Healthy habits you CAN stick to in 2019
The VITL Nutrition Team
Some might sigh at the thought of another ‘New year, New me’ post, but actually there’s nothing wrong with starting fresh and using the new year to achieve something you’ve always wanted to. But perhaps you aren’t 100% certain on what you want to commit to, maybe there isn’t that one thing that stands out as a clear change? Well here’s where you could start - habits.
Day to day, there are common unhealthy habits that we all engage in but might not be aware of. But habits aren’t permanent, they can be broken or reshaped in a sustainable way!
Here’s how you can make some small tweaks to your diet and lifestyle to make a difference to your health in 2019.
There’s a huge amount of research highlighting the benefits of a healthy gut, not only for digestion, but it also has proven associations with your immune system, sleep, obesity and even mental health.
The cells commonly found in the gut are thought to make up almost 70% of your entire immune system. Research has shown how probiotic supplements containing certain strains of good bacteria can help in promoting the production of antibodies - proteins produced by your immune system to help protect the body from harmful invaders. Alternative ways of boosting the good bacteria in your gut include incorporating live yoghurts that contain ‘good’ bacteria (such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium). Fermented foods such as kefir and miso also contain strains of good bacteria.
Eat within a 12 hour window
We focus on what we eat an awful lot, but it’s just as important to focus on when you eat. As you might know, your body operates via a 24hr biological clock - which includes a window dedicated to repair and regeneration as we sleep. Research suggests that we need to allow sufficient time for this to occur, specifically a 12-hour window. So, to put it simply, if you eat your breakfast at 8am, you shouldn’t eat after 8pm - this way your body can take time to recover and remove any waste products or toxins.
Reduce your intake of red meat
Red meat produces a high acidic load for the body to absorb and neutralise, this acidity also creates the perfect environment for disease. The body also typically takes longer to digest red meats than other foods, something that can result in constipation, abdominal pain, and bloating. In fact, a study published in 2014 found that vegetarians had lower rates of inflammation than meat eaters. Cutting out red meat may also reduce your saturated fat intake, which in turn might lower your cholesterol levels. Also, it will have benefits for the environment!
Hydration is key for so many aspects of your life, with water making up nearly 60% of the adult human body! Not only does dehydration affect your concentration, but also your digestion, skin health to name but a few. Water is critical to keep cells healthy and hydrated, including those of the brain!
Take a minute, and think about how many hours in the day you spend sitting down, commuting to work, watching tv, eating, sleeping - it’s so easy to become sedentary! But there’s steps you can take to reduce this. Try walking outside at lunch time, this will refresh the body and mind, also did you know that walking up the stairs uses the same muscles as squats?
Reducing your exposure to harmful chemicals
Do you know what chemicals are in your toothpaste or deodorant? Considered what’s in your shampoo or body wash? Research has indicated that you are likely to be exposed to a number of harmful chemicals just through the air you breathe, personal care products you choose to use, what you clean your bathroom or kitchen with, and even the containers you eat and drink from. Perhaps it’s time to invest in a stainless steel drinks bottle, or swap your plastic bottle for glass!
Research is your best friend in this case. Become more familiar with the products you use daily, to determine their toxicity and overall potential effects on your health.
Reduce your screen time
A huge percentage of us wake up in the morning and check instagram, or scroll facebook on the commute to work, or worse before you go to sleep! Try and crack this habit by consciously taking time away from your phone. Try charging your phone outside your bedroom as you sleep, or make a conscious effort to leave your phone in your bag rather than more accessible in your pocket.
Taking the essentials vitamins for your body is a healthy and easily sustained habit to include in your lifestyle. Better still, why not take it even further and find out exactly what vitamins YOUR body needs, start taking them as part of your daily routine and see what difference it can make to your health.