4 Surprising Ways to Stay Healthy in the Big Apple

4 Surprising Ways to Stay Healthy in the Big Apple

4 Surprising Ways to Stay Healthy in the Big Apple

Photo credit: Stephanie Mandel

We love New York. It is a city full of cultural experiences, exciting innovation and opportunities like nowhere else in the world. Living here provides us with plenty of benefits — yet it’s hard to feel rejuvenated in the city that never sleeps. Between the fast-paced lifestyle, constant hum of activity, and a work culture that expects us to constantly be on, NYC living can take a toll on our health. Below we list the top ways living in NYC may affect our health and what we can do about it.

- Problem #1: The Dollar Slice -

NYC is king when it comes to convenience. Unfortunately, often the most convenient foods are the least healthy ones (lookin at you dollar slice). Because metabolizing food requires nutrients, these empty calories actually rob our body of the nutrition it requires. The good news is, our city has an exceptional array of healthier food spots in almost every neighborhood in the city, and luckily there are plenty of apps that can guide us in the right direction (see below).

The Remedy:

  • Let your smartphone do the leg work and find healthy food on the go. Some of our favorite apps:  Clean Plate, HealthyOut, & Food Tripping
  • Take advantage of the local, organic produce available at farmers markets all over the city or from a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) program that delivers to your door or to a pickup location.
  • Prep simple and nutritious meals and snacks ahead of time — avoid or minimize added sugar, processed starch, and gluten and dairy if you’re sensitive, as these can lead to excess inflammation. Focus instead on eating more plant foods, especially non-starchy vegetables.
  • Cover your nutritional bases by supplementing with the basics: a high-quality multivitamin (like Daily Multi), vitamin D3/K2, omega-3 fish oil and a probiotic.
  • Personalize your needs, meals and supplement regimen through blood tests and consultation with an expert nutritionist.

- Problem #2: New York State of Mind -

Lack of sleep, constant stress and a perfectionist mindset can drain us both physically and mentally. This can take a toll on our adrenal glands (the regulator of our stress response) and can lead to “adrenal burnout,” with feelings of fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and anxiety or depression. It can also seriously mess with our immune system and the ability to fight off infections.

The Remedy:

  • Take your daily prescription of self- care! Yoga, tai chi, exercise, meditation, acupuncture, reiki, Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping), listening to music, walking outdoors, reading, or a spa day are all excellent ways to relieve stress.
  • Engage in breathing exercises throughout the day or during a stressful situation.
  • Make NYC your playground — enjoy plays, movies, art museums, and concerts. Fun is a necessity!
  • Sleep 7-8 hours a night — make it a priority, and seek support if needed.
  • Balance stress with an adrenal support formula in the morning or Ashwagandha Complex at dinner.

- Problem #3: The Concrete Jungle and Pollution -

Air pollution is a leading environmental threat, especially in NYC. The endless stream of cars, trucks, and ongoing construction puts us in close vicinity to harmful pollution. Adding to this, most of us spend much of our time indoors, where we often aren’t getting the benefits of plants, including airborne plant compounds called phytoncides that boost our immune system. Couple this with lack of sunlight and you have a perfect storm.

The Remedy:

  • Check up-to-date air quality on the EPA’s website: www.airnow.gov and avoid outdoor activities when the readings are elevated.
  • Avoid walking or sitting near active construction sites.
  • Skip the Uber and utilize the subway whenever possible — using our city’s public transit system helps reduce air pollution and smog.
  • Just 5 minutes spent near trees or green space can improve your health — check out some parks in the city and hug a tree!
  • Go outside and get sunlight when possible to boost your Vitamin D! Consider adding a daily vitamin D supplement.
  • Use an air purifier like Molekule

- Problem #4: The Weekend Getaway -

Being outdoors—although good for our health—does have risks. NYC’s favorite escapes like the Hamptons, Montauk, and the Hudson valley are perfect hideouts for ticks that may carry Lyme disease. The northeast has the highest rate of Lyme disease (after all, the name comes from Lyme, CT) and NY is one of twelve states that comprise 95% of reported cases of Lyme disease in the USA.

The Remedy:

  • Lyme transmission peaks in spring and summer — be extra careful during these months. Read our resident Lyme expert Gerald Simon’s tips for protecting yourself — including what to do if you get a bite.
  • Check your body for ticks immediately after spending time outdoors — ticks can transmit infections in about 15 minutes, so due diligence can make the difference.
  • Don’t wait to see or feel a “bite.” Most of the time these bites are painless and go unnoticed.
  • For prevention — cover your skin as much as possible, check for ticks often and thoroughly, and use an insect repellant.

Above all, living in NYC requires us to have strength and resilience. We are passionate, we are innovative, and we have a desire to “do more” in life. Despite the obstacles that come with the territory, we can still prioritize safeguarding our health and wellbeing. Let’s make the New York minute count by maximizing our physical and mental health, allowing us to live life to its full potential.


This guide was written by Dr. Morrison and the health and nutrition experts at The Morrison Center. Our team is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health through the treatment and prevention of disease.



Dr. Jeffrey Morrison is an award-winning medical doctor, a leader in the field of Integrative Medicine, and champion of a nutritional approach to healthcare



Robin is a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in Integrative Medicine, Functional Medicine and holistic healing modalities. She helps her clients address complicated conditions and return to wellness.



Stephanie is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner with a passion for helping her clients fulfill their potential through both emotional and physical optimization.