Wanting to get fit, in shape and healthy for the summer months? We’ve put together an A-Z guide on healthy living….
A – Activity
Sitting eight hours at a desk without breaks means you’re losing out on physical activity that can help you burn calories. “Take the stairs, get off the tube a stop earlier and walk to work, walk around the block in your lunch break – do whatever you can to get your body moving,” advises Michael Ratcliffe, Podiatrist at Carnation Footcare.
B – Breakfast
“If you miss breakfast your body immediately registers famine and hangs on tight to your ample stores of fat,” explains Leading UK Nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville ( www.marilynglenville.com ). Choose healthy breakfast options such as eggs on wholemeal bread with avocado or rolled oats with fresh berries.
C – Cut white carbs
“Swap to whole grain alternatives that release energy slowly. The carbohydrates in whole meal bread are broken down slowly over several hours and so do not give any sudden flooding of sugars into the bloodstream. Also, this gradual release helps you to feel full for longer, suppressing your appetite and stopping you craving sweet foods,” explains Dr Glenville.
D – Diabetes
According to the Diabetes and Wellness Foundation, there are currently 3.8 million people with diabetes in the UK. Dr Wendy Denning, working in association with CuraLin Diabetic Supplement ( www.curalife.co ) suggests to avoid pre-packaged foods, cut-out or limit your sugar intake, make healthy diet and changes and increase your levels of physical activity.
E – Energy levels
“Try to keep your blood sugar levels and energy levels stable by eating regularly. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a healthy snack mid-morning and one mid-afternoon, with no longer than three hours between,” suggests Dr Glenville.
F – Fitness
“Regular exercise is essential, it releases feel good hormones, lowers stress hormones and encourages a good nights’ sleep. Do energy forming exercises such as running or aerobics in the morning and focus on milder activities later in the evening like a walk or yoga,” suggests Dr Glenville.
G – Gut health
“We’re learning more about the importance of the ‘friendly’ bacteria and other microbes that live in our gut. They’re thought to influence our immunity, mood and weight, as well as our digestion. Traditional fermented foods such as Kombucha can be a key way to maintain the healthy bacteria in our gut. I recommend Equinox Kombucha, which comes in four different flavours. (£1.80 at Waitrose),” explains Nutritionist Cassandra Barns.
H – Harmonise with hemp
“Phytocannabinoids are natural substances found in the hemp plant, most of which are non-psychoactive . Research has suggested that some phytocannabinoids can have benefits for our health including anti-anxiety, calming effects. For this reason, a supplement containing natural phytocannabinoids such as the brand new Natures Plus HempCeutix Complete Capsules (£39.95, www.naturesplus.co.uk ) could have benefits for calming our nervous system and helping prevent burnout,” explains Cassandra.
I – Immunity
“Echinacea is most commonly used as a herbal immunostimulant. You can get Echinacea root and make a herbal tea or a herbal tincture to prevent flu symptoms and the common cold. It appears to increase red blood cell count and reduce the length of illness,” explains Francesca Cappozzo, Nutritionist at Maitre of Thyme ( www.maitreofthyme.com ).
J – Junk food
“Junk food and pre-packaged, processed foods usually have no nutritional value. Remember to consume a varied and colourful diet and choose foods rich in fibres such as sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, roots, legumes and pulses. These foods can satisfy a sweet tooth and prevent the scales shifting,” suggests Martina Della Vedova, Nutritionist at Natures Plus ( www.naturesplus.co.uk ).
K – Keep hydrated
It’s recommended to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day. “Don’t wait until you get thirsty to drink. You can do that by monitoring your fluid loss during hot weather, illness or exercise, and drinking enough liquids to replace what you lose,” advises Dr Glenville.
“Having a laugh is one of the best remedies for stress. Many studies show that laughter boosts our energy, decreases stress hormones, improves immunity and diminishes pain. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals that make us happier and relaxed,” explains Dr Glenville.
M – Meal plan
Say goodbye to those pre-packaged supermarket lunches. “Meal prepping on a Sunday can ensure you have healthy, nutritious lunches available to take with you to work. By already knowing what you’re going to eat for lunch it eliminates the factor of spontaneity, which can lead to the temptation of buying take-away or processed and packaged foods,” explains Cassandra.
N – Nibble on nuts
Snacking is important to help ward of those mid-afternoon sugar craving. “The best foods to snack on, especially if you have a desk bound job, are unsalted nuts, berries with a pot of Greek yoghurt and lightly salted popcorn,” suggests Francesca.
O – Oily fish
“Essential fatty acids, which are found in oily fish such as Salmon, are important for your health in general, but they also slow down the rate at which the stomach empties, making carbohydrates even more slow-releasing. They can make you feel fuller for longer and also control hunger,” explains Dr Glenville.
P – Pilates
Young, old and all fitness levels can do Pilates. “The wider benefits of Pilates range from an increase in strength and flexibility, better postural awareness, a reduction of pain and an increased function to better sleep. Pilates has also been associated with improving mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, fatigue and fibromyalgia and reducing stress,” explains Eleonora Sansoni, Pilates Instructor at Maître of Thyme.
View the products mentioned in this article on our US website: