Saturday, 18 January 2014

Food: Quick & easy health tips (Pt 3)

As part of my five-part 'Quick & easy health tips' features, I continue to round up the best bits of advice I received from nutritionists and my own research that I wanted to share with you. I'm on a journey to find the best ways to alter my lifestyle towards a healthier one and I thought I would share this with you. I absolutely hate exercise and prefer dance class, so this will be more of a goal to find alternative ways of eating, drinking and behaving healthier on a day to day basis and making it part of everyday life...the easy way.

Check out the other posts in this 'Quick & easy health tips' series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 4

6. Juice it up!
Juicing is the best way to detoxify your body. Whether you're doing the hardcore 7-day juice-only detox, trying to lose weight (I wouldn't recommend), or just want to get the goodness a few times a week, it's beneficial for everyone. I could write a whole new blog post on this (and I will!) as I just bought myself a NutriBullet, but I'll keep it short and simple here. According to experts, 95% of the vitamins and enzymes our bodies need are found in raw fruit and veg, so you need lots of it! Juicing enables us to have the right amount of nutrients in one glass rather than chomping on the stuff all day...and who would want to do that? For example, we would need 2lbs of carrots, 12 apples, 8 lbs of spinach to get the same amount of nutrients that we would get in a 16oz juice. The highly concentrated vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes in juices enter your bloodstream much quicker and you absorb all the benefits this way, giving your digestive organs a little rest!

Did you know that bottled juices are usually pasteurised, meaning they are heated and processed which kills vitamins and minerals. Buy your own blender and get your ingredients at a local shop.
7. Get your Omega 3 and Iron straight
Having a balanced diet is so important, and avoiding certain foods like fish because you don't like it can cause problems. Your body needs what it needs, and without eating fish you won't be getting your Omega-3 fatty acids which are considered essential for our bodies to be able to work normally. There are dozens of amazing health benefits to Omega-3 which you can find here. You can get Omega-3 in flax seeds, walnuts, sardines, salmon, soy beans, tofu, shrimp, and of course Omega-3 supplements. People taking these have reported improvements in their hair, skin, digestion and moods, but to name a few.

Iron is also essential for the growth and development of our bodies, and helps get rid of fatigue by straightening our immune system. It's also vital for muscle health and blood cell health, and helps supply oxygen to blood making it important for brain health. Foods like lentils, soy beans, whole grains, cereals, bread, spinach, turnip, fish, meat, broccoli and dry fruit are all foods that have a high iron content. If you have ever felt constantly tired, a great supplement is Floradix. Containing iron, it helped me gain more energy even though I was eating a lot of the above foods anyway.

8. Stretch at work
Working at a desk or on your feet all day can be a real strain on the body and mind, and doing little stretches every day does wonders. I do mine at my desk, and I don't think anyone should feel in any way awkward about this (just don't break into any crazy yoga positions!) Doing some light arm, shoulder, neck and leg stretches will improve your flexibility, ease the tightness in your body, and leave you feeling refreshed, essentially enabling you to do your job better and enjoy it.

9. Banish the 3pm slump by eating little and often
I don't know about you guys, but this is the worst part of the day for me when it comes to soon as it gets around 3pm I start to majorly crave sugar, carbs, ANYTHING! I find it hard to concentrate and get through the rest of the day, so I grab anything that's around to eat. Something I recently tried was to eat a snack around 11am (I have breakfast at 9) and this has definitely helped. This is of course a healthy snack like a big fruit, nuts, or rice cake. If you eat little and often, including minimising main meal portions, your metabolism will work much more effectively as you're keeping it busy! The snacking in between will also prevent sugar cravings so it's the best way to go. This works pretty well for people with IBS. Finally, the No1 rule is avoid the coffee!!! I've completely cut it out of my diet.

10. Get rid of the bad bacteria and feed the good bacteria
Another tip I got from the lovely Madeleine Shaw was that getting rid of sugars could be the best thing for me. I personally eat too much sugar, and this is essentially feeding the 'bad' bacteria in my body and my stomach. It's also telling my body that I need the sugar, and this causes the midday slump all too often. Bad sugar is your obvious 'added sugar', so fizzy drinks, crisps, sweets, white bread and more...and good sugar is what's a naturally occurring sugar in whole foods like fruit, veg, beans, nuts and whole grains. Bad sugars increase your risk of gaining weight and getting heart disease.

So fill that belly with good sugars and feed the 'good bacteria' that helps your body function the way it should...these include pineapples, carrots, beets, yoghurt, prunes, bananas, honey and apples...the list goes on but there is a whole host of 'sugary' healthy snacks you can replace that chocolate bar with!

11. Replace regular milk with Soya, Almond or Lactose-Free

This isn't necessary for everyone, but some people find they feel much better when drinking lactose-free (or sugar free) milk whether in their coffee or cereal. It has the same nutrients as regular milk but helps ease bloating, stomach aches, nausea or gas. If you have an intolerance, LactoFree milk (available in most supermarkets) tastes just like regular milk and is great - I drink it every day as I have IBS. Soy, rise and almond milk do taste different and not everyone likes them, but they contain no cholesterol as they are plant based so they're a healthier choice for people trying to reduce cholesterol consumption. Give it a try!

*I am not a professional nutritionist or doctor, so take this advice lightly and find what's best for your body! I do not endorse any of the products mentioned, and am not paid to feature them. I will only feature things that I have tried and tested and that have worked for me, but am not in any way entitled to give medical advice.

Images from Google Images



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