Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean spending hours working out or eating salads three times a day. It’s the small tweaks that make the biggest difference.
Here are seven, practical and evidence-based tips, from registered Dietician Lize Van Der Merwe for a healthy lifestyle.
1.Eat a variety of food
Each individual food adds a unique profile of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fat to your diet. By diversifying your diet, you will ensure adequate intake of all the nutritional compounds necessary for health and well-being.
2. Make vegetables part of every meal
Make vegetables the star of every meal. Vegetables are a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Additionally, it improves gut health and supports the immune system which is vital for a healthy lifestyle. Read More: Four Key Nutrition Strategies
3. Eat seasonally and sustainably
Many significant nutrient losses occur between harvest and the time food lands on your plate. By eating locally produced, fresh food, you ensure minimum nutrient losses. Another factor to consider is the environmental impact of transporting fruit and vegetables thousands of kilometres. By choosing a local, seasonal product, you improve your health and reduce your carbon footprint.
4. Eat mindfully
Mindful eating means slowing down when you eat, involving your senses and enjoying each bite. By slowing down, you taste each bite of food, smell the wonderful aromas (think of the citrusy freshness when you cut an orange) and feel the textures in your mouth. Studies show that eating mindfully reduces overeating and contributes to weight loss. Challenge yourself by putting down your knife and fork after every bite and chewing each bite at least 20 times.
5. Include protein daily
Eating protein helps to repair and build new body tissue and is essential for growth in children. It also contains important minerals and trace elements. By adding a good source of protein to each meal, it increases the satiety rating of the meal. Combine complex carbohydrates (i.e. sweet potato or whole grain bread), good fat (i.e. avocado or peanut butter) and protein (i.e. fish, legumes or chicken), and you have a satisfying meal, which will sustain you for hours.
6. Go low on salt and refined carbohydrates
High salt intake (more than a teaspoon of salt a day) contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. To reduce salt intake, reduce the amount of processed food and ready-made meals you eat. Soy sauce, packets of soup, stock blocks and processed meats are high-sodium foods and keep in intake of these to the minimum.
Refined carbohydrates include sugar, sweets, cake, biscuits and sweetened beverages. Swop these for complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat, sweet potato and whole-grain products.
7. Move every day
Exercise has shown to reduce your chance of heart disease, diabetes and being overweight. The recommendation for adults is to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity in a week.
For children, age 5-17, at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity is recommended per week. More than that will provide additional health benefits and encourage them to lead a healthy lifestyle from a young age.
When it comes to exercise, consistency is key. Find an activity you enjoy or move in a way that makes you feel good. Group exercise or doing exercise with a friend can help with additional motivation and accountability.
Book a consultation with Lize Van Der Merwe, a registered Dietician and empower yourself with the knowledge to make the correct decisions for yourself and your family. Book your consultation with Ingress Healthcare on 064 940 5110.