With the new year here you might be thinking about your health and what you would like to do. Here are a few activities I think are under rated, give good return on investment and are in general pretty achievable most of the time. You can always reach out to a relevant health professional for more guidance, support and for individual advice.
Flossing, not the dance move even though that could be good to add to your daily routine for movement. I am referring to flossing your teeth daily. There are a ton of bacteria in your mouth, tiny pieces of food that get wedged in between your teeth and plaque all that the toothbrush can’t get to. Floss to remove them before the food starts to deteriorate and you wonder why you have bad breath and sore gums that you can’t seem to improve. Research also shows good oral health is also linked to a greater likelihood of overall good health and wellbeing.
You say what, add salt? A dietitian is telling me to use salt? I am not suggesting you increase your overall salt intake. I am suggesting using a little salt at the table or in your cooking to make your salad or vegetables tasty. Why, we need to eat more vegetables and if they taste good we probably will. You can also flavour with other herbs and spices, however we know salt is a good flavour enhancer and sometimes it just makes food taste better. Most of the salt in the Australian diet is not from salt we add at the table but from packaged and highly processed foods. Eat less of these and sprinkle a little on your delicious bowl of greens or tray of roasted veggies instead!
Eat as much as your body tells you too. Use your appetite as a guide. Rather than following a ‘diet’ that tells you how much to eat, comparing yourself to how much others are eating or eating what you think you should, listen to your own appetite, it is a good guide if you genuinely get in tune. Eat when hungry, stop when full. Sounds simple and sometimes it is easier said than done so don’t panic if you sometimes over or under eating is not something to worry about. Eat slowly, concentrate and fuel yourself to what your body needs, it could be quite liberating from a life of restrictive, guilt ridden eating!
Acknowledge things that are going well, that you are thankful for; often referred to as giving gratitude is actually good for your health. Some of us are born with a predisposition for cheerfulness and optimism and some of us not. You can use strategies like gratitude to keep you focusing on the positive. Find a time that is easy to do it like when waking up in the morning or before going to sleep. Before eating is another good time that can be done with the family.
Rate sleep. I have heard people say, ‘I have plenty of time to sleep when I am dead,’ but continuously being sleep deprived is not ok for your health. Most of us need around 7-8 hours of sleep to function at our best. When feeling a lack of sleep you lose concentration easily and experiences mood changes. When feeling tired motivation can be low, for example to be active and reaching for high sugar foods to try and get a pick me up are more likely. We can’t control falling asleep, but we can create the right conditions, like dark, quiet, cool spaces and rate the time we dedicate to sleep as a worthwhile activity and priority for our health.
There are many more strategies and tips for good health. Here's hoping these are suitable as part of your repertoire.
This is general advice and may not suit everyone. Seek health professional advice for your individual needs.
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