You don’t have to go vegan or join cross-fit to give your health a major boost! Simple daily health changes can make a big difference to your health.
How to get healthier every day with these easy health changes
1. Take this…
‘Krill oil is the new super supplement, as it has a powerful anti-inflammatory action,’ explains Dr Sarah Brewer. This oil, rich in omega 3, helps combat fatigue and improve energy, plus it can assist in reducing PMS symptoms, including cramping, breast tenderness and mood swings.
2. Become a flexitarian
Research shows that a quarter of us are decreasing the amount of red meat we consume, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and make weight maintenance easier. Instead, fill up on lentils, beans, tofu and eggs and you’ll still get plenty of protein, while saving money on your food bill. A University of Oxford study found that vegetarians were 32% less likely to experience heart disease.
3. Finish your meal with kiwi fruit
A recent study found that kiwi fruit aids digestion, reduces the feeling of being overfull and eases bloating because it contains actinidin, a compound that helps digest proteins found in red meat, dairy and fish.
4. Have no-booze days
‘Not drinking on three consecutive days is the best thing you can do,’ says liver specialist Dr Nick Sheron. ‘It slashes your weekly unit intake; reduces the risk of alcohol-related health risks, flags any dependency issues and gives your liver a chance to rest.’ Try to make every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday dry!
5. Treat your feet
Try a medical pedicure, says foot expert Margaret Dabbs. ‘Unlike a regular pedicure, a professional podiatrist addresses all aspects of foot health and it’s performed on a dry foot to ensure long-lasting results.’ Or, follow Margaret’s guide to get the perfect pedi at home:
- Get rid of hard skin before you bath using a foot file, rather than a ‘grating’ device.
- File toenails straight across with a glass file, rather than an emery board.
- Use a square block buffer to remove discolouration, followed by a glossing buffer to create a glass-like shine.
- Soak feet in warm water and use a sea salt scrub with olive oil to exfoliate away dead skin.
- Finally, rub in lots of moisturiser.
6. Know your kale from your carrots
Can’t decide between broccoli or spinach? Brie or Camembert? A handy Google tool is here to help. Simply type two foods into the search engine, along with ‘compare’ or ‘versus’ (for example, ‘compare broccoli and spinach’) and it will bring up a table of nutritional information per 100g of each food.
7. Repel stress
Juggling kids, me-time and work can leave us stressed, says health expert and nutritionist, Amanda Hamilton, ‘making health changes doesn’t have to be complicated, support your body with supplements designed to buffer burn-out. Co-enzyme Q10 and B vitamins are among the most crucial, and added vitamin C helps to prevent damage from the sun’s rays.’ Try Go! WOMAN (R121, Nativa) and Co-Enzyme Q10 (R100, Vital).
8. Go barefoot
Walking without shoes on for around 10–20 minutes a day can strengthen the muscles in your feet and iron out any pains in your ankles, feet, hips and back, says running coach Lee Saxby. So, slip those heels off and start walking.
9. Embrace the avocado
It’s a powerhouse of green goodness and a new study has found that eating half an avocado at lunch can slash 4pm hunger pangs by 40%. Pair with boiled eggs for the perfect protein and mono-saturated fat combo.
10. Don’t forget your teeth!
Dry brushing your teeth during the day can help remove plaque and stop tartar building up. If your teeth feel rough to your tongue, then it’s time to dry brush. Using just water, hold the bristles at a 45-degree angle and give them a good brush.
11. Rethink your lunchtime sandwich
The perfect protein-to-carb ratio needed to avoid an afternoon slump is 1:1 (foods like pasta, potatoes and bread trigger serotonin production and make you feel sleepy). A chicken sandwich is a 2:1 ratio, so rather go for the open option with one slice of whole-wheat bread and add more chicken and salad for a 1:1 ratio.
12. Work it out
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the most effective way to get fit and burn fat. A Tabata workout is the ultimate HIIT — exercise as hard as you can for 20-second bursts with a break of 10 seconds between each for a period of four minutes. It can be anything from running to swimming. After warming up, perform a series of jumping jacks, burpees, jumping lunges and sprinting on the spot.
13. Spice it up!
Sprinkle a little cinnamon on porridge or grate nutmeg onto cauliflower cheese. The antibacterial properties of cinnamon help fight viruses, while adding nutmeg to soups and stews can sharpen the mind — the active ingredient myristicin is said to improve memory.
14. Easily trim kJ from your daily diet
Simply replace one drink (such as a can of fizzy cool drink, a latte or your after-work glass of wine) with a big glass of water every day and you could cut up to 210 000 kJ a year. That’s around 6kg of weight lost over a 12-month period.
15. Go nuts for coconuts
The latest superfood can lead to clear skin, luscious locks and a healthy bank balance! Dietary wise, coconut oil has been proven to aid weight loss due to its healthy saturated fats, which are converted into energy and help stimulate your metabolism, rather than being stored as fat in the body. It can also be used as a body moisturiser, cleanser and hair mask for a natural beauty regime.
Read more: 5 health benefits of drinking coconut water
16. Stand up
Every hour you sit reduces your lifespan by 22 minutes as it raises insulin levels, increasing the risk of conditions such as diabetes. Fortunately, standing for a few minutes every hour counteracts this effect — so get on your feet when using the phone!
17. Get some green time
Workers who eat lunch outdoors are more upbeat about their jobs than those who munch at their desks. And five minutes of exercise in a ‘green space’ like a park gives a boost to mental health, say researchers. So, take a stroll under some trees before going back to work.
Read more: 7 ways to make the most of your lunch hour
18. Have a mole check
‘Do a DIY exam by getting your partner to photograph your moles every six months and report changes in size, shape or colour to your GP,’ says nurse Anna Gucova.
19. Choose frozen veg
Frozen veg often contain higher levels of vitamins and cancer-fighting antioxidants than fresh produce, which may have been in storage for a month and then in your fridge for days, all the while losing nutrients. By contrast, frozen fruit and veg are chilled soon after harvest. Add a handful of frozen chopped spinach (we love McCain Garden Spinach) to casseroles, quiches, soups, curries and bakes — the icy leaves pack a hefty nutritional punch.
20. Indulge in sex!
We have more sex in summer than any other season, according to a recent poll. Scientists say this is largely down to the feel-good endorphins that our bodies naturally produce more of during the summer months. And orgasms can do as much for your brain as a crossword, say scientists who studied MRI scans.