Prioritising our physical well-being in turn promotes our emotional well-being. To achieve this we need to balance;
to make the difference to our health and happiness.
A healthy diet supports our physical and mental health, as it also nurtures and stimulates our gut bacteria (microbiome) which sends 'feel good' prompts through to the brain.
To achieve a healthy microbiome we are advised to eat thirty different types of plants a week i.e. fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. We are advised to build this up slowly to avoid possible side effects of bloating or stomach ache.
To also support your microbiome You can introduce fermented foods i.e. Kefir, Kimchi, Sauerkraut into your diet and if you are not dairy intolerant eat yogurt etc; as the healthy bacteria supports the microbiome.
Pay attention to our sugar relationship, No one is addicted to chocolate but you can be addicted to the sugar within chocolate. As humans we instinctively crave sugar, this is biological as we convert sugar and store it as energy, as fat, this is what allows us to get through winters, depending on where we live in the world.
However in today's world sugar is hidden within foods, and you'd be surprised to find sugar within ham or chicken breast when you read the nutritional information on the back of its packet. Avoiding ultra processed foods eliminates many hidden sugars. One of the worst foods/drinks for sugar is fruit juices, as one glass of juice can hold the sugar without fibre of six oranges, which occasionally would be okay, but not every day or even more frequently.
Observing eating windows is acknowledged now as I.F. Intermittent Fasting, this is good for a healthy diet and a healthy microbiome, as it allows the body time to process the food overnight, giving our body chance to operate to its full potential. Advised eating windows are 12, 10 or 8 hours, allowing I.F. of 12, 14 or 16 hours. Food includes milk or sugar in your tea or coffee in the morning and your packet of crisps or biscuit at supper.
I.F. is still in its early stages of research, but early data is reported to help weight loss, improve blood-sugar control and a healthier immune-system function.
Eating whole foods that resemble their natural form, rather than U.P.F. (Ultra Processed Foods) have the power to suppress our appetite successfully, whereas U.P.F. often lead us to crave more food due to the added salt, sugar and fats.
Two healthy eating plans that are known for their abundance of fibre, vitamins and minerals are the Mediterranean or D.A.S.H. (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) which support blood pressure maintenance and are also loaded with flavonoids, antioxidants and polyphenols that promote the bodies health and well-being.
We as human beings are born to move, to be active and the sedentary lifestyle offers risks to our health and well-being in the forms of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and depression.
By being active it , boosts our mental and physical well-being plus our self-esteem and cognitive function. Moving our muscles produces endorphins and dopamine (AKA Happy Chemical) that helps the brain deal with stress and anxiety.
How much exercise is advised to support our health and well-being?
30 minutes of moderate - intensity three days a week i.e. a brisk walk, this is a magic pill for easing anxiety and depression.
The B.H.F. (British Heart Foundation) advise walking 10,000 steps per day i.e. N.E.A.T. (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis)
Or the new advice is 5,000 steps per day E.A.T. (Exercise Activity Thermogenesis)
All forms of exercise/activity are good for our physical and mental well-being. Yoga encourages deep breathing and meditation which enhances the oxygen flow to the bodies organs and supports the relieve of stress. As well as burning fats and sculpting muscles.
When exercising always warm up you body appropriately, never over stretch yourself, listen to your bodies so not to sustain injuries, reducing your opportunities to support your health and well-being.
Life is often chaotic and changeable and achieving the advised eight hours of sleep each night can be challenging, even when making the effort to get to bed early, but we all know sleep allows our bodies and brains time to cleanse and repair, however sleep deprivation can change our hormones that regulate hunger and appetite, and cause significant health risks in the forms of stroke, heart attack, obesity and weaker bones. a good nights sleep supports our mental health and enhances our concentration and boosts emotional resilience.
To support a good sleep habit try to stick to similar timings to sleep and wake daily, creating your bodies own natural rhythm, Avoid electronic gadgets an hour before bedtime and lights out 30 minutes before bed, if you like to read, read in your chair and not your bed, your bed is for sleep. Keep your room cool and quiet and your bed cosy for the perfect nights sleep.
Taking time to relax supports our overall well-being, there are many techniques; massages, meditation, deep breathing, mindfulness all of which support our physical and mental health.
Relaxing allows us to increase our energy and focus not just mentally and physically unwinding, it allows you to be happier healthier you.
To relax you may meditate every morning or go for a run, take the dogs for a walk, have a day at the spa, spend time with friends or family, or go to the gym, whatever is your favoured way to relax find time, as it is the icing on the cake when it comes to your health and well-being and with balancing your nutrition, exercise and sleep, you can achieve and promote your physical and emotional well-being.