4 min|Rhiannon Lockhart

Daily Health Habits to Reduce Your Risk of Chronic Disease

Wellness, Health
Approximately 44 percent of Canadians over 20 years old have at least 1 of 10 common chronic conditions, ranging from mood disorders to cancer. (1) In many of these cases, there are certain lifestyle factors that we can alter to prevent chronic illness and disease.

Here are 5 daily health habits that can help reduce your risk of chronic disease:

Eat Healthy

Most of us understand how healthy eating impacts how we feel at this moment – increased energy, better sleep, weight management. But keeping a nutrient-dense diet aids in the prevention of long-term chronic illness including coronary artery disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and some specific cancers. (2)

There are a few basic areas we can look at regarding nutrition to help in the prevention of chronic disease, including: blood sugar regulation, avoiding ultra-processed foods and including anti-inflammatory foods.

Foods with a high glycemic load are ones that can dysregulate our blood sugar and insulin. Prolonged spikes and dips of our blood sugar levels from food can increase our risk of chronic illness like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, among many others. (3)

Many ultra-processed foods – think chips, frozen dinners, takeout – are made to be “hyperpalatable”. This means they are created to make you want more, even after you are full. Many of these foods contain highly inflammatory foods and high-glycemic ingredients that can influence our blood sugar.

Reduce Alcohol Intake

Heavy alcohol use is correlated with a variety of chronic illnesses. According to the Canadian Centre of Substance Use and Addiction, consuming even just 3-6 standard-sized alcoholic drinks per week can increase your risk of several types of cancer. At 7 or more drinks, you increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Luckily, the number of non-alcoholic beverages available on the market has skyrocketed in recent years, with everything from mocktails to beers.

If you are a weeknight drinker, try to swap it out for a non-alcoholic option to reduce your overall intake. When out with friends, opt for clear liquors with soda water to reduce the blood sugar spikes that can also impact your long-term health.


Sleep deficiency can look different for everyone – from not getting enough sleep overall, to poor quality sleep or disorders that impact your sleep (like sleep apnea). And in Canada, approximately 1 in 4 people lacks proper sleep. (4)

In your day to day, you have likely experienced the effects of sleep deprivation: fatigue, increased food cravings, lack of productivity or focus, lower desire for physical activity, depressed or anxious moods. Aside from our daily functions, sleep contributes to the regulation of our neurohormones leptin and ghrelin, along with the control of our glucose and cardiovascular function. (4) This is likely why it has been linked to chronic health conditions like heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, depression. (5)

A few ways to practice getting better quality sleep: 

- Dim the lights. Turn your lights down at least an hour before bed.

- Turn off your phone and computer an hour before bed.

- Remove any lights that are on during the night in your room and get blackout curtains.

- Listen to a Yoga Nidra practice or guided meditation while going to bed.

- Work with a Naturopathic Doctor to see if health conditions or hormones may be impacting your sleep quality.

Get Active

Sedentary lives are associated with chronic illness worldwide and incidences of these diseases are increasing in both developed and mid- to low-income countries. (6) (7)

The weekly recommendations for adults, age 18 to 64, is at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate (i.e. power-walking) to vigorous (i.e. running) activity. (8) It is also necessary to add in weight-bearing or resistance training exercises to support our physical ability. This may look like Pilates, weight lifting, or a vigorous yoga practice.

Get Evaluated

In many cases, taking a preventative approach to your health also means incorporating blood work or physical examinations. For some, we want to go beyond the routine labs and order specific tests for your long-term health. Your Naturopathic Doctor can help determine which tests are right for you.

Your path to a healthier future starts at Integrative – Click here to book now!
Or, contact our patient care coordinators at (604) 738-1012 Ext 1.
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