You have made it through 2016. Think back on last year’s resolutions. Did they include popular health resolutions like going to the gym, or eating less junk food? Did your motivation dwindle and real life demands took over? It is not your fault. With an eight percent success rate, New Year's resolutions are not exactly realistic terms to commit to. Many of us are guilty of setting resolutions that are out of reach.
Setting healthy targets is a key to success, but they must be realistic. Here are 12 healthy and achievable resolutions that you can stick with to improve your wellbeing.
Eat more Garlic
This is a weird one, but there is much truth behind. Garlic is rich in beneficial properties that address hypertension. However, Allicin, the compound present in garlic, is responsible for many of garlic’s health benefits but does not mix well in the human body when eaten raw. Add garlic to your cooking to increase your Manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Selenium and Fibre intake.
Load on the tea
Cardamom tea combined with ginger and cinnamon, both warming spices, make a lovely cup of tea that can improve blood circulation. Black tea also improves blood pressure in some instances most likely due to a concentration of flavonoid. Green tea is high in concentration of EGCG and its antioxidants can obstruct the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers, prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat and counteract oxidative stress on the brain (1).
Exercise and Save Money at the same time
Along with quitting or reducing smoking, making healthy lifestyle changes can in fact save you money. Walking to work or even parking further away and walking the rest of the way can be a small change with a big impact. Riding a bike to work can also put more money in your pocket and boost your health and wellbeing. Efficient food shopping can also streamline what you spend at the supermarkets. Making a list of what you have in the fridge can help you plan out meal preparations before you shop. Aimlessly shopping without a meal plan for the week can lead to spending too much money and poor choices when it comes to your diet.
Studies have found that those who skip breakfast and eat fewer times a day tend to be heavier than people who have a healthy breakfast and eat 4 or 5 times a day. Preparing your own breakfast is important. Eggs or a high protein smoothie can reduce your processed food intake. Breakfast is a critical meal because it influences practically every dimension of your body during the course of the day, including how we perform physically and mentally. Breakfast immediately raises the body’s energy level and restores the blood glucose level to normal after an overnight fast (2).
Studies (3) have shown that HIIT workouts take far less time to complete than slow and steady cardio workouts, leading to as much as twice the total fat loss. Even though the slow-and-steady cardio programs burn more total calories and fat during the actual workout, the HIIT programs led to greater total fat loss. So if you want to spend less time in the gym, and burn more fat, then a routine HIIT session 2 or 3 times a week can take as little as 15 to 20 minutes. Sign me up please!
Strengthen Mind and Body
Yoga, meditation, stretching, and mindfulness have been found to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Mind-body interventions should be used as a system of relaxation and exercise. Introducing this into your daily routine as part of your healthier lifestyle can significantly help to improve the wellbeing of your mind and body.
Fret less, Stress Less
Long working hours, little sleep, no exercise, poor diet, and not spending time with family and friends can contribute to heightened stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety is part of our everyday lives. It helps us prepare for danger. For example, the heart beats faster to pump blood to our muscles so we have the ability to run away or fight off danger. Therefore, we need anxiety to survive. Relieving stress and anxiety is important. However, the goal is to manage it, not get rid of it.
Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce stress and aggression, increase metabolism and facilitate weight loss. So, eat more oatmeal, almonds, avocados, oranges, berries, whole-grains, spinach, skim milk and yogurt to beat stress in a healthy way.
Have Ample Sleep (Yes, we have heard it a thousand times)
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety (4). A lack of sleep has also been linked to a greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, so making time to take a nap more often or going to bed earlier can be a healthy New Year’s resolution to choose.
Stop the Salt
Salt, or its chemical component sodium, is a main contributor to high blood pressure. Too much sodium disrupts the balance of fluid in the body. The higher volume of fluids results in the heart working harder to pump the blood and flush the body, increasing your blood pressure. Processed foods are our number one contributor to a high salt diet. Extraordinary and unnecessary volumes of salt are used in processed foods. Eating a lot of processed food can quickly increase your salt intake to an unhealthy number. Stay away from the microwave meals and try to cook your own meals.
Take Fish Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that are found in oily fish and some plant foods. This can help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. Omega-3 fish oil contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that are important in preventing and managing heart disease and improving wellbeing.
Mixing 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into a tall glass of water and drinking it once or twice daily can support your digestive system. Flushing out toxins can help manage a healthy weight and healthy gut. You can also add raw honey or a natural sweetener if you have a sweeter tooth. Although adding fruit like limes, lemons and apple cider vinegar to your water is acidic in nature, they have an alkalizing effect on the body, supporting your body’s natural detoxifying abilities.
Drink your water warm
Drinking water is essential to a healthy body and lifestyle. Many health and skin experts agree that drinking water is important to keeping your body free of toxins and giving you soft and youthful skin. However, regularly drinking warm water, especially in the morning can help heal our bodies, provide digestive power and reduce metabolic waste that can build up in our immune system (6). Drinking warm water first thing in the morning and last thing at night can improve digestion, sooth sore throats, help with stomach cramps, support weight loss, detox the body, relive constipation, improve blood circulation, induce sleep and many more. Free, natural and full of body benefits!
- Chacko, S. M., Thambi, P. T., Kuttan, R., & Nishigaki, I. (2010). Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review. Chinese Medicine, 5, 13.
- C Ruedeberg, U N Wiesmann, A Brattstroem, U E Honegger. Hypericum perforatum L. (St John's wort) extract Ze 117 inhibits dopamine re-uptake in rat striatal brain slices. An implication for use in smoking cessation treatment? Phytother Res. 2009 Jul 7. PMID: 19585471
- Buckley, AJ. et al. (2010). Adaptations to skeletal muscle with endurance exercise training in acutely fed versus overnight-fasted state. Journal of Science and Sports Medicine. Jul;13(4):465-9
- Patel, S. Patel, Patel, J M. & Sen, D J (2015) Say Yes to warm to remove harm; amazing wonders of two stages of water. European Journal of Pharmaceutical and medical research. 2015, 2(4), 444-460 ISSN 3294-3211