With only 5 days to go before 2017 arrives, now might be a good time to start thinking about making 2017 a healthier (and happier) year than 2016… And considering the upheavals of the past year, this should not be very difficult.
To help you along the way, below are a few suggestions you can use to cultivate healthier habits in the coming year. The idea is to slowly incorporate one or two of these new habits at a time, instead of making huge changes to your daily routine and lifestyle all at once.
1. Add some water: Drinking enough water can have a profound effect on your physical vitality and mental energy. But remember, it’s healthier to drink water from glass bottles instead of plastic due to harmful chemicals (Bisphenol A) found in plastic bottles.
2. Work up a sweat: Just 30 minutes of exercise (like a brisk walk to work) have been found to show a range of benefits from improving your blood pressure levels, mental vitality and elevating your mood. So, you don’t even have to get a gym membership… all you need to do is walk.
3. You are what (and how) you eat: Common sense and a stack of science supports the fact that the healthiest diet is one based on the foods our ancestors have eaten — lean animal protein, fresh fruit and veg, and restricted carbohydrate and dairy intake (like the Paleo Diet).
In addition, while you should only eat when you are hungry, snaking on healthy options like nuts and fruits in between meals will not only help regulate blood sugar levels but it will also help control your appetite. Going for too long between meals (especially between lunch and dinner) can cause your appetite to go a bit haywire, which can lead to the overeating. Chewing your food properly will also go a long way to help curb over-eating. It also aids digestion, so it will help with any symptoms of indigestion or acid reflux.
4. Soak up the sun: Sunlight and the production of vitamin D have a myriad of health benefits ranging from protecting your heart health to boosting your mind and memory. And while it may be a bit more difficult to get enough sunlight to top up on your vitamin D levels naturally in the Northern hemisphere, make the effort to get adequate sun exposure when you have the opportunity. Alternatively, you can also supplement with a good quality vitamin D supplement.
5. Digital Detox: The Internet, Smartphones and tablets… all of these are wonderful and can connect us to loved ones in far off places. However, studies have found that spending too much time online can also cause a disconnect between people — meaning that we spend more time staring at our screens than we are engaging with the people in our immediate surroundings. It also leads to shorter attention spans and while it boosts your short-term memory, it negatively affects your long-term memory.
All these devices also emit plenty of electromagnetic pollution, which can negatively affect your health. So, try to do a digital detox at least once a week — spending a day without opening your laptop to watch a show, scrolling through Facebook updates on your Smartphone or checking emails on your tablet… you might just find that there is a whole new world right on your doorstep waiting to be explored.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
10 realistic and achievable New Year resolutions worth considering, by Dr. Briffa, published online 01 01 10, drbriffa.com
Plastic (Not) Fantastic: Food Containers Leach a Potentially Harmful Chemical, by David Biello, published online 10.02.08, scientificamerican.com
Framson C, et al. Development and validation of the mindful eating questionnaire. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(8):1439-44.
Editorial reminds us of the importance of looking to our nutritional past to improve our future health, by Dr. Briffa, published online 01 01 10, drbriffa.com