6 Steps to achieve long term health at any age
As my regular readers know, I’ve set myself a challenge to go 30 days without coffee, to test whether this will improve my arthritis symptoms.
There’s a much greater appreciation in society now, that what we eat and drink can have a profound effect on our health and wellbeing. Many doctors are beginning to accept the links between food and general wellbeing, even though nutrition isn’t currently included in medical training courses!. Hopefully this will soon change thanks to the efforts of doctors like Dr Rangan Chatterjee.
Whilst life expectancy has improved dramatically due to advancements in medicine, these ‘extra’ years are not always ‘healthy years’. It’s a well documented fact that on average women live longer than men, but again these additional years are often plagued by long term and chronic illness.
Chronic illnesses include diseases such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, depression, coronary heart disease and dementia. It is therefore becoming much more important that as we age, we start adapting to a healthier lifestyle.
“Living an unhealthy lifestyle will rapidly increase the risk of developing a disease”
Macmillan Cancer Support
Scientific research has revealed that adapting to healthy eating practices at any age can have a significant impact on health – it’s never too late!
Changing to a healthy diet in middle age can help to control, counteract and even reverse the risk of developing chronic disease.
So, what do we need to do?
- Improve our diet – eat lots of vegetables, fruit and whole grains, together with moderate amounts of unsaturated fats, meat, sugar and try to avoid processed foods.
- Give up smoking
- Manage our body weight
- Keep active – a good range of different types of exercise such as aerobic, strengthening and stretching (always check with your doctor before commencing a new exercise regime).
- Improve sleep – it’s important to ensure sufficient sleep and rest to repair our bodies.
- Keep stimulating our brains – find new hobbies, tasks and projects to give our brain cells a workout.
How, can we do this?
I would recommend focusing on implementing one step at a time, so that you don’t become totally overwhelmed. Recognise that any change to our daily habits is going to be really hard to implement – particularly giving up coffee!!.
Set yourself a specific time frame, so that you have a goal date to aim for. As a general rule 30 days is a good time scale – it’s long enough to start training the brain and body to adapt to a new habit. But, if this still feels overwhelming then break the time scale down further.
Improving your sleep is often hard. It feels like we can’t really control how long we sleep for. However, if you start implementing the other steps first then often sleep begins to adjust naturally.
And remember, healthy eating isn’t about “dieting”. It’s about enjoying tasty, fresh, wholesome food with friends and family.
To help inspire you here’s …
This week’s meal plan
- Pork fillet with mushroom and tomato stacks and sweet potato wedges
- Cumin and garlic fish, fresh salad salsa and potato bake
- Thai chicken burgers and salad
- Satay pork and turmeric rice
- Chicken wrapped in prosciutto with salad and potato wedges
I hope you have a wonderful week. Don’t forget to sign up for the New Leaf free newsletter HERE