We all want to be healthy, but what exactly is health? WHO (World Health Organisation) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. I’ll take that!
With Spring in the air, there’s no better time to put your health higher on your agenda.
It’s the daily decisions you make concerning your diet, lifestyle and environment that overtime, significantly affect your health and wellbeing. The good news is you already have all of the tools for your personalised health management! All you have to do is decide what’s right for you by listening to your body’s feedback. To get you started here are my top 5 nutritional tips to enhance your health this Spring.
If you can see the part of the plant, fruit or vegetable that the food originated from then it’s a safe bet it’s good to eat. If it had a pair of eyes (forgive me vegetarians and vegans), if it walked, swam, or flew, then it’s another safe bet it’s good to eat. Try to keep it organic, local and seasonal just like our Grandmothers cooked way back when! This means less chemicals, fresher produce, supportive of local economies, perfectly balanced food as nature intended. This also means that our bodies know what to do with the food when it’s consumed as it’s a natural substance not some artificial, toxic man-made chemical!
I’m a big fan of low carb eating plans, as time and again research has proven that high carbohydrate intake, aka ‘sugar’, is responsible for the epidemic of chronic diseases that are pervading our society. If low carb diets are too daunting, try eating safe instead. Ditch all the ‘white’ carbs, the bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and replace with ‘brown’ and ‘green’ carbs instead. This means eating brown rice and pasta, beans and pulses, try cauliflower rice or mash, or even courgetti. Get creative and have fun. Your gut and waist line will thank you.
Most boxed and bagged breakfast cereals are not ‘food’. They are usually highly processed, sugar filled, wheat derived, fast foods commonly served with more sugar and a dairy liquid. You may not be celiac or lactose intolerant but did you know that 1 in 3 of us are actually gluten sensitive, a condition now firmly associated with neurodegenerative decline especially Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia. Want to stay smart? Avoid the cereal ‘killers’!
There was a time when we had desert at the end of a ‘special’ meal, at the weekend or when dining out. Now we have sweet treats for breakfast, snacks, after lunch or for lunch (Mars bar and can of coke, yikes!) and at the end of most evening meals. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the sugar content in alcohol. There are children as young as 3 years diagnosed with fatty liver disease, a condition formally associated with elderly alcoholics. Take the sugar out of your diet, become aware and really taste the food.
Did you know that we are more bacterial than we are human?! The gut contains 10 times more bacteria that all the human cells in the entire body. Our microbiota controls our mood, our digestion and metabolism, provides protection from infection and comprises 75% of our immune system. Bad diet, stress, medications and much more besides cause imbalances in our bacteria resulting in ‘leaky gut’ syndrome and its symptoms ranging from indigestion to autoimmune conditions. To help restore the balance include some fermented foods in your daily diet like kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha or just plain old natural yogurt.
Health management and disease prevention starts by making the decision to take complete responsibility for your health, with the focus on prevention, not just cure. You have a plan for car, house, life insurance, maybe even pet insurance. What’s your plan for your Health Management?
Antoinette Witter of The Happy Gut Clinic (www.thehappygutclinic.ie) is a Nutritional Therapist, a Health and Wellness Coach and Dietary Counsellor. Call her now to start your journey to wellness and optimum health.