Well, we are already nearly two weeks into the year and I wonder how your new year resolutions are going. Well, it is great to make these resolutions and we do that really well. However, ensuring they become a part of our everyday lives is just a little more difficult.
So, today I thought I would tackle one of the most difficult ones to keep – eating healthily. You can give yourself all the excuses in the world for eating badly – you are busy, you haven’t had time to eat properly, you have had a really challenging day either in the office or with the children. We human beings are great at making excuses for not doing something and we can also be really creative with these reasons as well!
However, the one thing for sure that 2014 will bring most of us is that little word, ‘stress’, so let us look at way of how you can reduce it naturally.
Eat a healthy diet
Reduce your sugar and caffeine intake in your drinks as this can increase your stress levels. Swap your fizzy drinks for still water, and your coffee for green tea.
This is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants. These substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals are known to play a major role in aging and in the development of disease. One of the more powerful compounds in green tea is the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate [EGCG], which may be one of the main reasons that green tea is known to have such powerful medicinal properties.
Increase your Vitamin C intake
This can help increase the production of white blood cells which is key to fighting infection. Your body cannot store vitamin C, so you should think about taking it daily in a freshly squeezed citrus fruit. And here is something that not everyone knows: red bell peppers have twice as much flu-fighting vitamin C as well as being a rich source of beta carotene.
The green vegetable, broccoli: this is one of the healthiest vegetables you can serve at your table as it is full of vitamins A, C and E as well as being a known anti-cancer agent. However, take care not to overcook it and it is far better to steam it rather than boil it. Try serving with a ginger sauce – it is really delicious!
Blueberries are another so-called ‘superfruit’ – readily available and packed with juicy antioxidants and really delicious.
Ginger is one of those spices that is often overlooked but it can help you to beat that cold, quickly. It is claimed that it can also decrease chronic pain and may even possess cholesterol-lowering properties.
Yoghurt: we just love it with our granola for breakfast but when you go to the shops, do you look for low fat with ‘live and active cultures’ printed on the package? These probiotic cultures can stimulate your immune system and help to fight disease.
Almonds: Whenever I am travelling, I always carry with me some unsalted almonds. Now, I do know that they are not as tasty as salted ones but I don’t really want to increase my blood pressure – however tasty they may be. Almonds are full of vitamin E which is key to a healthy immune system and if you eat them with raisins, they are even more delicious.
It is proven that junk food can make us depressed – as well as fat – so a great New Year resolution is to clean up your diet. Now that doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself and enjoy what you eat but it does mean that you need to start to think about what you are putting into your mouth.
Healthy foods like whole grains and protein can improve your mood and give you long-lasting energy to tackle everything that is thrown at you during the day.
New Year resolutions for 2014 are there to be made and kept, so why not start off as you mean to carry on?
Eat healthily, be more active, be more productive and enjoy life more throughout the whole of next year!
Key Learning Points
- Eat the right foods to boost your immune system
- Eating healthily will make you more productive
- New Year resolutions are made to keep, not break
Written by Carole Spiers and reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News.
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