MailOnline spoke with nutrition, exercise and mental health experts to bring together the best tips you can apply right now to feel healthier.
Incorporating more plant-based ingredients into your diet is the advice of one of the world’s leading nutrition experts, Professor Tim Spector.
Nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, whole grains, herbs, spices, and even coffee should be included in addition to fruits and vegetables.
The co-founder of ZOE, which has been tracking Covid infections during the pandemic but is now focusing on personalized nutrition, told MailOnline: “If you’re going to do one thing for your gut health this week, make it eat 30 different plants. “
The recommendation comes from a study by the American Gut Project, with which he co-authored stool patterns and eating habits reported by thousands of people in the US, UK and Australia.
The results, published in the journal mSystems, showed that those who ate at least 30 different plants each week had a healthier microbiome than those who ate only 10 plants per week.
Professor Spector explained: “Having a diverse microbiome is associated with significant health outcomes, including better blood glucose control and reduced visceral fat.”
So he advocates: “To feel healthier, try adding more plants to your day.”
enjoy your food
Healthy eating conjures up images of unleavened salads and soups.
But enjoying what you eat is key to staying healthy, according to ZOE Chief Scientist Dr. Sarah Perry.
She told MailOnline: “For many of us, food is much more than just a way to get energy, it’s part of our culture and family life, it’s a big part of our social connection and is often deeply connected to our emotions. Food is meant to bring us together and help us connect with each other. mental health, like your favorite melt-in-your-mouth chocolate bar, or getting together with family and friends to celebrate a “Cake Birthday. For me, if food is too healthy to enjoy, it is not healthy at all.”
Eat only when you feel hungry
Emily Lemming, chief nutrition officer at ZOE, told MailOnline that skipping meals when you’re not hungry and not always cleaning your plate can be healthier.
“Learning to listen to our body’s hunger signals is one of the best ways to help our metabolism,” she said.
Many eat, she said, “because we have a habit of eating at certain times.”
“While this may work for some of us, it’s a good idea to practice before eating asking ourselves if we’re really hungry,” Lemming added.
This practice, known as intuitive eating and developed by American scientists in the 1990s, involves using feelings of hunger and fullness to decide when and how much to eat.
Research has linked this approach to lower body weight, positive body image, lower rates of eating disorders, and higher levels of well-being.
It is based on 10 principles, which include avoiding forbidden foods, controlling hunger levels, and coping with emotions without eating.
“By learning to listen to and follow our body’s hunger signals, we can find the perfect eating pattern that works for us as individuals every day,” Lemming added.
Take a break from social media
It is well known that spending too much time in front of screens is bad for mental or physical health.
Simply removing certain apps from your phone, or moving your phone out of range for part of the day, can help, says Dr. Jeff Lambert, assistant professor of health and psychology at the University of Bath.
Research shows the impact of social media on health.
Researchers at the Great Ormond Street Child Health Institute, part of University College London, surveyed nearly 12,000 young people aged 13 to 16 about their social media and mental health.
The results, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, show that those who checked sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram more than three times a day were more anxious. They also sleep and stretch a little.
A study by Dr. Lambert and his team found that taking a break from social media for just one week can improve mental health.
The results, published in the journal Cyberpsychology Behavior and Social Networking, showed that those who stopped using the apps for a week reported improvements in well-being, depression and anxiety compared to those who continued to use social media.
This can be done, for example, by deleting social media apps from your phone or by installing self-monitoring apps to track your social media usage.
You can also schedule specific social media windows during the week, or move your phone to an inaccessible location while you’re doing other things to eliminate temptation.
Walk another 10 minutes
Many may avoid exercise because they can’t sweat at the gym.
But even a 10-minute walk, which doesn’t require a gym membership, is enough to reap the benefits of exercise and improve mental health, Dr. Lambert says.
Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly are less likely to develop heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, depression, and dementia.
“However, many find it difficult to get enough activity to feel these positive benefits,” Dr. Lambert said.
He added: “Even something as simple as walking can make a difference.
Walking can also be easier for many people as it doesn’t require much effort or the purchase of sports equipment. In addition, according to health services, brisk walking – about 4.8 km per hour – increases endurance, burns calories and makes the heart healthier.
And if a 30-minute walk seems too long, try 10-15 minutes.
You can also install a pedometer on your phone to keep track of the number of steps you take every day.
Make only sustainable changes
Those who have resorted to high-intensity diets or intense training in the past are likely to be confronted with the fact that there is no quick fix for achieving long-term health.
So the best advice for staying healthy for years to come is to make changes you can stick to, says Professor Colin Greaves, who specializes in lifestyle change at the University of Birmingham.
He told MailOnline: “My only advice is about how to change your lifestyle, and not about what to do specifically – there is no one magic bullet. It all comes down to this: make changes you can live with. Look for all the small change ideas you can make. do to exercise Eat healthy or be more active.
Professor Graves suggests choosing six things that can be easily included in everyday life, that bring pleasure or are useful in some way, for example, to save money.
He explained, “Making big changes that are against the nature of your life is hard to stick with in the long run, and you will easily fall back into your old habits.”
10 minutes of strength training twice a week
Making time to strength train twice a week will build and improve strength to keep your muscles, bones and joints strong and healthy, says Dr. Ashley Gluchowski, Clinical Physiotherapist at the University of Manchester.
Strengthening muscles is also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer. Meanwhile, the lack of strength means that daily exercise becomes more difficult as the body ages.
Source: Daily Mail