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Three basic ways to improve your health that have a big effect

Posted Mar 26 2012 1:01am

Feeling a little overwhelmed by all the things you ‘should’ be doing for good health? All the foods you ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t be eating? It seems that every day a new article will appear about a new aspect of health. You may feel like you could spend all day trying to do the right thing but never get there.

To help you regain some perspective, I’d like to share with you the three ‘big issues’ that I see pulling people back from having the best possible health they could. They may seem simple, but they have big effects.

The first of the trio is fibre. Most people believe they get ‘enough’. But when the computer adds up their average fibre intake on most days, it’s short. Most people eating a standard western diet (cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, meat and veg for dinner) take in only about 15g of fibre, often less. We all need at least 25g, ideally up to 35g of fibre every day. That means that most people are eating.

You may automatically reach for high fibre grains to fill the gap; but actually, most people eat enough grains; it’s a shortage of vegetables that leaves them short of fibre. Fibre rich food is usually nutrient-rich too, and helps keep your digestion healthy. It helps remove waste toxins from your body, and even affects your hormone levels.

The second big ‘missing link’ in the lives of most unwell people is lack of exercise. Before you recite the mantra “I’m too busy to exercise”, consider this: All of us can find time to do the things that are important to us. You know what you need to do. More exercise means more mobility, a better looking body, and less stress.

The third, and possibly most important aspect of good health is finding time for yourself. That’s because finding time for yourself reduces stress; and being stressed makes you sick. Stress appears in everyone’s life in one way or another: work pressures, family tensions, financial commitments. On top of this, there is a subtle expectation (created by modern technology) that you will be available 24/7 for others. As a result, some of us don’t switch off and health suffers from the unrelenting stress.

By taking ‘time out’ in some way, every day, you can reduce the flood of stress hormones circulating through your body. These stress hormones effectively dampen your immunity, switch off your digestion and get in the way of reproductive hormones working properly. For some people this is as simple as going for a morning surf or walk through nature (without your mobile phone); or a calming bath with candles. For others its meditation, or yoga. Whatever you choose, you can tell that it’s a healthy stress reducer if you feel less stressed after the activity.

How could you apply these today? This week? They'll make a major impact on your sense of wellbeing.


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