Living a healthy lifestyle really isn’t that difficult. You simply have to make some tiny changes to your routine and your diet. By living healthier, your overall well-being is guaranteed to improve.
Here are 5 easy habits to improve your health this year…
1. Eat healthier
First of all, eating vegetables daily is a requirement for a healthier life.
Green vegetables are best – some of the all-time healthiest vegetables are kale, watercress, spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and green peas.
Spinach, for example, is packed with vitamin C, carotenoids (antioxidants that promote healthy eyes), vitamin K, potassium (good for muscles and the heart), and fibre.
Kale is rich in disease-fighting vitamins K, A, and C, along with nutrients like manganese, copper, B vitamins, fibre, calcium, and potassium.
Then there are veggies that help fight cancer. Onions, beets, and broccoli contain cancer-fighting antioxidants. Beans and peas lower the risk of stomach cancer.
We all know that fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C. Some of the fruits that contain the most vitamin C are kiwi, guavas, strawberries, oranges and papayas.
Kiwi is also a good source of fibre, potassium, magnesium, copper, and phosphorous.
Despite being so tasty, berries are lower in sugar than many fruits. They contain disease-fighting phytochemicals which have been found to
- prevent cancer,
- boost your immunity,
- protect your heart, and
- prevent seasonal allergies.
Blueberries are good for your lipid profile, reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes. And because of their abundance of antioxidants, blueberries are one of the best fruits to protect you from premature aging.
The oil in coconut is excellent for your thyroid and your metabolism. Its medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) also offer a number of health benefits, such as giving you a mental boost and supporting your immune system.
Did you know that avocados are actually classified as a fruit? They are very healthy, as they are high in healthy fats, fibre, vitamin K, vitamin E, and potassium. BUT it’s important not to eat too many avos, because of their high levels of fat.
Add some seeds to your diet. Seeds are the little powerhouses of nutrition, energy, and fibre, according to Natalie Seldon.
Let’s break down some types of seeds’ goodness:
- Pumpkin seeds: Help form your body’s connective tissue.
- Flaxseeds: Besides containing omega-3, they are high in magnesium, which is an excellent energy booster and good for nerve and muscle function.
- Sesame seeds: High in copper, which plays a role in red blood cell formation.
- Sunflower seeds: Good for vitamin B6 (a key factor in the production of hormones), omega-6, and vitamin E.
- Chia seeds: High in energy, fibre (thus improving digestion), omega-3 fats, calcium, and protein. They are also cancer-fighting foods.
2. Drink more water
Our bodies are around 60% water, give or take. This makes it crucial to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water, or 2 litres, per day.
Benefits of drinking water:
- Water helps to maximize physical performance. Especially during intense exercise and when it’s hot.
- Hydration affects brain function. Mild dehydration lowers energy levels and mood, and reduces memory and brain performance.
- Drinking water may prevent and treat headaches. Sometimes.
- Water helps prevent hangovers. Tip: Drink a glass of water between drinks, and have at least one big glass before going to bed.
- Drinking more water may help with constipation. It can help prevent and relieve constipation, especially in people who don’t drink enough water.
- Drinking plenty of water helps with weight-loss. Drink at least 2 litres of water per day.
Quit making excuses and start making exercise a part of your daily routine this year. If you don’t do enough exercise, your physical energy will decrease. Plus, if you train regularly, you will start seeing satisfying results soon.
Join a gym, or try out a new sport – trail running, kickboxing, swimming, surfing, yoga, dancing, you name it. Find something you enjoy, and it’ll boost your happiness too.
If you’re super busy, go for quick, time-efficient workouts. You can find great workout videos on YouTube that only take 10-45 minutes of your time.
A major benefit of exercise is enabling you to sleep better at night. Exercising regularly improves the symptoms of insomnia and increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep.
4. Sleep (enough)
Adequate sleep is seven to nine hours a night.
Sleep has many benefits:
- It improves your mood.
- Sleep helps control hunger hormones.
- It encourages memory consolidation: the process where our brains convert short-term memories into long-term ones, leading to new insights.
If insomnia keeps you from accessing these benefits, try some relaxing techniques such as deep breathing and meditation (visualizing a restful place). Additionally, improve your sleep environment by keeping your bedroom dark and quiet.
5. Get more sunlight
Make some time in your day to be outside – 15 minutes are ideal.
The sun gives us vitamin D. Vitamin D strengthens your bones by increasing the rate that minerals such as calcium and magnesium are deposited into your bones. It’s also crucial for absorbing calcium from food.