#1 – Hydrate
Anecdotally we all know we need to drink more water – but this is number one on my list of a simple and effective change you can easily and cheaply make. Aim to drink 1.5 – 2 litres of water each day. Use a 500ml water bottle and drink 3-4 of these throughout the day – you should notice improvements in energy, concentration, digestive health and after a few weeks you may then start to notice some improvements in your skin health.
#2 – Sleep
Aim for eight hours sleep a night. Opt for an earlier bedtime and a sleep-inducing bed routine to aid some additional restful sleep. Research suggests the best quality sleep is the sleep we manage before midnight – so set a reminder on your phone to go to bed earlier, turn off your electrical equipment one hour before you want to sleep, enjoy a calming book, consider a soak in a bath or a foot soak in Epsom salts, ensure your bedroom is set up for a restful sleep, all electrical equipment is turned off, light is blocked out and it is a comfortable temperature, aim for a minimum of eight hours in bed to put a spring in your step.
#3 – Chewing
If I had a pound for every person I talk to who doesn’t chew their food I would be pretty rich by now – Aim to chew each mouthful 30 times or chew the food to a baby food consistency before swallowing – this can be such a massive support for your digestive health.
#4 – Practice Mindful Eating
Mindfulness has a whole buzz around it but it is never as important as when it comes to eating – planning your meals across the day and the week can be a simple and effective way to ensure that you get the right blend of nutrients across the week. It can also be a great money saver- aim to add in your 5-10 portions of vegetables, berries and fruit each day, some daily whole grains, daily healthy fats such as olives, avocado or olive oil and 2-3 portions of oily fish a week
as a great base to then work with.
#5 – Reduce Foods that don’t work well for you
These can be slightly trickier to identify but some foods may be triggering inflammation in your body – and may be leading you to go down a path of chronic low-grade inflammation that can lead to chronic disease – common intolerances include sugar, wheat and dairy but if you have digestive symptoms similar to IBS then you may need to look in more detail at the impact of food and nutrients on your symptom. Following a gentle elimination diet may help you to identify which foods just don’t work for you. Aim to eliminate one food at a time for two weeks and monitor your symptoms.
#6 – Move more
A recent survey of UK adults found that more than a third of all adults do not move enough. A lack of physical movement can increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia and type 2 diabetes so it really is important to get a little more active. It is recommended that all adults have a minimum of 150 minutes activity a week – activities such as fast walking (aim to still be able to speak but not hold a conversation), swimming, taking the stairs instead of the elevator are simple options that are easy to incorporate into our daily lives. The 150 minutes can be broken down into bite-sized chunks, so this could be 15 x 10-minute sessions or 5 x 30-minute sessions. Once you have made the 150 minutes a regular habit then look to work on the next target of 300 minutes a week which is what is recommended to super boost your health.
#7 – Boost Healthy Fats
Aim to incorporate some healthy fats into every meal. Focus on adding nuts and seeds and their oils; olives and olive oil; avocado and avocado oil as well as coconut oil and ghee for cooking.
#8 – Reduce sugar and added sugars
Current advice is for adults and children over the age of eleven to have no more than six teaspoons (24g) of added sugar a day. Aim to become label savvy to really identify where the hidden sugars in your diet are – top high sugar products include ‘low-fat’ alternatives, sauces such as ketchup, and fruit juices. Foods that are naturally high in sugar are not included in the added sugar foods but should also be monitored.