Five Health Tips You Need To Follow 

By Rebecca Gawthorne – Dietitian & Nutritionist

Every year, health trends come and go. Some are great and may stick around. But many are gimmicks with brilliant marketing tactics that promise instant results from purchasing a product or food.

This 2016, there will be new health fads; seaweed will replace kale, novel drinks like cactus water will supersede coconut water and superfood lattes will be the new coffee. Now don’t get me wrong, some of these may have excellent health benefits, but they won’t make you superwomen or cure all of your health problems.

So before you jump on the bandwagon of 2016’s emerging food and fitness trends, get back to basics with these five health tips that you need to follow during 2016 and the years to come:

1) Water – Pure. Natural. Hydrating. Water doesn’t need to have vitamins added to it. It doesn’t need to be alkalinized to a certain pH. It doesn’t have to come in a fancy glass bottles. In fact, it’s better off without these. You just need to drink it.

Your body is approximately 60% water; it forms part of every cell, tissue and organ in your body. Water helps transport nutrients around your body, regulates your heart rate and body temperature, prevents fatigue and helps maintain normal muscle function. Water improves concentration, decision making, motor control in exercise, protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues and enhances anabolic hormones and promotes lean muscle growth. It is also responsible for helping kidneys expel toxins through urination, perspiration and bowel movements. So staying hydrated is crucial to making your body function at its optimum.

2) Processed Sugars – processed, or refined/added sugars can be detrimental to your health causing weight gain, increases in blood glucose and insulin levels, as well as heightened blood pressure and cholesterol. It can negatively affect your dentition and even put you at risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

You may be aware of the processed sugars found in soft-drink, lollies and commercial cakes, biscuits and chocolates. But refined sugars are added to a multitude of packaged foods! Think cereals, sauces, tinned foods and drinks.

To reduce your intake and avoid these sugars, you need to check the label! Here are just some of the different names that processed sugars may be listed under on a food label: brown sugar, raw sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, sucrose, sugar syrup, cane crystals, cane sugar, crystalline fructose, evaporated cane juice, corn syrup solids and malt syrup.

When you reduce these refined sugars, you need to ensure your body still receives adequate natural sugar. Fruit contains natural sugars that your brain utilises for energy, plus they are packed full of vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and phytochemicals, all of which promote health and prevent disease. Your body can also breakdown foods that contain carbohydrates, like sweet potato, oats and brown rice, into sugars in a positive way that will benefit your health.

3) Shop Fresh – Food shopping can either be one of your greatest health tools or your worst enemy. Fruit shops and supermarkets can be filled with beautiful, fresh, nutritious wholefoods that will nourish your body and keep you healthy. But they can also contain copious amounts of unwholesome, unnatural foods that will detrimental to your health and ultimately lead to sickness and disease.

When food shopping, always create a list that is primarily fresh vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, legumes, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds. Avoid highly processed, refined foods, which are usually stocked in the middle isles and at the point-of-sale sections at the checkout. Limit white foods; think white bread, white pasta, white rice, white biscuits and crackers and avoid lollies, chocolates, cakes and soft-drinks. Stick to your list and don’t go shopping hungry!

4) Enjoy Mindful Eating – When you eat, you need to be experience and enjoy what you are consuming. Taste the flavour, feel the texture in your mouth. Focus on your food; this means no TV, no phone, laptop etc. Chew your food and don’t rush. Put your knife and fork down between each mouthful. This will allow you to not only enjoy your meal more, but will help your body digest and absorb the nutrients and help you feel fuller, which can aid weight loss.

5) Live a healthy lifestyle – To compliment your healthy eating in 2016, you need to live a healthy life. This includes sleep, exercise and relaxation. Structure and routine can be very handy when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle. Many find rising early, exercising outdoors in the sunshine and a minimum of 8hrs sleep key to a healthy life.

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