My Top Tips to Great Health
Support your health with my top tips that you can do most days. Enjoy adding these to your daily routine and feel the benefits they bring over time.
Your immune system is the most powerful weapon you have against disease and infection. Strong immunity means that the body is better able to fight off viruses and germs.
Here are my top tips to keep you fighting fit throughout your life.
EAT NATURAL/REAL FOOD
Your body needs real, unprocessed food to stay healthy and not the processed foods you kid yourself are OK for you to eat. Focus on eating natural, unrefined, unprocessed food as much as you can and cut out (or at least cut back on) sugar.
That means focussing on eating meat, fish, eggs and vegetarian sources of protein like tofu, beans, lentils and chickpeas, and nuts and seeds, plus a broad range of fruit and vegetables. Follow the 80/20 rule (for the avoidance of doubt, this means eating healthily 80% of the time – think fresh apples rather than apple juice, or wholegrain bread instead of a white bread butty).
FEED YOUR GOOD GUT BACTERIA
Did you know that up to 80% of your immunity to germs and disease is in your digestive system? The mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) in the gut is part of the first line of immune defence so getting the right balance between beneficial or ‘good’ gut bacteria and the ‘bad’ or potentially pathogenic bacteria is key.
How to do this:
The gut environment takes a beating year after year, owing to poor diets, too much sugar, stress, antibiotics and other factors. Even if you have no obvious tummy troubles, digestive health is vital, so it’s worth the extra effort to take care of it.
Add probiotic and prebiotic foods to your diet, as these re-populate the gut with good bacteria and feed them well enough to crowd out bad bacteria.
Here are some gut-friendly choices to get you started:
Organic, probiotic, natural yoghurt – sometimes called ‘live’ yoghurt.
Always buy full-fat yoghurt, as the 0% or no-fat options have increased levels of milk sugars – and fat isn’t the enemy, either in life or in weight loss.
Miso soup or miso bouillon paste (add these to soups and stews).
Oats (soak first, as you would to make overnight oats, in order to release the goodness).
Onions, garlic and Jerusalem artichokes.
Cooked, then cooled, potatoes.
INCLUDE HERBS & SPICES WHEN COOKING
Adding flavour to food is a smart way to include delicious immune boosters on your plate.
Garlic is a potent superfood. It is antimicrobial, thanks to the active ingredient allicin, which helps fight viruses, and has been used for thousands of years to boost the immune system and prevent sickness. To make the most of allicin, crush, chop or grate the garlic cloves and allow them to sit for a few minutes. This releases more allicin. Once formed, it is fairly resistant to heat.
Most culinary herbs contain anti-inflammatory properties due to their phytonutrients, but oregano and thyme are particularly rich. Spice up your cooking with turmeric and ginger, too, as these are well-documented immune boosters.
REDUCE SUGAR INTAKE
Even if you don’t consider yourself a sugar addict, it’s worth taking a look at how much you do consume – and trying to swap sugary treats for something more wholesome.
Sugar fans the flames of inflammation and affects the ability of white blood cells to fend off viruses and bacteria. In fact, the immune system stays depressed for hours after consuming sugar, according to recent studies.
Enjoy raw cocoa or cacao hot chocolate on chilly evenings, adding your favourite milk or milk substitutes (with a little xylitol or stevia to sweeten, if you like).
If you really miss that chocolate hit, try a few squares of pure, dark chocolate like Green & Blacks or any good chocolate with a higher cocoa content (at least 75%).
UP YOUR WATER INTAKE
Styling well-hydrated is important for health in general. When it comes to bolstering your defences, water is a miracle worker. It flushes germs from your system, helps your blood to carry plenty of oxygen to your body’s cells and allows those cells to absorb important nutrients.
Invest in a filter jug or bottle to avoid quaffing high levels of chlorine and fluorine along with your tap water.
Green tea (and chamomile tea, if you’re interested) can help supercharge your immunity. That’s because they contain antioxidants that help battle free radicals that wreak havoc across the immune system. Other teas that support good health are elderberry, Pau D’arco, Cats Claw, Nettle & Dandelion (liver health), Lemon Balm (calming and sleep), Chamomile (relaxation, sleep and anxiety). Aim to have several types in the cupboard.
ENJOY SOME SUNSHIEN EVERY DAY!
As difficult as this is to achieve sometimes (particularly in winter and spring), spending sufficient time in sunlight is a vital immune booster.
Vitamin D is made by your skin absorbing sunlight, so planning an hour or two outside during daylight hours is a good reason to leave work early or take your children to the park when you’d rather sleep late. Even sitting outside in while you have your morning cuppa is a good thing right now.
You can boost your vitamin D levels by eating more of the following foods: oily fish (salmon, mackerel and fresh tuna), beef liver, mushrooms, cheese, egg yolks and vitamin D-fortified foods, such as dairy products and orange juice.
Being tired is not good for your health. Simply, your body needs rest to stay healthy. In one study done at a private research university in Pennsylvania in the US found that, even if people said they felt fine and dandy, if they’d had less than 7 hours of sleep a night, they were three times more likely to catch a cold than people who had had an average of 8 hours or more of the ole shut-eye. A poor night’s sleep will also affect your food choices for the next day and you may find yourself reaching for the sugary hit. Research has linked poor sleep with weight gain in the longer term.
Your lymphatic system, a parallel universe to your bloodstream, contains a network of tissues and organs that help your body get rid of toxins and waste. Its main role is to transport a fluid called lymph around the body, which contains infection-fighting white blood cells. Unlike the blood, which moves around thanks to your heart pumping, there’s no automatic way of moving lymph about. The only way to shift the stuff from A to B is by moving yourself.
The aim is 30-60 minutes of exercise 5 times a week. Include a mix of activity including relaxation types e.g. yoga. Basically, keep moving! Movement and exercise is also closely interlinked with mood so you may find any movement will boost your good mood feelings.
For more information how nutritional therapy can help with peri-menopause and menopause symptoms, contact Aine on 07833 740043 or visit www.goodfoodnutrition.co.uk and book your FREE mini consultation today. You don’t have to accept these symptoms as normal. Get your ZING back and feel fabulous everyday