By age 40 most of us have had a health wakeup call. Whether it’s triggered by a personal health scare, the death or illness of someone close to you, or just starting to feel old, it’s the time when many people begin making major changes to their diet and lifestyle. This usually includes giving up smoking, cutting down on alcohol, eating better and exercising more.
Never too late
It’s no surprise that healthy habits in younger years bode well for later life, so it’s also the time when you might begin to regret some of the unhealthy things you did – or the healthy things you didn’t do – when you were younger. You might even wonder if it’s too late to reverse the negative effects of youthful excesses. Take heart! Research confirms that people who make positive changes after a so-called health wake-up call (or health scare) can feel better and enjoy better health than ever before.
Some of the most obvious ways to improve your physical and mental wellness include avoiding fried foods and refined sugar, increasing fruit and vegetables and exercising more. As a nutritionist, I begin by normalising blood sugar levels and correcting sleep disturbances through diet and supplements. Everything is easier after that!
A few (less obvious) ones
People often see a nutritionist because of a health wakeup call. My advice focuses on giving people the tools they need to adopt a healthier lifestyle and address all their health concerns, while avoiding diabetes, cancer and other degenerative diseases that sadly are so common these days. Here’s some of my favourite recommendations:
- Reduce or eliminate meat consumption. It’s a fact that vegetarians live longer and are generally healthier than meat-eaters.
- Reduce dairy. There are plenty of reasons. Experiment with healthier alternative options such as oat, soy, almond, or other nut milks.
- Avoid processed, packaged food. It’s as simple as that. Especially any product that calls itself low fat, sugar-free or ‘reduced’ anything.
- Eliminate sugar. The brown kind too. It has no nutritional value, wreaks havoc on blood sugar levels, depresses your immune system and is fattening.
- Have a smoothie for breakfast. It’s much better to start the day with 4 or 5 portions of fruit and vegetables than with gluten and dairy (see my favourite green smoothie recipe below)
- Drink in moderation – alcohol taxes your immune system and suppresses it (moderation means 1 glass of wine for women, 2 for men).
- Don’t scrimp on sleep. It’s when your body repairs, heals and produces chemicals that stimulate your immune system.
- Manage your stress levels. Stress is a powerful immune suppressant. We can’t always avoid it, but we can reduce it – yoga, meditation, tai chi, reading, listening to classical music are all powerful ways.
- Optimize your vitamin D. Vitamin D influences virtually every cell in your body and is one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters. Take a supplement.
- Get plenty of high quality animal-based omega-3 fats (oily fish, nuts and seeds) or take a supplement.Omega-3 deficiency is a common underlying factor for cancer and blood sugar imbalances.
- Improve your insulin and leptin receptor sensitivity. The best way to do this is by avoiding sugar and refined grains and restricting carbs to mostly fiber vegetables. Also make sure you exercise, especially with high-intensity interval training.
Perhaps you’ve heard these things before? Remember them – because doing these things will go a long way towards protecting your health and helping you enjoy excellent health at forty and way beyond.
The Foodwise Way
The proper diet and lifestyle can help you resolve health issues of all kinds and protect your long-term health. Get started now with the Foodwise Immune Boost Plan at: https://www.foodwise.life/program/immune-boost You’ll be glad you did!
GREEN GOODNESS SMOOTHIE
¼ inch fresh ginger (no need to remove the skin)
Half an apple (skin too – better if organic)
I cup fresh kale or baby spinach (a couple of blocks of frozen organic spinach work well too)
1 kiwi (peeled)
¼ avocado (peeled)
Blend all ingredients together until you achieve the desired consistency.