Your mom was right. Fill up on vegetables – they’re good for you! Vegetables are low in calories, but nutrient-rich and packed with fibre to aid healthy digestion. Veggies can be prepared in a million different ways and there’s a wide variety to suit all tastes. Veggies come with many benefits:
• Low in calories and fats
• Rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants
• Boost immunity and protect against disease
• Protection against certain types of cancer
• Reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes
• Promote healthy digestion and bowel function
• Shop for fresh, seasonal vegetables and try to include raw vegetables in your meals – especially the dark green leafy kind. Fill half your plate with vegetables and salads, and try to include a wide variety of red, yellow, orange and green veggies.
Fruit is nature’s fast-food – portable, quick, filling, and ready to go! Plus, fruit is good for your health. Like vegetables, fruits are full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants – and good sugars. The fructose in fruit is not the same as fructose-based sweeteners used in processed foods. The fibre and chewing resistance of fruit means they take a while to eat and digest, releasing the sugar gradually into your body without causing a “sugar rush”. The benefits of getting your daily dose of fruit:
• Fibre and water content, and chewing resistance, make you feel full and reduce your overall calorie intake.
• Lower risk of serious diseases like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
• Immune-boosting and protection against some types of cancer.
• Help to control weight and blood pressure.
• Pick whole, fresh, seasonal fruits, and avoid juices, dried fruit, processed and tinned products that can be loaded with preservatives, sodium and added sugar.
Your body is made up of 60% water and good health means replacing the water lost every day through perspiration, breathing and excretion. When you’re low on essential fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism. Listen to your body and grab a glass of liquid – preferably water – and reap the benefits:
• Maintain the balance of bodily fluids needed for efficient digestion, transportation of nutrients and maintenance of body temperature.
• Zero calories! Water and water-rich foods like fruit and vegetables also make you feel fuller.
• Energizes muscles for physical fitness and performance.
• Helps skin to keep looking good.
• Reduces risk of kidney stones and helps your kidneys to continuously flush out toxins.
• Supports healthy bowel function and prevents constipation.
A good night’s sleep is just what the doctor ordered. Your daily six to eight hours hold more than just the benefit of a cheery morning mood. Getting enough good-quality sleep benefits your heart, weight, mind and more:
• Healthier heart, improved blood pressure control and reduced stress levels.
• Lower risk of depression and anxiety.
• Positive impact on metabolism and weight loss.
• Keep your mind more alert and focused, improve memory and learning, and sharpen creativity.
• Improved athletic performance and less daytime fatigue.
• Waking up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day is not just about how long you sleep, but also how well. Ensure a quality sleep by getting some exercise every day, avoiding caffeine in the evenings, and sticking to a restful bedtime routine.
The positive impacts of exercise and regular physical activity are hard to ignore. Exercise lifts your mood, boosts energy levels – and may even help you live longer. Exercise should be fun – it’s about connecting with family and friends, unwinding after a long day, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the great outdoors. Why exercise?
• Burn calories – prevent weight gain, and encourage and maintain weight loss.
• Being active keeps the blood flowing smoothly and lowers the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
• Combat health problems like stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and arthritis.
• Feel better about your body – boost confidence and self-esteem.
• Reduce stress, improve your mood and lower risk of depression and anxiety.
• Heart and lungs work more efficiently, improving your strength and energy for daily chores.
• Physical activity improves sleep – helping you to fall asleep faster and enjoy quality sleep. What are you waiting for? Get your body moving for 30 minutes a day!