World Health Day: 7 Easy Tips for Healthy Living

World health day
By: Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

Today is World Health Day and what better way to celebrate our global culture of wellness than with 7 easy health tips for April 7?   Each culture around the world offers wisdom and strategies to promote health, many that have stood the test of time.  Whether it’s the Mediterranean-style plant-based pescatarian diet, the Japanese eat until you’re 80% full strategy called “hara hachi bu,” drinking Chinese green tea or following the Nordic tradition of local, seasonal produce that is overwhelmingly organic, no matter where you live there’s wellness to be found.

Here are 7 tips spanning the globe that you can incorporate into your everyday health habits.

1. Drink Clean Water, Lots of It

If you’re fortunate enough to have access to clean water, take advantage of this seemingly simple yet extremely effective and often overlooked wellness strategy.  Hydration is key for metabolism, energy, keeping cravings at bay, reducing muscle cramps and overall aches and pains.  Our bodies are approximately 70% water so we need a lot of it!  But too much of a good thing can be unhealthy as well.  If you’re exercising a lot, live in a very warm climate or are on a juice Reboot, be sure to balance water with electrolyte beverages.  Generally, 2-3 liters a day (64-72 oz or 8-10 cups) is needed but check with your nutritionist or doctor to find out your specific goals.

Not all water is equally healthy, besides contaminants like lead, other pollutants can turn your go-to beverage into a scary situation.  Look into filters and find out what’s in your tap water, to figure out what’s best for you. Don’t love the taste of plain water? Try infused waters for a flavorful, healthy upgrade.

2. Eat More Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Getting a full plate piled high with veggies and some fruits is a sure-fire way to stay healthy. Variety is key as each color family offers unique but equally important sets of plant-based compounds that can support immune function and overall health. That’s why you always hear, “Eat the Rainbow.” Going for produce that’s local and in season can also help you get the maximum amount of nutrients and best flavors.

3. Skip the Sugar and Sweeteners

The theme of World Health Day 2016 is beating diabetes. We all know that sugar is the bad kid on the block because it has been linked to everything from type 2 diabetes to cancer risk.  So together let’s join the fight against diabetes by not only passing over the dessert tray, but getting  savvy with reading labels and noticing sneaky sources too.  Look to curb added sugars and choose naturally sweet options, like fruit, but balance this out with a hearty serving of vegetables. If you have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, consider signing up for an upcoming 60-Day Guided Reboot for Diabetes. It’s a specific program designed for you to manage your blood sugar during a juice cleanse.

4. Add Herbs and Spices to Your Diet

From turmeric to ginger to fennel, parsley or mint, fresh or dried herbs offer loads of nutritional benefits, just like veggies.  Not only can these internationally renowned gems boost flavor, they can add plenty of wellness-promoting power. Here are a few reasons to pass the parsley, please!  Most notably, it’s a good source of folate, antioxidant carotenoids, and bone strengthening vitamin K.  Try this herb-packed, super-potent Pucker Up Parsley Juice.  Read all about ginger’s amazing digestive, immune supportive and other benefits here.  Add ginger to just about every juice for a zing of health, like this Anti-inflammatory Ginger Pear Juice.

5. Experience Food Synergy for Maximum Benefit

Combining certain plant-based foods can help your body best perform its fine-tuned skills of digestion, absorption and metabolism.  We’re not just talking beans & rice here!  Let’s look beyond combining amino acids to make a complete protein – a rather outdated concept – and look to the finesse of balancing your plant-based plate for optimum immune support and wellness.

  • Iron from plant foods is best absorbed when eating along with foods rich in vitamin C. For example, spinach & peppers, kale and cauliflower, collards and lemon.
  • Turmeric + Black Pepper + Healthy Fat: This winning combination greatly helps your body better absorb the curcumin from turmeric root.  Curcumin is the phytonutrient compound responsible for many of turmeric’s benefits like anti-inflammation and antioxidant actions. Try these tasty turmeric combos: Tropical Turmeric Smoothie
  • Protein + Carbs: Stack half your plate with veggies and the other half split between these two macronutrients, protein and carbohydrates, to help nourish and maintain a healthy weight.  Combining protein to your carb-rich foods can also help balance blood sugar. For example, handful of nuts with piece of fruit, banana with almond butter like this Banana “Sushi”
  • Lycopene-rich Foods + Healthy Fats: Once researched revealed that consuming cooked tomatoes with olive oil, to enhance antioxidant lycopene absorption, could help reduce prostate cancer risk, this soon became a household winning combination.  Here’s more evidence that both cooked and raw veggies offer benefits.  Besides olive oil, try roasted or grilled tomato slices with avocado for a fun play on a classic combos like this Easy Herb Tomato Sauce.

6. Be An Adventurous Foodie

While I definitely gravitate toward worldly vegetarian options, there is a wealth of experience and pleasure to be found in the texture, flavor, aroma and overall process of eating foods from other cultures.  You may find yourself sitting on floor cushions, using chopsticks or your hands or sipping straight from the bowl foregoing the spoon.  Diving into the experience and ambiance of eating can help us to slow down and eat more mindfully.  In turn, mindful eating is linked to helping weight control, hunger management, knowing when you’re satisfied and promoting better nutrient absorption.

Try these healthy options inspired from other cultures:

7. Walk As Much As You Can

This habit is much more consistent in day-to-day living in other countries.  Make walking more integrated into your current lifestyle rather than saying for the hundredth time, “… I’m actually going to go to the gym today.”

Turn your errands into exercise is a great mantra!



Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

Stacy is a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and an Integrative Nutritionist. She consults for various companies, focusing on health, wellness and innovative strategies to help increase individual’s fruit and vegetable intake. Stacy is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health Fitness Specialist; she holds a BS degree in Dietetics from Indiana University, completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and earned a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Senior Clinical Nutritionist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School teaching affiliates, in Boston, MA, with more than 20 years of experience. Stacy created and now serves as project manager and lead writer for nutrition services content on the Dana Farber website and the affiliated, nationally recognized nutrition app. Stacy is regularly featured on TV, radio, print and social media on behalf of Dana Farber and other organizations. Together with her husband, Dr. Russell Kennedy PsyD, they have a private practice, Wellness Guides, LLC. Stacy is an adjunct professor in Wellness and Health Coaching at William James College, currently teaching a graduate course in Health Coaching. Stacy is featured in the award winning documentary films, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” and “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2,” and serves on the Reboot with Joe Medical Advisory Board. Stacy lives in Wellesley with her husband, two sons and three dogs. She enjoys cooking, yoga, hiking and spending time with friends and family. Stacy is also one of the nutritionists who runs our Guided Reboot programs.

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