Five Spring Health Hacks from a Naturopath
WORDS: Stephanie Hinton, Naturopath at Vitable PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied
If your health goals for 2021 have taken a back seat as you have navigated surviving the challenges of juggling work, school, restaurant, gym all in one at home during lockdown, take heart! You still have time to lift your wellbeing game to finish the year on a healthy note.
We speak to Naturopath Stephanie Hinton from Australia’s leading personalised vitamin subscription service, Vitable for her tips on how reach peak wellbeing as you ring in the New Year:
1.Improve your diet
When times are tough, many of us turn to comfort food. Let’s face it. Covid kilos have crept up to the best of us. Now that the warmer weather is here, it’s the perfect time to give your eating plan an overhaul. Here’s a few handy tips:
- Choose high quality organic protein – chicken, meat, turkey and omega-rich fish or vegan walnuts, flaxseed or chia
- Non-starchy vegetables which are low in carbohydrates, e.g., asparagus, leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli. Ditch the starchy vegetables as well as potatoes and corn.
- Healthy fats such as pure coconut, avocado or extra virgin olive oil
- Healthy berries, pomegranates, all rich in antioxidants
- Keep hydrated with water, green or red tea. Reduce consumption of alcohol
- To help reduce sugar cravings, opt for protein-rich snacks and meals that will help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and keep you satiated. Blood sugar fluctuations may lead to overeating of high-sugar foods and simple carbohydrates, which may cause fatigue and weight gain.
2. Support your mood
Prolonged stress can have detrimental effects on your overall health including disruption to the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol levels, increased inflammation, and oxidative stress with detrimental effects in the long term. Make sure you find joy and perspective each day even when you face multiple challenges. Research has shown that Ashwagandha may help support sleep, hormonal balance and help the body adapt to stress.
3. Conquer your sleep issues
Around four in every ten Australians suffer from sleep issues with disruption of the circadian rhythm which is responsible for a balanced sleep cycle as well as hormones that power our bodies.
Importantly, sleep is an active process of autophagy where we dispose of toxins or waste products, rejuvenating, restoring and regenerating from our brain – to work more efficiently.
Improve your sleep hygiene by ensuring you go to bed at the same time every night, keep your room temperature cool and block out any outside light.
Get rid of devices at least an hour before bed as the blue light emitted by screens may restrain the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle. In addition, screens have been shown to emit electromagnetic fields that can disrupt sleep patterns. Use this time to wind down instead, by reading a book, or relaxing in a bath (add some essential oils such as lavender or magnesium). Magnesium can be a strong ally when it comes to helping you get a refreshing night’s sleep and instil positive sleep patterns.
4. Keep your immune defence healthy
Immunity is all about ecology, compromising of colonies of bacteria and more in a complex ecosystem which interacts with our immune system, and a big proportion of our immune system lies in our digestive tract.
Support your immune system by eating a healthy, whole food diet free from pesticides, and aim to spend at least twenty minutes every day in the sunshine to help you reach adequate vitamin D levels. Research shows that vitamin D, along with Vitamin C and Zinc play a role in supporting your immunity.
5. Improve your fitness
Research shows that you’re more likely to stick to a workout if you have a ‘workout buddy’, so you might want to consider combining socialising with exercising for a smart start to the day. If you are dialling back up on exercise after a break during lockdown, you may feel aches of the muscles, ensuring you have an adequate level of magnesium may help reduce muscle tension and cramps and support body recovery.
For more information on how to spring clean your vitamin and supplement intake, visit Vitable to take their bespoke quiz and receive your personalised recommendation delivered monthly to your doorstep.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Supplements may only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate. If you have any pre-existing conditions or are on any medications always talk to your health professional before use.