A nutritionist’s guide to a fitter and healthier you

It may be tempting to stop taking good care of yourself during these difficult and worrying times.

Yet, a cleaner and more balanced lifestyle will undoubtedly make you feel better – and the positive changes you make now could keep you feeling great in the coming months.

Yvonne Wake, public health nutritionist for Karidis Clinic, has highlighted the ways that you can put a spring back into your step with a fresh start for your body.

Pictures: Super simple ways to make your lockdown meals healthier

Prioritise fruit and vegetables

With the continuing growth of veganism, it’s easier than ever to find really inspiring plant-based recipes. We’ve come a long way from the days when vegetables were a side dish for meat and potatoes. Variety is key so make sure you use as many different colours of vegetables and fruit as you can.

Keep dairy products to a minimum

It used to be that dairy products like milk were difficult to avoid – but now there are more alternative options than ever. Not only will cutting out dairy mean reducing your saturated fat intake, helping you to stay a healthy weight, but it will keep your body’s acid-alkaline balance in check to maintain body function.

Avoid junk foods and processed foods

This might seem like it limits your options – but one of the most positive changes you can make is to swap the takeaways for easy homemade recipes that taste just as good.

Go for wholegrain over white flour

When you’re cutting out calories, it’s important to make sure that those you are eating are full of nutrients. Wholegrain or wholemeal flour is rich in vitamins like B1, B3, and B5, and also has more iron, calcium, and protein than white flour. Swapping out one for the other won’t impact the taste of what you’re eating but it will leave you feeling better.

Cut out refined sugars

The bad news is cakes, biscuits, pastries, and sweets are out of the equation – but the good news is you won’t believe how much better you will feel for leaving them behind! Cutting down will bring huge benefits. Refined sugars are not only linked to conditions like obesity and diabetes but also to depression.

Eat oily fish to get your omegas

A couple of portions of oily fish per week can make a real difference to your overall wellbeing. They are a source of essential omega-3s like EPA and DHA which form a crucial part of human cell membranes and can keep you functioning at your best. Sardines are the best, as they contain high amounts of B-12, which helps your cardiovascular function and keeps energy levels up, and vitamin D, which strengthens bones.

Don’t drink to excess (or at all if possible)

It’s easy to overlook the effect of a little midweek glass of wine, but even cutting back on those will make a real difference – as will ensuring that you drink two litres of water every day. The impact of excessive drinking goes much further than a bad hangover. You’ll feel worse for days and often end up in a cycle of eating unhealthy food – and that’s not to mention the damaging impact of alcohol on your liver and overall health.

Sleep for at least 7.5 hours every night

The benefits of good night’s sleep go far beyond being able to stay awake at your desk. Quality sleep keeps blood pressure down and decreases your chances of developing serious conditions later in life. You’ll be amazed at how much more energetic and focused it leaves you feeling!

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