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Duchess Meghan Markle’s 11 Quiet Habits That Help Her “Survive and Thrive” in Royal Life

Meghan Markle has always advocated for wellness—but when royal pressure heats up, that's more crucial than ever. Here, certified health professionals share what we all can learn from the ways Markle chooses to stay healthy and grounded.

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Before she joined the Royal Family, Meghan Markle was famous in her own right as an actor and spokesperson. One of the topics the now-Duchess of Sussex was most vocal about? Her passion for healthy living. Many royal observers have considered her openness a breath of fresh air (which is a phrase often used to describe the down-to-earth duchess), as royal protocol dictates that members of the royal family, including her husband Prince Harry, should keep details about their health and personal lives concealed.

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This is just one way Markle has had to adjust to life as a Royal—and what’s not a secret is that this massive life shift has come with challenges. It seems the stress of Meghan Markle’s battles with the Palace (and hundreds of years of British tradition) have made her realize even more the importance of a healthy lifestyle. “It’s not enough to just survive, right? That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy,” Markle said in a 2019 interview with ITV News about her new life (as cited by Harper’s Bazaar).

For over a decade Markle’s been very open about her nutrition, exercise, spirituality and mental health—first on her (now-shuttered) blog, The Tig, more recently on her current podcast, Archetypes, and in many print, TV, and online interviews.

The Duchess is adventurous. There isn’t much she hasn’t tried, from cutting-edge fitness machines to face yoga to supplements. The Healthy @Reader’s Digest did a deep-dive, with insights from licensed health professionals, to discover what Markle, a mom of two, has revealed she does to stay fit, healthy and level-headed.

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Duchess Meghan Markle hates the word “diet”

Meghan Markle rejects the idea of “going on a diet.” While she’s dabbled in many styles of eating, ranging from vegan to gluten-free, she’s said her main focus is listening to her body and eating what she feels it needs.

Erin Holley, RD, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, offers her take on Markle’s approach toward nourishing her body, saying, “I encourage all my clients to listen to their bodies and eat when they are hungry, and stop when you feel full and satisfied with your food.” Holley adds: “From what I’ve read about Markle, she does not say that any food or beverage is off limits, but incorporates all things in moderation. This is a great concept that everyone should adopt.”

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Duchess Meghan Markle does the occasional cleanse

Meghan Markle does, however, like to do the occasional cleanse and is a big proponent of CLEAN, a 21-day cleanse program. The CLEAN program isn’t a starvation cleanse to lose weight, but rather a program to help unlearn poor eating habits while creating healthier ones. It focuses on juices, whole foods, and nutrients. (Make sure you read this before starting any cleanse.)

“Doing a ‘cleanse’ is unnecessary because our body naturally cleanses us—that’s the purpose of having our liver, kidneys, GI tract, et cetera,” says Holley. “But if you don’t get enough fruits and veggies in your diet, drinking juices or smoothies could be a quick and easy way to get additional nutrients.”

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Duchess Meghan Markle loves heart-healthy seafood

Her favorite lunch is sashimi—sushi-grade fish—but without the rice, sauce and wrapping. It’s said her favorites are salmon and tuna.

Holley says fatty fish is a great source of heart-healthy omega-3s, plus it’s packed with filling protein, which makes it a great meal choice.

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Close-up of athletic woman rolling up her exercise mat after practicing at health club.Drazen Zigic/Getty Images

Duchess Meghan Markle does yoga every day

Markle’s mama, Doria Ragland, is a yoga teacher, so the Duchess grew up doing yoga. Today yoga is said to be her go-to workout for mental and physical health (especially when she was pregnant). Prince Harry reportedly even had a yoga studio installed for her in Frogmore Cottage.

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Adam Splaver, MD, a cardiologist in South Florida, says yoga is a great low-impact exercise that improves strength, balance, flexibility, and focus. One of the greatest benefits from yoga is you can do it anytime, anywhere, with little or no equipment, making it accessible to just about everyone.

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Duchess Meghan Markle changes up her workouts

If you search for “Meghan Markle’s workout,” you’ll discover that she’s tried nearly every type of exercise out there! From kickboxing and dancing to weight lifting to something called “heatcore,” she definitely loves to exercise.

Dr. Splaver suggests all the variety is good for motivation, preventing burnout, and reducing risk of injury. But what’s the best kind of exercise? “The best type of exercise is the one you’ll actually do,” he says, adding that any workout that raises your heart rate will give you major health benefits. So, pick one—or several—you enjoy.

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Duchess Meghan Markle resists aging with face yoga

Face yoga is a huge anti-aging trend right now. Markle has said that she enjoys incorporating some of the movements into her regular yoga practice.

Does face yoga work? Alexis Parcells, MD, a plastic surgeon and a clinical medical instructor at RWJ Barnabas Health, says face yoga isn’t a miracle cure for sagging skin and wrinkles, but it doesn’t hurt—and, there can be some benefits to some facial exercises, like reduced headaches and relaxation.

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Duchess Meghan Markle does calligraphy

Dr. Splaver says having a hobby that allows you to be creative, like acting, is great for cognitive health and overall wellbeing. But there’s something special about creative endeavors that involve repetition, like playing the piano, painting or—Markle’s favorite—writing calligraphy. These types of hobbies can induce a “flow state” that brings an intense feeling of focus and calm.

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Duchess Meghan Markle adores kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented drink made from tea that’s a good source of healthy bacteria. Meghan Markle is said to be a big fan, often photographed sipping on one. “Kombucha is a great source of probiotics if you like it—but if you don’t like the taste, then there are definitely other ways to get prebiotics and probiotics in your diet like kefir, yogurt, and other fermented foods,” says Holley.

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Duchess Meghan Markle loves running and hiking outdoors

Spending time in the great outdoors, hiking or running, is one of Markle’s favorite hobbies.

This isn’t just good for your cardio health, says Dr. Splaver. It’s also good for you mentally and physically, as just being outside in nature has unique relaxation benefits.

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Yogi black woman practicing yoga lesson, doing Ardha Padmasana exercisefizkes/Getty Images

Duchess Meghan Markle makes time for regular meditation

Meghan Markle is a vocal proponent of meditation and once shared in a blogpost that she practices Vedic meditation, calling it “the key to happiness.” Vedic meditation uses repeated mantras to focus the mind.

Dr. Splaver suggests science backs up the case for meditation, as the regular practice has been shown to reduce the spike in cortisol that comes from stress, which makes it healing to both body and mind.

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Duchess Meghan Markle loves hanging out with Harry

Markle and her husband Prince Harry are known for their public affection and visible love for one another (another behavior that irks royal traditionalists!) and are seen doing things together often.

Dr. Splaver says being in a happy relationship has powerful health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease and increased longevity.

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Sources

Erin Holley, a registered dietitian who specializes in eating disorders at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Alexis Parcells, MD, a plastic surgeon, founder of SUNNIE, an anti-aging clinic, and a clinical medical instructor at RWJ Barnabas Health.

Adam Splaver, MD, a clinical cardiologist in Florida.

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Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, MS, is an award-winning journalist, author, and ghostwriter who for nearly two decades has covered health, fitness, parenting, relationships, and other wellness and lifestyle topics for major outlets, including Reader’s Digest, O, The Oprah Magazine, Women’s Health, and many more. Charlotte has made appearances with television news outlets such as CBS, NBC, and FOX. She is a certified group fitness instructor in Denver, where she lives with her husband and their five children.