Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top 5 tips for a healthy 2013

Welcome to 2013! We hope everyone had a wonderful time celebrating with family and friends. A few days into the new year and it is a great time to pause and reflect on the year gone by and to make plans for the year to come.

For those thinking of their health in the new year we have compiled our top 5 ideas to make 2013 a healthy and happy one. If you are still looking to fill your new years resolutions list here are some ideas to consider.

1 - Made to move

Humans are made for movement. While not very fast compared to the rest of the animal kingdom most humans can, with little specialist training, run relatively long distances. In a hot climate humans can beat a horse in a marathon and though a horse will often win they require breaks and vet check-ups along the way while a human does not. We are the champion long distance runners of the animal kingdom.

It is not surprising then that several studies have shown that avoiding a sedentary life can greatly decrease the risk of chronic illness such as heart disease and cancers.

So for a healthy year make sure this is an active one. If you have a job which is sedentary even small breaks involving movement every hour can make a difference and getting at least 3 hours of good exercise per week can greatly reduce health risks like diabetes and heart attacks.

2 - Abundant nutrition

Nutrition is fundamental to your health. It is also a complex topic as we have described in other articles. Vitamins and minerals interact with each other and are most easily digested when in certain combinations and ratios. The most easily prepared and readily accessible food for many people today is highly processed which results in reduced nutrient content. Soil depletion and modern farming practices also contribute to further loss of nutrients. So it is important to make an effort to optimise your nutritional intake.

Here are some key things to consider.

The freshness of your food matters: Fruit and vegetables are generally most nutrient-packed when they are ripe and fresh, so buying produce that is ripe, fresh and in season is the best way to ensure they are highly nutritious. Buying frozen vegetables can actually be best for out of season produce as frozen produce that was picked ripe maintains a high concentration of nutrients. Certain vitamins are less stable and more water soluble such as Folate, Thiamin and Vitamin C, so these can degrade fastest in frozen or out of season produce. Also steaming vegetables or eating them clean and raw rather than boiling them can minimize the loss of water soluble vitamins.

Choose bio-available supplements: Many people take vitamin or mineral supplements but most products are single vitamin or single mineral supplements which cannot address multiple deficiencies or hope to offer optimal absorption due to nutrient nutrient absorption dependencies. So researching your vitamin and mineral supplements and choosing multi vitamin/mineral formulas which are highly bio-available is recommended.

In summary while being nutritionally deficient can have serious health effects, your body can happily and safely handle more essential nutrients, so make an effort to include as much fresh produce in your diet as possible and supplement your diet with a highly bio-available multi vitamin/mineral formula such as Naturezone Micronutritionals rather than single vitamin or single mineral products.

3 - Consume less processed sugar and carbohydrates

Unlike ensuring abundant and optimal nutrition it is very easy to find a lot of sugars and processed carbohydrates in food all year around.

Carbohydrates are important and are turned into glucose in the blood to provide you with readily available energy. But because of the easy access to them and their year around availability we can easily consume too much. Elevated blood glucose levels are the primary stimulus for insulin production so excessive carbohydrate consumption is a likely contributor to problems like insulin resistance and diabetes.

It is all too easy in a typical day for every meal to be carbohydrate rich and to treat yourself to something sweet in between meals, but this is a recipe for continually high blood glucose and best avoided.

So look to replace some of your carbohydrate rich recipes with more lean meats, fish and vegetables and less potatoes, pasta, rice and sweet treats to avoid being part of the growing number of people who suffer from high blood glucose and the related problems like insulin resistance and diabetes.

4 - Watch the additives

Have you ever looked at the ingredients in daily use products like shampoos, conditioners, soaps, deodorants, creams, hair care products and make up? They often contain a large list of additives designed to preserve the product, make it thicker, more fragrant or colourful but which can also be toxic in higher dosages. These ingredients are in small dosages in each product and while your skin is a good barrier we are using more and more products that contain them. So try to use less of these types of products and replace the ones you do use with products that do not contain additives such as the Strauss range of hair care and skin care products.

5 - Take time to enjoy it

People intuitively know that there is such a thing as a healthy outlook and there is an interesting link between your body chemistry and your mood. While healthy living and optimal nutrition can balance your body chemistry and thereby your mood it is also true that simply focusing on things that bring you joy changes your body chemistry. So take time to dwell on the things that bring you joy in 2013 and have a great and healthy year!