The healthy living trend is here to stay and with more fitness idols and wellness companies in the spotlight than ever, which health hacks are going to be worth your attention in 2017?
1. Forget the fads
Make 2017 a year of balance. Ditch the juice cleanses and the restrictive diets and aim for long-term health. Let go of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, and replace with ‘nourishing’ foods. Eating healthily should not mean eating less! Quite the contrary. Undereating can lead to a vicious cycle of restriction and overeating. Make sure you’ve always got a fridge full of readily available healthy food and aim for a 80:20 split in terms of nourishment and foods just for pleasure. This is a more sustainable approach to diet and lifestyle, and far easier to maintain in the long term.
If it’s a detox you’re after, our bodies are detoxifying naturally all the time! Detoxification processes happen in the kidneys, liver, bowel, and even via the skin; it is an essential part of human survival and our bodies are incredibly efficient at doing so. Protein is essential for your liver to function, so before you embark on a juice cleanse or extreme low calorie diet, just remember that not enough protein means an unhappy liver and less efficient detoxification.
If you think your body needs extra help detoxing, take the free interactive nutrition consultation on the free VITL app (http://bit.ly/2lkTh6Z) which will assess your diet and lifestyle and formulate a personalised nutrition pack according to your needs.
2. Walk it off
The health benefits of walking are endless. It is a low-impact exercise, free, and beneficial for both your physical and mental health.
Fitting exercise into a busy schedule can be a challenge and is easy to strike off the to do list when days get busier. Why not try replacing a stressful commute to work with a brisk power walk? A pair of trainers and a podcast can make an hour walking fly by, and you’ll arrive at work on time, feeling rejuvenated (and a possibly a little smug…?!)
Getting outside on the weekend for a long walk is a great way to catch up with friends and clear your head after a busy week. “Forest Therapy” is a research-based framework for supporting healing and wellness through immersion in forests and other natural environments. In Japan it is called "shinrin yoku," which translates to "forest bathing." Studies have demonstrated a wide array of health benefits for both cardiovascular and immune systems, and for stabilizing and improving mood and cognition.
This may not seem a particularly high tech or exciting health hack for 2017 but common pitfall in healthy eating occurs in the evening; when you are tired, just got back from work, and the last thing you feel like is cooking a wholesome, healthy meal. Set aside an afternoon a month and get batch cooking! Cook up some filling stews, soups, roasted vegetables and whole grains, and put individual portions into zip lock bags for freezing. Then all you need to do is defrost your ‘ready-meal’ when you get back from work and hey presto!
Food waste is becoming an increasingly pressing issue and is something that can be tackled as an individual, relatively easily. If your fruit is going soft, chop it up, stew it with some cinnamon, ginger and honey and put it in the freezer. Then use it to sweeten natural yogurt or porridge. Over ripe bananas or mangos can be frozen and added to smoothies. Vegetables can be roasted or whizzed up into a soup and then frozen, and leafy greens and herbs can be frozen then added to smoothies, soups or stews.
4. Gratitude is the attitude
Recently, mindfulness and meditation has been getting the recognition it deserves as being a hugely effective tool, used by high achievers and successful people.
Oprah Winfrey advocates mindfulness and meditation as a brilliant way to prepare for the day ahead. She recommends 20 minutes of breathing exercises, meditation, and contemplation in the morning. Arianna Huffington, Editor in Chief of Huffington Post Media Group, promotes disconnecting from social media and technology first thing in the morning. Instead of looking at her phone as soon as she wakes up, she breathes deeply, sets her intentions for the day and practices gratitude. It doesn’t cost anything and can be done anywhere. Just a few minutes in the morning can set you on the right track for the day.
5. Become Gut Savvy
This might not be the most glamorous topic but gut health is a key focus for health researchers in 2017. The gastrointestinal system is steadily becoming recognised as being linked to a multitude of health issues; digestion, immunity, mood, stress, obesity and cancer have all been associated with gut health. Research in this area is relatively new, so this a really interesting area to keep an eye on. Start getting savvy about foods that can help with gut health such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir and apple cider vinegar.
6. Supplement Sunshine
In July 2016 the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition published a review of vitamin D and found the recommended intake needed to be doubled from 5 to 10 µg/day. The body can make vitamin D itself, but in order to do so it requires sunshine, which means most adults in the UK are not getting nearly enough!
The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are often vague and nonspecific, such as tiredness, increased propensity for falling ill with coughs and colds, or general aches and pains. Deficiency is also linked to depression. Generally, however, it is completely asymptomatic.
Unlike vitamin D2 which you can get from certain foods (fish, eggs, cereals, fortified foods i.e. milk), vitamin D3 needs to be supplemented if you live in a country where there is limited sun exposure.
7. Get personal
One size does not fit all. Our understanding of the human body has rapidly evolved over the last 50 years and we are now able to decipher how our genetic makeup affects our individual nutritional needs. To get on top of your health, you first need to get to the bottom of it and understanding what your body needs is the fastest route to optimal wellbeing.
The VITL app (http://bit.ly/2lkTh6Z) will assess your health across five key areas so you can see what’s working for you and what you could do differently. As a SourcedBox reader, you can also get 50% off a bespoke nutrition pack made up of supplements which have been specifically formulated for you.
Download the VITL app (http://bit.ly/2lkTh6Z) now to start your personal nutrition journey!