So, as we all look forward to a better year than the one just passed, I’ve written a list of my favourite, easy health tips, that will work for most people. Perhaps try one a day in January and then stick to the ones that work best for you for the rest of the year.
1. Drink a full glass of water when you wake up (a squeeze of lemon is a nice addition).
2. Link light exercise or stretching with a daily activity: reach for the ceiling three times after you clean your teeth or do five star jumps before you shower.
3. Ensure there is protein in every meal, especially breakfast which is often carb-rich and sugary; think eggs, unsweetened yoghurt, smoked salmon and, just occasionally, bacon.
4. Say a polite ‘no’ to anything that threatens to overwhelm you or cause stress, especially if your health is at a low; explain why and most people will understand.
5. Replace sugary soft drinks and fruit juices with sparkling water, herbal teas or just plain old tap water.
6. Dose up on vitamin D rich sunlight, even if it’s hard to find (with sun protection, if required, of course).
7. Snack more thoughtfully, with nuts, berries, cheese, olives, gherkins and veggie sticks.
9. Avoid processed food wherever possible - it’s typically made with unhealthy, inflammatory ingredients and is low in nutrients.
10. Swap white potatoes for something more nutritious: pureed cauliflower instead of mash potato, sweet potato fries instead of chips, roast pumpkin instead of roast spuds.
11. Eat oily fish, such salmon, tuna, mackerel or sardines, at least three times a week
12. Ditch processed oils (vegetable oil, sunflower/canola oil, margarine) and replace them with natural fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee and butter).
13. Sneak fresh or dried turmeric into your diet; dishes that work well are soups, stews, omelettes and, of course, curries.
14. Try fermented foods, as they are great natural sources of probiotics for a healthy gut (e.g. plain yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, miso, tempeh and pickles).
16. Chew your food 50 times (or perhaps start with 20!)
17. Go for a stroll around the block after dinner (Germans call it a ‘Verdauungsspaziergang’).
18. Avoid caffeine after 3pm, it may interfere with your sleep cycle.
19. Ban mobiles phones, tablets, laptops and TVs from the bedroom and keep the temperature cool.
20. Block out all light while you sleep; invest in block-out curtains/blinds if required.
21. Write down anything that is stressing you out, especially before bedtime; it will be easier to fix after a good night’s sleep