A simple and very effective way of improving your health is by modifying your diet and not over eating. Studies have shown that people who generally consume fewer calories live longer. The way we eat also has an impact on our health. Eating in a hurry or “on the go” can lead to indigestion and heartburn. The following 5 tips can be used as a good basic start for your health.
1. Regular Exercise: this has so many health benefits both physically and emotionally. People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing depression. If you are new to exercise, then start by walking. Even a 20min daily walk will make you feel healthier. Exercising has the added benefits of keeping your heart muscles strong, helping you lose weight, keep your cholesterol level down and making you feel more energetic. Incorporating some sort of weight bearing exercise, such as weight training, will help you burn more calories and keep your bones and joints healthy. If you have not trained with weights before, please train under the supervision of qualified personal trainer.
2. De-Stress: Stress is one of the main culprits of ill health in the western world. With all the talk of recessions and lack of job security, it’s no wonder that we are now more stressed than ever. Stress has been linked with numerous illnesses such as heart disease, insomnia, migraines, stomach ulcers and depression. Stress can be managed in many ways. Some people find exercise a good relief from stress. Others may find yoga, meditation or just taking some time out helps them to de-stress. There are also certain herbal remedies that can help in the short term Passiflora and Avena Sativa are two such herbs that can be taken twice a day for up to a month.
3. Diet: Eating the correct foods in the correct quantities is paramount in your pursuit of a healthy start. Lets first look at the foods to cut out or at least cut down on. Red meat, fried foods, junk food, ready meals, take-aways and processed foods are going to hold you back from your health goals. Junk foods, ready meals and take-aways are generally always high in salt and saturated fat. Red meat and fried foods are related to heart disease and high cholesterol levels.
You should also aim to stay away from hydrogenated fats. These are present in deep fried foods, margarines, biscuits and cakes. These fats are dangerous as they increase your risk of heart disease. Cutting down on coffee and alcohol can make a huge impact on your energy levels. Excessive alcohol consumption is related to a host of health conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and weight related conditions.
Foods that can give you energy and help your circulation include fruit and vegetables, whole grains and goods oils such as olive oil, flax seed, fish oils and coconut oil. Incorporating more vegetables and lentils in your diet will also help you to lose some extra weight and benefit your immune system.
Red meat and fats from fried and junk food also produce free radicals in our body. These free radicals have been linked with causing a number of diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Cutting down on fizzy drinks is also a must in your new health plan. These drinks are full of sugar and regular intake can be harmful to general health. The sugar free versions of these drinks are actually more harmful, as the artificial sweeteners have been linked with a host of illnesses such as osteoporosis and digestive problems. Water has many health benefits. You should aim for 8 glasses a day (1-1.5 litres). It is important to remember that water is also present in fruit juices, salads and certain fruits.
4. Health Supplements. You can easily include some health supplements as part of your daily routine to improve your immunity and general health. The number one supplement that I would recommend is a good quality probiotic. This will provide you with essential good bacteria, which is required for a healthy digestive system. Probiotics also help to support and boost the immune system. You can take the probiotics throughout the winter months to aide digestion as well as help fight the winter bugs. Essential fatty acids from either fish oils or flax seed oil is another food supplement that will help your general health. These essential oils are required for a healthy cardiovascular system, brain function and they are excellent at reducing inflammation in the body. These fatty acids also help to maintain healthy joints. Antioxidants are required to “mop up” the free radicals that we are exposed to from diet, our environment and the pollution. Antioxidants come are available in many different forms. Examples are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, Acai Berry, Beta- Carotene, Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Co-enzyme Q10. This is by no means a complete list. Antioxidants are also available in certain foods such as berries and coloured fruits and vegetables. These supplements should be taken in combination for maximum benefit. You can change the combinations from month to month.
5. Sleep. Good quality sleep is vital for your health. Insufficient sleep is linked to many conditions such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, headaches and weight gain. Many people who have problems sleeping find it hard to switch off. This can be treated with including some sort of exercise into your daily routine, or finding some “time out” before you go to bed. Yoga and breathing exercises can also help you relax before bed. There are also some good herbal and homeopathic remedies that can be taken to help you get a natural healthy sleep. These remedies do not work in the same way as conventional sleeping tablets. Homeopathic and herbal remedies work in harmony with the body to provide a natural sleep. The following homeopathic remedies are commonly prescribed for insomnia: Coffea, Nux Vomica, Passiflora and Cocculus. Herbal remedies that used to sleep problems are: Valerian, Avena Sativa, Passiflora and Skullcap. Please consult a qualified homeopath, herbalist or specialist homeopathic pharmacy on specific remedies you may require. Other simple measures that will help you to sleep are to leave a gap of at least 2 hours between eating and sleeping and avoiding caffeine in the afternoon.