The way you feel, right now, is partially due to the type of food, and your level hydration. Did you know that poor nutritional balance and dehydration are the leading causes of immune system compromise, and feelings of low mood and fatigue? When it comes to aiming for improved wellness? Never quit. But here are five bad habits you can quit, to look better, recover energy and feel great.
Reduce Your Intake of Sugar
You don’t have to have Diabetes to experience some significant negative health consequences, as a result of a diet that is high in sugar. Don’t be fooled by labeling, because while sugar appears naturally in fresh fruits, some types of vegetables and honey, it hides in many foods that are labeled “light” or “healthy choice”, under the name glucose or fructose.
The first well-known impact of a high-glucose diet is of course, weight gain. Glucose is rapidly absorbed into the body, giving us that “sugar rush” we’ve all experienced, after having a dessert. Your body enjoys using sugar as a fuel source, because it is so easy to process and absorb. Too easy in fact, which is why excessive amounts of sugar are stored in body fat. From “too much” energy to the feeling of fatigue and exhaustion, after a “carbohydrate crash,” sugar presents other health risks, beyond impacting our mood and energy levels. A reduced glucose diet has also been linked to lowering the rates of cancer and heart disease in recent studies, according to the Harvard Medical School.
Avoiding Plain Water
Your Mom (or fitness trainer) have probably told you to drink more plain water. There are several reasons why water is critically important to both immunity, and our energy and mood, but we are challenged everyday with alternatives that are not as healthy. Drinks like soda, coffee, tea or other hot beverages, fruit juice, milk and energy drinks do provide some hydration, but additives (including caffeine) act as a diuretic, speeding up the rate that your body dehydrates.
Chronic dehydration impacts all vital organs, placing them under increased strain. Kidney stones, problems with bad cholesterol, liver impairment, join pain and muscle degeneration are all linked to long-term dehydration. It’s important to remember that by the time your body registers thirst, you are already dehydrated. Quit the high-sodium, caffeinated drinks and invest in a few stylish reusable bottles you love, and sip frequently throughout the day to top your fluid levels (and improve mood and energy).
Eating smaller meals throughout the day sustains the body, and provides a constant fuel source, helping people avoid the peaks and troughs of blood sugar spikes. But if you tend to have busy days and ‘forget to eat’ the time to make up for the nutritional gap is not after 8:00 at night.
In the last decade, doctors and dieticians have revealed that when you eat, is just as important as what you eat (and how much you consume). For women, eating a high-glucose snack before bed increases the chance of gaining weight, and developing other chronic health conditions. For men, recent studies show that a small 150 calorie protein shake before bed, may improve muscle mass and development over time.
Nix the late night “snack attack” for unhealthy foods like chips, or sugary sweets, and opt for a glass of almond milk, water or Greek yoghurt instead.
We’ve heard enough information about the dangers of cigarette smoking and chewing tobacco to know it’s never a good idea to make it a habit. Clinical studies show that smoking increases hypertension, and cardiac risks, and cigarettes and tobacco products contain multiple known carcinogens, that place smokers at an increased risk of contracting oral, lung, thyroid, and lymphatic cancers.
There are many smoking cessation products available today, to help smokers kick the habit for good. Talk to your doctor about starting a smoking cessation plan.
Stop Worrying About Your Health
This may be hard to quit, particularly if you are recovering from, or coping with a chronic health condition. But while it is good to be diligent about your choices, you could be worrying yourself into other health complications, due to stress.
Stay informed. Explore mobile health apps for your phone, that can help you stay on track with daily nutrition, supplements and exercise. Communicate your health goals to your general practitioner and care team; they have resources and advice that will help. Create an action plan and remind yourself that every small healthy choice is a victory, on the road to personal wellness.