Tired of the same old healthy new year’s resolutions to lose weight, or “get fit,” or “eat better”?
Maybe it’s time for a reframe.
Take the small scale approach and ask yourself, “how can I keep my cells healthy in the coming year?” If you can prioritize your health on a cellular level, odds are pretty good that you’ll reach some of those other goals along the way.
In this article, we want to focus on some specific ways you can optimize your cellular health and increase your “health span” in 2022–-and beyond. And not all of them are just about your nutrition and physical health, either, though those things are certainly important. It’s just as important to make changes to your mental health and perspective as well.
Table of Contents:
- Address Toxins
- Support Detoxification Pathways
- Lower Inflammation
- Support the Cell Membrane
- Support Your Mitochondria
- Heal the Gut
- Protect Your Skin
- Embrace the Sun
- Check on Vitamin and Mineral Status
- Invest in Your Food
- Increase Your Fiber Intake
- Prioritize Antioxidants
- Increase Healthy Fats
- Move Your Body
- Regulate Your Nervous System
- Practice Breathing
- Ground Yourself
- Connect With Others
- Make Fun a Daily Habit
- More Curiosity, Less Stress
- Speak Kindly to Yourself, Your Cells Are Listening
1. Address Toxins
Some of them you know, some you might not expect, but they’re impossible to avoid in the modern world. Toxins include air pollution, pesticides, chemicals, exogenous hormones, mold, and many others. Sneaky places to watch out for toxins include makeup, personal care products, cleaning products, indoor air, alcohol, packaged foods, clothing, and even furniture.
If you’ve been putting off looking through your makeup collection to get rid of toxic products, there’s no better time than the new year for a clean out. You can use the app Think Dirty to assess which products to keep and which to throw away. Switch out your chemical-based cleaning products for natural options. Invest in a good air purifier for your home. By making these changes, you’ll reap the benefits of healthier cells.
2. Support Detoxification Pathways
Along with addressing the toxins in your environment, you can support your body’s detoxification pathways to take care of the toxins you can’t control.
Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you have to do a juice fast or invest hundreds of dollars in “cleansing” products. It just means to be mindful about supporting the liver, intestines, and kidneys, your main detox organs.
On a basic level, this means abstaining from alcohol and processed sugar, which severely hamper detoxification, but it also means drinking plenty of fluids, eating enough fiber (which traps and helps excrete toxins in the gut), and making sure you have adequate bile, the detergent that breaks down fats, cleanses the blood, and promotes gastric motility. Bile is a super important and undervalued tool in detoxification for the body.
3. Lower Inflammation
Easier said than done, right? Well, not necessarily. If you’re addressing toxins and improving your detoxification, you’re already likely improving inflammation by default. But beyond that, there are plenty of things you can do that add up to lower inflammation in the body as a whole, including:
- Eat a whole foods, micronutrient-dense diet
- Utilize anti-inflammatory spices and herbs like ginger, turmeric, and nettle in teas and on food
- Practice balancing your nervous system with breathing techniques and spending quality time with people you love. (Yes, this really lowers inflammation!) [1, 2]
- Get good quality sunlight during the day and lower lighting at night to promote sleep.
We’ll continue to explore the cellular benefits of some of these tips below.
4. Support the Cell Membrane
Your cell membrane is what lets nutrients in and waste out of the cell, communicates with other cells, and basically holds together the structure of you. Due to lack of nutrients, toxin overload, and stress, many of us have leaky cells, which contribute to inflammation and eventually, lead to disease.
You can support your cell membranes by consuming adequate protein and healthy fats, as well as supplementing with PC, the phospholipid building blocks that compose the cell membrane. Alongside phospholipids, you also need cholesterol for healthy cell membranes, which make up about 20% of its structure.
5. Support Your Mitochondria
You’ve heard it before in biology class: the mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell. They generate ATP, which your cells use as energy. When your mitochondria aren’t functioning well, you feel fatigued and lethargic. Again, underfunctioning mitochondria comes down to too many toxins and not enough nutrients.
Nutrients like magnesium, CoQ10, vitamin C, selenium, and B vitamins are very supportive for the mitochondria and are definitely worth investigating with a practitioner to optimize your cellular health.
6. Heal the Gut
It might seem a little backwards, but gut health is one of the most important things you can focus on for cellular health. Why? Because your gut is the main place where you absorb nutrients, from food and supplements alike. Your nutrition status is only as good as your absorption of nutrients, otherwise they’re just passing through your digestive system.
