Top Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle
Top Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle
Following a healthy lifestyle has a number of benefits, both for the body and the mind, including increased energy and concentration levels, improved appearance of the complexion, skin elasticity and muscle tone, a reduction in the risk of health conditions including diabetes, heart disease and cancer, an increased immune system meaning you will be less prone to illness and infections, control of your weight which then reduces the risk of obesity and weight related illnesses and the reduction of stress levels meaning your mental well-being is more relaxed and you are happier in yourself.
To help you follow a healthy lifestyle here are my top tips:
Embrace Healthy Eating
To maintain optimal health and to keep your body in full working order it is important to follow a healthy and balanced diet. The food pyramid (right) gives an idea of the quantities and types of foods you should be eating.
These should form the bulk of your daily diet and include rice, breads, cereals and pasta – choose wholegrain where possible. You should enjoy 5-7 servings daily from this food group.
Fruit and Vegetables
Are best when fresh, eat within a few days of purchase and when cooking try to steam or Blanche to help retain essential nutrients which are often lost during the cooking process. Government guidelines recommend a minimum of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Be creative and make the most of seasonal fruit and vegetables – colour is the key!
Meat, Poultry, Seafood & Dairy
Should be enjoyed in small quantities. Although they offer vital vitamins and nutrients and are a good source of protein too much is not good for your health. 2-3 servings a day from this food group is sufficient.
Fats, Oils, Sugar & Salts
Should be eaten sparingly and in small amounts. This section also includes things likes cakes and biscuits.
Top tips for Cooking
- Use the freshest of ingredients available
- Use fresh food and cook from scratch as opposed to ready meals which are packed with salts, sugars and some scary additives
- Try to cut back on fried foods, steam or grill where possible for healthiest cooking
- Trim all visible fat off meats before cooking to reduce your fat intake
- Use an oil spray instead of a glug of oil, you’ll be amazed as to how much less oil you will use
Increase Your Fluid Intake
Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day (this can include herbal teas, but excludes tea and coffee as these dehydrate the body). This will assist your body in flushing out toxins and keep your body and skin well hydrated.
Cut Back on Toxins
Cutting back, if not cutting out completely, on toxins such as caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes will provide your body will lower heart rates, less physical stress to contend with and ensures we can absorb the required vitamins from our foods.
Whether it’s a walk with the dog, an exercise class, swimming or a trip to the gym, try to exercise daily. Guidelines recommend we exercise for 20 minutes a day or have 3 x 60 minute exercise sessions per week. Exercising will increase your energy levels, improve circulatory problems, relax you and tone up your muscles. It can even reduce cellulite – what are you waiting for!
We are all told of the harms of the sunshine, but did you know that your body needs a certain amount of sunshine to produce Vitamin D? Vitamin D ensures there is enough calcium in the body to produce strong and healthy bones and teeth. Just 10 to 15 minutes of exposure to sun per day is all that is needed.
Get Plenty of Sleep
If you have problems sleeping try spraying your pillows or bedroom with lavender oil, the relaxing properties of the oil will calm and relax you.
Alternatively a warm bath before bed with 6-8 drops of lavender oil added to it will also help relax you and release any tensions from the day.
Take Time to Relax
We live in a world where stress has, sadly, become a very close acquaintance mainly due to fact we don’t seem to have time to rest. However it is important to take time to rest, even if only for a few minutes to prevent over stimulation of mind and body. Taking a few minutes to practice deep breathing, yoga, meditation or some simple stretching will help clear your mind and loosen any tension in your body.
Just remember, a healthy body equals a healthy mind!