Nutrition and Well-being

Lorna RhodesFeatures, Nutritional Therapy, WellbeingLeave a Comment

nutrition and well-being Fresh fruits and vegetables salad
photography by Dean Mitchell

Well-being and good health is something we should aspire to and eating a healthy and well balanced diet is the key. We would all like to have a glow, plenty of vitality and a feeling of well-being. The media bombard us with so much information about losing weight, getting more exercise and the benefits or otherwise of many foods, that it is hard to put it all together to achieve optimal health and reach this goal.  We need to consider our spiritual wellness, social wellness, physical wellness and even our emotional wellness,  a all of these elements affect our wellbeing. And we know only too well how debilitating stress can be. This article will give you some guidelines with nutritional tips that may help put you on the road to feeling healthier and more energetic.

Often the root cause of not feeling great lies within our digestive system, which for many people does not function well. This is often caused by eating the wrong foods, such as greasy take-aways, processed foods, (high in sugar and fat) or just not eating plenty of fruit and vegetables all of which have an impact on our well-being.
Digestion starts in the mouth: how many times have you eaten in a hurry in the car, or in front of the television, not paying much attention to the food you are consuming? Food needs to be thoroughly chewed, to break down the food and mixed with saliva , which contains enzymes that are needed for digestion.
Fruits and vegetables give a good intake of anti-oxidants, and phytochemicals that mop up cell damaging ’free radical’ molecules and are also a good source of  fibre, vitamins and minerals, all of which are needed to keep the immune system working well to prevent infections and illnesses. Fibre is needed to keep the digestive tract healthy and encourage muscle contractions to make sure all the waste is eliminated properly. Many people suffer from constipation because they do not eat enough fibre. This is not good for well-being, as toxins that sit in the intestines could cause many unpleasant diseases. Another cause of constipation is dehydration, and many people do not drink enough water.
Insufficient water can be the cause of headaches, affect your energy levels, mood, and ability to think clearly. Keeping hydrated is also good for the skin.

The key to health eating and good nutrition, is to be prepared, by making good choices when shopping. Try not to keep processed snacks in your house. Prepare some extra food for the week, such as a large batch of vegetable soup, so there’s always something healthy to eat. Scale down buying convenience foods, that is, anything in a package.
Your focus should be on eating nutritious foods that will protect your health and help you achieve a sense of well-being.

Make wellness a goal, rather than thinking only about weight loss, as going on unsustainable, gimmicky diets is not the solution. If you are overweight adopt a healthy lifestyle by eating real whole foods that are low GI, and stay active.

Research has shown that a bad diet is a major contributor to poor health, particularly heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and some cancers. It is a well known fact that there is a positive relationship between eating healthy eating and longevity. Such tips as eating plenty of vegetables and some fruits, a low saturated fat intake, reducing sugar and lowering salt consumption all help.
It is not only a long and healthy life that we wish for, but throughout life we would all like to experience a feeling of good health and well-being.

LORNA’S 10 TOP TIPS for Nutrition and Well-being

1 Try to eat at least 7 different portions a day, of vegetables than fruit, preferably more vegetables and keep fruit to 2 portions. Cut up some fruit and fresh vegetables to keep on hand whether to take to work, in the car for a long journey or just to eat while watching TV.

2 Aim for 6-8 glasses of water a day. Keep a glass jug of water at your work station to remind you to drink throughout the day. If you drink fizzy drinks, start by cutting out one drink a day and replacing with water.

3Slow down at mealtimes, give your body time to register that you are about to eat, and eat slower, so that you can feel getting full and avoid overeating. This way you will consume fewer calories and enjoy your food more.

4Replace one main meal a week with a vegetarian option, eat red meat only once a week.

5Pack a lunch for work to avoid having to buy less healthy food.

6Add variety to your salad, try difference coloured leaves, add shredded red cabbage for crunch, scatter over toasted pumpkin seeds and never use ready made salad dressing. Mix your own with good olive oil and lemon juice or cider vinegar.

7 Get an hour more sleep a day. Good sleep helps your body function better. We all need 7-9 hours of sleep. Remove all electric devices from the bedroom.

8 Daily relaxation is important to combat stress. Take 15-20 minutes day to relax, try yoga, meditation, some non-demanding reading or listen to calming music.

9 Walk more, try to incorporate this into your day. Even 5 minute mini walks two to three times a day is better than none.

10Reduce alcohol intake and quit smoking.

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