7. Protect Your Skin
We think of our skin as a barrier between us and the outside world, and it does serve that purpose. But it also absorbs anything we put on it, or anything we walk through for that matter, including pollutants in the air. So it’s important to support your skin with healthy fats–– including unoxidized omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids–-in your diet, as well as extra vitamin C, vitamin E, or collagen, if necessary.
8. Embrace the Sun
Seems contradictory to the advice we just gave on protecting your skin, doesn’t it? But sunlight isn’t the demon that many dermatologists and the skincare and cosmetic industry have made it out to be. Human beings are creatures of the sun. Besides vitamin D, we need sunlight to regulate our sleep cycles and increase endorphins . (Yep, there’s science behind why you feel happier when the sun is out.)
Ten to thirty minutes of sunscreen-free sun exposure in the middle of the day, between 10am and 2pm, is optimal for producing vitamin D .
9. Check on Vitamin and Mineral Status
There is testing available to check on your micronutrient status–-at some point in your life, your doctor has probably ordered a basic or comprehensive metabolic panel, which looks at blood levels of nutrients like magnesium, potassium, zinc, and many others.
However, these tests can be very misleading, and while the results may show that you’re in the “normal range” for certain nutrients, you may still not be getting an optimal level of that nutrient. To interpret testing in a useful way and optimize your vitamin and mineral status, consulting a practitioner with health optimization experience can be really beneficial.
Your body being nearly three-fourths water, hydration is of course important. Adding water is the difference between plump, healthy cells and shriveled, unhealthy ones.
The trick is making sure that the water you drink isn’t just passing through and not getting inside the cells. The key to getting water into the cells is electrolytes, the electrically charged minerals that facilitate water transport into and out of our cells. There are seven main electrolytes: sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and bicarbonate. Some of them we need more than others, but all are critical for healthy cells.
BodyBio E-Lyte provides sodium, potassium, and magnesium for a sugar-free electrolyte boost.
11. Invest in Your Food
You know by now that a whole foods, anti-inflammatory diet is essential for a healthy body and mind. But what kind of food do you buy? Organic is good, but even that has its drawbacks.
We’re learning now that the highest quality animal and plant foods are produced with regenerative agriculture farming methods, restoring soil health by rotating animals and crops. If you can get local meat and produce and directly support farmers, even better!
12. Increase Your Fiber Intake (Slowly)
Fiber makes for a healthier gut and microbiome, since prebiotic fiber is what our probiotics love to munch on. A certain kind of fiber called resistant starch is the best fuel for our butyrate-producing bacteria. And many of us aren’t getting enough fiber to facilitate good digestion and promote healthy postbiotic levels.
But you can’t just add a ton of fiber into your diet all at once. Slowly increase your consumption of greens, legumes, whole grains, and fruits until you notice a positive change in your digestion.
13. Prioritize Antioxidants
Antioxidants like vitamins C, A, and E, glutathione, and many others lower what’s called oxidative stress in the body, which occurs as a natural byproduct of oxygen metabolism. However, oxidative stress is exacerbated by environmental stressors like heavy metals and pollutants, putting an even greater inflammatory burden on our cells.
So making sure you’re getting enough antioxidants in both your diet (think richly colored foods like berries and dark leafy greens) and possibly adding something like a whole food greens powder can keep your cells running at full capacity.
14. Increase Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are the name of the game in keeping your cells flexible and functional. Lipids account for about half of the mass of our cell membranes. And as any avid keto dieter will tell you, healthy fats can be a powerful energy source (whether you’re keto or not).
Our brains need healthy fats too, both for mental clarity and the physical structure of brain cells. This includes both saturated and polyunsaturated fats; don’t let anyone tell you to avoid saturated fat at all costs! Your (brain) cells need it.
15. Move Your Body
We know you know about this one, but did you know that “exercise” doesn’t have to mean exhausting HIIT workouts or long hours of cardio? These types of exercise might actually be harming you more than helping, especially if you’re already operating from a place of stress and burnout.
Research has connected moderate physical exercise with optimized autophagy–-the essential process of cellular breakdown and recycling–-which also supports cardiovascular health .
Fun and rejuvenating activities like walking, biking, yoga and dance can help us both get movement into our day, provide stress relief, and optimize cellular turnover.
16. Regulate Your Nervous System
So many of us today are operating from dysregulated nervous systems–-a predisposition towards the sympathetic (fight or flight) side and a deficit in the parasympathetic (rest and digest) side. A nervous system in constant overdrive does not facilitate good cellular communication.
