Setting goals and forming healthy habits is really important for maintaining good health. However, take care to not overlook the basics.
In my opinion, there are three healthy habits that really do hold the keys to profoundly improving your health and wellbeing. No amount of dietary supplements or superfoods can replicate the benefits of these three habits. Learning more about them, and incorporating them into your lifestyle will really kick off your 2019 in a great way.
1. Eat vegetables
No matter your dietary leanings, everyone benefits from eating more vegetables. By eating more vegetables (which are low calorie, nutrient-dense foods), the more we can crowd out those less-nourishing foods. Our all important gut microbiome also relies on a range of plant-based goodness for its health. I get asked every week ‘What IS a healthy diet?’ One thing I’ve learned in my many years as a Naturopath, is that everyone is different and our requirements vary so much (individually and day by day), so I really don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach.
Personally, I focus firmly on including as many vegetables in my family’s diet as possible and the rest kind of evolves naturally. I even add them into smoothies, sweet baked treats and breakfast. Nothing is immune to a veggie boost in my kitchen! For loads of veggie dense, delicious recipes and ideas on how to include more vegetables in your diet, head to my website.
2. Drink water
We all know that water is essential for us to stay alive, but we often forget how important it is for us to stay well and thrive. Over 60 per cent of our body weight is water (not juice, tea, energy drinks etc). It plays a role in the proper functioning of every system of our body and we simply cannot function efficiently without it.
If I were to list the functions of the human body that are dependent upon water (and the health complaints that improve with proper hydration), I would take up this whole magazine. So instead I will simply say that you require water:
- to digest food,
- for your brain and nervous system to function,
- for your body to be able to eliminate toxins and waste,
- to transport vital nutrients to the cells,
- to lubricate the joints, organs and tissue of the body,
- to control body temperature,
- for immune responses,
- for energy production,
- for hormone balance and reproductive function,
- for your metabolism and weight control,
- to LIVE, LOOK and FEEL great and to be WELL.
I believe that the reason why many people are unwell, tired and look and feel older than they should, is because they are in a state of chronic dehydration. I love my plant analogy – when a plant is not watered regularly it becomes dry (wrinkled), then wilted (tired) and finally begins to die (becomes unwell). Are you tired, wrinkly and unwell?
Remember if you feel thirsty, then you are already dehydrated. Also, bare in mind that the brain receptors for thirst and hunger are found in the same part of the brain. So it’s relatively common for people to confuse thirst for hunger. If you’re trying to manage your weight, it’s really important to make sure you are always hydrated.
3. Move daily
We all know that exercising is so important. However for many, ‘exercise’ is fraught with feelings of stress and obligation. If this is the case for you, I’d ditch exercising and think about simply moving your body. Our bodies have not evolved to be as sedentary as we are these days. Some kind of moment is really essential for our overall health (mental and physical), wellbeing and vitality. Time seems to be one of the biggest barriers to exercising or moving regularly for many people. I get it, I’m a busy mum who has the habit of putting others needs before my own. Two things have helped me to ensure I get to move my body a few times a week. Firstly, I book it in like any other appointment or work meeting and I hold myself accountable. I find if it’s not scheduled it is way less likely to happen. Secondly, I take any moment I can get to move a little. It may be a short walk around the oval while my kids are at sport. It might be 20 squats between meetings (enough to get some blood flowing but not break out in a sweat – ha!). I’ll take the stairs instead of the escalator – you get my drift? I used to think if I couldn’t block out a full hour to work out then why bother. So now I take the moments I can and it feels great.