quality of your sleep
According to WebMD, deep, restorative sleep is crucial for resetting all of your body's vital systems, from your brain to your immune system and more.
To get more restorative sleep:
- Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet
- Stick to the same sleep schedule every day
- Wind down by turning off devices an hour before bed
"Just one positive change in your routine can have a domino effect," said Gans. "Each action you take to support your wellness builds on the next. You may start noticing improvements in how you feel sooner than you think, which inspires you to do more."
Taking positive actions toward better health doesn’t need to be just a New Year’s activity. Taking time to care for your whole self throughout the year will pay dividends, all year long.