Living a healthy life doesn’t mean that you have to eat raw veggies all the times, meditate every morning and exercise 10 times per week.
Although you can do those three things, aiming to be healthier doesn’t have to be so complicated.
The first step to take when you decide to become a healthier version of yourself is to recognize that you have to pay attention to both physical and mental health. It is not only about eating the right foods and going to the gym every day of the week. It is about keeping a balance, understanding your thoughts and emotions, and managing the way you behave and react towards different circumstances in life.
Adopting a holistic nutrition approach to your own life will give you the fundamentals to become a healthier and happier version of yourself.
I will share 5 steps you can start taking today to improve the quality of your physical and mental health.
1. NOURISH YOUR BODY AND BRAIN
In order to give your body and brain the nutrients they need to function properly; you must start by avoiding some foods that harm the integrity of these two.
Ditch all sugary fizzy drinks (find healthier alternatives like natural iced teas or kombucha), refined carbs and highly processed grains like white flours (eat instead whole grains pasta and breads); foods high in trans fats like vegetable oils (canola oil) (eat nuts, avocados and olive oil instead), alcohol and excess in minerals like iron, cooper and zinc ( the body needs those minerals, but exceeding the required amounts damage the brain cells and deteriorate memory).
2. ADD MORE FIBER AND HEALTHY FATS TO YOUR DIET
As mammals age, immune cells in the brain known as microglia become chronically inflamed. In this state, they produce chemicals known to impair cognitive and motor function. That's one explanation for why memory fades and other brain functions decline during old age. But, according to a new study from the University of Illinois, there may be a remedy to delay the inevitable: dietary fiber.
Including more fiber in your diet promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut. When these bacteria digest fiber, they produce short-chain-fatty-acids (SCFAs), including butyrate. This short fatty acid has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and improves memory.
You can add more fiber to your diet by eating more beans, broccoli, berries, avocados, whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice and crunchy vegetables.
The brain requires certain nutrients to stay healthy. Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, help build and repair brain cells, and antioxidants reduce cellular stress and inflammation, which are linked to brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
You can add more healthy fats to your diet by eating oily fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardinestwice a week. other sources are: dark chocolate, berries (contains antioxidants that fight brain cells killers), nuts and seeds, whole grains, coffee, avocados, peanuts, eggs and broccoli.
3. DRINK LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER
I just can’t stress enough on this subject. Average grown adults should drink at least 2 litters of water per day. Water is necessary to keep the body hydrated, the entire gastrointestinal track and digestive system depends on water for the secretion process, it delivers oxygen throughout the body, amongst so many other vital functions that need water.
4. MOVE YOUR BODY
Exercise is another fantastic way for the brain to stay healthy and avoid premature aging. By practicing a workout routine regularly, the body can more effectively manage blood sugar and insulin levels. exercise helps to reduce the risk of heart disease; it improves lung capacity and circulation, it helps to control your weight, it endures your muscles and improves your mental health and mood.
You can start moving your body by going for a 30-minute walk every day, or just dancing in front of a mirror for 15 minutes every night. The idea is to do some type of movement consistently.
5. SLOW DOWN
Take a step back and analyze your entire lifestyle.
Do you eat at regular times?
Do you have a morning routine or you rush to get to work without breakfast every day?
Do you eat while you are performing other tasks?
Your stress levels are so high that you are getting physically sick because of it?
If you are living a fast-paced lifestyle you need to slow down.
Creating a morning routine that gives you enough time to start the day without rushing is the best way to lower your stress levels.
Practice mindful eating. Mindful eating is about allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation, and being present at the current moment.
Meditation, exercise, journaling, reading, practicing a hobby are all good initiatives to slow down your mind, your body and to stay anchor in the present time.
Letting go of your worries for some time a day it will improve your mood and your physical health.
As a health coach, I help busy professionals who struggle finding ways to create and maintain healthy lifestyle habits so they can optimize their physical and mental health.