Want a healthier 2019? Well, you are not alone. Lots of people use the New Year as a fresh start and wish to focus on getting healthier. But it can be a bit overwhelming, and some find it difficult to find out where to start. Others go all in from day one, but end up quitting because it is too big a change all in one.
But don’t despair! It doesn’t have to be that difficult. We have 9 tips on how to make your New Year a little healthier – and no, you don’t have to try them all at once… Every single step counts, and Rome was not build in one day. Happy New Year!
Drink water and remember your veggies!
If you want your New Year to be a bit healthier, drinking water is a very good place to start. Your body needs water for optimal function. Water will keep you hydrated without adding unnecessary calories, and if you swap alcohol, juice and fizzy drinks with water, it will help you maintain a healthy weight.
2. Healthy eating
Fruit and vegetables contain lots of the vitamins and minerals that we need to keep our body healthy. Furthermore, they have relatively few calories, but lots of dietary fibre. This means that when you eat fruit and especially lots of vegetables, it will get easier for you to obtain or maintain a healthy weight. And it will also help you prevent type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.
Cut down on sugar and your portions
Sugar provides a lot of calories, but with no added nutrients – this is why sugars are often referred to as ‘empty calories’. One of the concerns, therefore, is that an increased intake of sugar, for example from sugar-sweetened beverages, will increase the overall energy intake and may reduce the intake of more healthy and nutritious foods. This can lead to malnutrition, overweight and obesity and increased risk of various diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Free sugars are primarily found in sugar-sweetened beverages and in processed foods, candy, cakes, etc. But they can be found in A LOT of different foods, so always have a look at the nutrition label when you go grocery shopping. Even foods disguised as ‘health foods’ can be loaded with added sugars.
4. Portions control
Do you tend to eat very large portions? And more than one portion at a time? Well, maybe this could be a good place to start your change then.Try settling for one portion at every meal. Use smaller plates, as this will help you trick your brain into thinking that you eat more than you actually do. Enjoy your food, and focus on your food while eating. Turn off the television when you eat, and don’t eat in front of your computer.
Do something good for your mind..
5. Get moving
Active individuals have lower rates of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, depression and some cancer types. An active lifestyle will help you obtain or maintain a healthy weight and a healthier body mass and composition. WHO recommends that adults aged 18–64 years should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity a week.
6. Sleep well
Sleep plays an important role in your health and wellbeing. Getting enough sleep has a lot of benefits, like protecting your physical and mental health. Also, the body’s self-repair takes place when you are asleep. Memory consolidation and appetite regulation also occur during this time. It is recommended to get 7–9 hours of sleep every night. And remember that the hours from 22.00–02.00 are important.
..And be kind to your body
7. Quit smoking
Well, we guess you already know it is very bad for your health to smoke. But did you know that there are immediate and long-term health benefits of quitting for all smokers? Within 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. After 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. After 2–12 weeks, your circulation improves and your lung function increases. Within 1–9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease. After 1 year, your risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker. And the list goes on… So what are you waiting for?
8. Whole grains are good for you
Whole grains contain lots of important nutrients, like dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, whole grains help you feel full, which will help you eat fewer calories, and thereby make it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Whole grains will also help your digestion and they help prevent type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.
9. Reduce your intake of salt
A lot of people believe that a meal needs a lot of salt to be full of flavour. But too much salt can be harmful to your health and can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney stones and stomach cancer – so it is a good idea to cut back on the salt.
Today, most people consume about 9–12 grams of salt every day. This is twice the recommended amount of maximum 5–6 grams. To cut down on your salt intake, cut down on ready meals, processed meats, cheese, bread and cereals. You can also try adding fresh basil, chilli, lime, garlic, mint, etc. to your favourite meals the next time.
Did you know
- That more than 50% of the adult population make New Year Resolutions?
But only about 10% keep their resolutions all through the year.
- That eating a large meal before bedtime can lead to poor sleep quality?
The same is the case with caffeine. Instead, try a small banana and a cup of camomile tea.
- That exercise will give you more energy – even when you are tired?