Make 2020 your healthiest year ever with these good-for-you goals – small changes that will deliver BIG results. It’s not just a new year, it’s a new decade – bring it on!
1.Disinfect your phone!
We check our phones a gazillion times a day and if you’ve taken yours into the loo you’re not alone! But that means phones carry about 18 times as much bacteria as most toilet seats. Indeed, British researchers found that one in six devices were contaminated with E. coli). Use cleaning wipes that don’t contain bleach which is safer for your phones and tablets and debug them of germs every week.
Regardless of your age or lifestyle, these basics are a must to maintain good health and help you feel good at all stages of life.
VITAMIN C – Its a vital support to our immune system and a protective antioxidant. A good daily dose is 500mg. Taking more than 1,000mg a day may cause stomach pain, diarrhoea or flatulence. You’re living in Spain so take advantage of its home-grown veg and citrus fruits and add more to your diet.
B COMPLEX- Essential for energy production in your body and to support r hormones. A good average dose is 25-50mg of each of the main Bs (1, 2, 3, 5, 6) and smaller amounts of B9 and B12 in one B-complex tablet. These nutrients are not stored in the body so you need to top up the supply every day.
OMEGA-6 EVENING PRIMROSE OIL (or starflower oil) slows signs of ageing, balances hormones and helps with PMS and menopause symptoms. Take 1,000mg daily, increasing to three times a day for hormonal imbalances.
OMEGA-3 FISH OIL (or linseed oil) can help reduce inflammation and maximise brain function. Take 1,000mg daily or twice a day if you suffer from dry skin or sore joints. Your body’s cells are dependent on Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) such as Omega-3 and -6; without them, they deteriorate more rapidly. If you’re getting enough, your skin will feel strong and supple.
VITAMIN D You need this to absorb calcium and phosphorus to keep bones and teeth healthy. Most of our body’s vitamin D comes from exposure to sunlight – another reason to be thankful you’re living in Spain!
Health podcasts are great for connecting with wellbeing issues and research says audio conversations help you retain information. When you listen, as opposed to watching a screen, your brain has to be more active to process the information. Podcasts are easy to fit into your day; when you’re cooking or travelling, for example. Here are three great ones to get you started.
Ted Talks Health – If you haven’t heard of TED talks, you’re missing out. These fascinating lectures cover all sorts of topics and are given by some of the smartest people around. The health ones are by researchers and doctors who excel in their fields, sharing compelling developments and advice.
Feel Better, Live More with Dr Ranjan Chatterjee – A presenter, author and GP with more than 16 years experience, Dr Chatterjee believes most of us don’t need a pill, but a lifestyle prescription. He says some of our ills, from menopausal symptoms to IBS, can be related to stress. With experts sharing insights, you’ll get brilliant advice. Plus, advice from this realist doctor won’t be pie in the sky.
Wellness with Liz Earle – Can you improve your hormonal health? Are walnuts the wellbeing wonder they are made out to be? If you find yourself trying to decide if something is a gem of wellbeing wisdom or a passing fad, Liz Earle MBE and her expert friends will set you straight.
4.Look after your mouth
Regular dental check ups and brushing twice a day is a must, but add in daily flossing and tongue cleaning too and you’re on the way to the gold standard in oral health. If you don’t clean your tongue, bacteria can build up on it quickly, leading to discolouration and risking bacteria spreading to your teeth and gums.Tongue cleaning also helps prevent bad breath.
5.Don’t fear fats!
Raw nuts, avocados and olive oil are all rich in good fats you should eat them regularly. Avocados are also a good source of Vitamins E and C, which are important for skin health. Vitamin C helps make collagen, the protein that keeps skin plump and elastic, while Vitamin E is an antioxidant which helps protect skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays.
6. Hop it!
Hopping for five minutes a day may protect women from broken hips, according to a new study. It could strengthen bones in the legs, making them more dense and less likely to break. Brittle bones, caused by a condition called osteoporosis which makes holes inside them, is a common issue for women post menopause. Scientists at Loughborough University tracked 35 women aged 55-70 over the course of six months and told them to do up to 50 one-legged hops on the same leg each day. At the end they found the density of their leg bones had increased in the hopping leg and decreased in the other.The team also did MRI scans of the women’s knees to check the exercise had not done any damage to the joints, which it hadn’t.
7. Spice up your life
Turmeric should really be known as trendy spice as everyone was talking about it last year. And not without reason. Its an incredible anti-inflammatory and can help ease rheumatoid pain. Ginger, like turmeric, is also anti inflammatory and a powerful remedy for upset stomachs and nausea
8. Eat superherbs for a brain boost
Add sage to your food or simply inhale its scent and you’ll get a brain boost. It’s been known to increase memory recall and retention so may be a superfood for the mind. Sage is high in Vitamin K – just two grammes provides 43% of your daily recommended intake. It can also help with cholesterol levels, treat symptoms of menopause and improve blood sugar levels. Fresh rosemary is another herb that can help as a cognitive booster, helping with focus and mental clarity. Its rich in vitamins A, B6, C, folate and thiamine. Phew!
9. Get a better night’s sleep
One in three of us don’t get enough shut eye. Overthinking and the glare of TV, phones and computer screens are all sleep wreckers. Lack of sleep impacts your mental and physical wellbeing. If this is you, try the 4-7-8 breathing method which can help calm before sleep. Breathe in for a steady count of 4 – hold for 7 – breathe out for 8.
10. Get your eyes tested
Our eyes are often called ‘windows to the soul’ but they are also a very effective window to our overall health. Many people first learn they have diabetes, high cholesterol and even cancer from a routine eye exam. So as well as evaluating whether you need glasses or a new prescription or have glaucoma, an annual eye check could be one of the best things you can do for your health. Researchers are even working on an eye test that can identify your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
11. Key into Kindfulness
You may have heard about Mindfulness but in 2020 it’s all about Kindfulness. According to Freud, we all have a part of the mind that is unnecessarily critical. It can make you beat up on yourself over anything – the career you have chosen, your relationship- or lack of, even the huge piece of chocolate cake you just guzzled. Kindfulness is about recognising where YOU come on your to do list. It’s not about treading on others to make sure your needs are met, but its OK to recognise what those needs are and love yourself, even if you’re not always perfect. Celebrate who you are instead of comparing yourself to others and make yourself the most important person in your life. To find out more, check out Kindfulness by Caroline Millington, available on Amazon Books.