So it’s worth asking yourself, how much time do you spend in a stressed, anxious, or even panicked state? Do you use strategies to turn the body from the sympathetic to parasympathetic mode? It’s amazing how being more aware of your nervous system can change your full body health. We’ll go into several of these strategies in the next tips.
17. Practice Breathing
The breath is the ultimate nervous system regulation tool. There are many breathing techniques, but the main point is to be conscious of your breath and to breathe deeply to activate your parasympathetic nervous system. You could try box breathing, which is breathing in for a count of four (or five or six), holding for four, exhaling for four, holding for four, and repeating. Or try inhaling for four, holding for two, and exhaling for eight–-breathing with a longer exhale than your inhale seems to initiate the parasympathetic state more deeply.
18. Ground Yourself
If you’ve never heard of grounding or “earthing,” your mind is about to be blown. The concept of earthing was discovered in the 90’s by Clint Ober when he began creating mats that were connected to the ground via conductive wire and a metal rod. When people sat and slept on these mats, they found that their energy increased, they slept more deeply, wounds healed faster, and even chronic pain improved, sometimes overnight.
These effects occur because the earth supplies free electrons, which our cells need to function–-we are bioelectrical beings. When we are “grounded” with the earth, our cells function better, stress goes down, and the parasympathetic system is activated .
The easiest way to connect to the Earth is obviously to go outside and walk barefoot or sit on the ground. But that isn’t always convenient depending on the season, so you can find earthing mats and other conductive products for indoor use.
19. Connect With Others
As we have all become more aware in the past two years, human connection is just as essential to our health as nutrition or exercise. Even before the pandemic, researchers and the media had coined the phrase “the loneliness epidemic,” mainly to describe the sense of loneliness that many older adults feel due to chronic illness, living alone, or loss of family and friends. On the surface it may seem like a mental health issue, but social isolation increases all-cause mortality at a rate similar to smoking and obesity . And at this point, we have all been profoundly affected by a lack of human connection to one extent or another.
And yet we know that something as simple as a hug can boost oxytocin (the happy hormone), strengthen the immune system, balance the nervous system, and release tension in the body . So make physical, energetic, and emotional connection with others a priority for your health.
20. Make Fun a Daily Habit
Between our daily responsibilities, long-term goals, and the constant state of crisis the world seems to be in, having fun can seem almost superfluous and inessential. But fun and play are absolutely necessary for maintaining health, and on top of that–-what’s the point of it all if we can’t have a little fun?
Give yourself permission to enjoy things you enjoy and make time for play and fun in your life. It can only benefit your health and spread joy to those around you.
21. More Curiosity, Less Stress
Curiosity is a powerful state of mind, especially when you can turn that curiosity inward. If you can be curious about a negative emotion you feel, for example, you can ask yourself questions to help you resolve that negative emotion and remove that stress from your nervous system.
So when you’re triggered by a strong emotion of anger, jealousy, sadness, or irritation, curiosity provides a path to understand and redirect yourself from that emotion to a more positive one. You probably won’t instantaneously reach joy or enlightenment, but neutral acceptance is a much better state to exist from than the lower frequency emotions of anger and fear.
22. Speak Kindly to Yourself, Your Cells Are Listening
So many of us get stuck in repetitive, negative, demeaning thought patterns that put us down and take away our innate ability to live vibrant lives. As it turns out, these negative thought loops aren’t just affecting our mental health, they can change us on an epigenetic level, down to our cell membranes.
We’ve spoken before about Dr. Bruce Lipton’s pioneering research on the wisdom of the cell and how your beliefs shape your biology. He said this about how our “perceptions” can change us:
“When our perceptions are inaccurate we can actually destroy our biology. When we understand that genes are just respondents to the environment from the perceptions handled by the cell membrane, then we can realize that if life isn’t going well, what we have to do is not change our genes but change our perceptions.“ 
Your thoughts and beliefs really do have the power to change you on a biological, and even epigenetic, level. It’s up to you to break negative thought patterns and rewire new, constructive ones to encourage cellular health.
Healthy New Year’s Resolutions Start at the Cell Level
There are many ways to keep your cells healthy, using both physiological and mindfulness strategies. By making healthy new year’s resolutions based on cellular health, you might find that you’ll get much farther with your wellness goals in 2022 than you ever have before. From all of us at BodyBio, happy new year!Learn more about BodyBio supplements for healthy cells.