Your health is something that don’t really notice until it goes away. When you have a cold, the flu, or something worse, it can leave you wondering where it all went wrong. While some people might just seem very lucky and never get ill, other people might feel that they fall ill frequently and succumb to every bug that is making the rounds in their office. If you fall in the second camp, you might be wondering what you can do to boost your health and be the healthiest you’ve ever been in 2018. There isn’t a simple fix to boost your health, but with a few small lifestyle changes, you should be well on your way to being the healthiest you’ve ever been.
Look at your diet
A lot of people are in the dark about what they are actually eating and will often just sleepwalk through the day. Keeping a food journal can help you to identify where you are going wrong with your diet. Too many fatty, sugary, fried or processed foods can put a lot of strain on your body as they are more difficult to process. They are also very often nutrient poor, so your body might be screaming out for key nutrients that it simply isn’t getting. If you spend a week documenting every morsel of food that passes your lips, you will soon start to notice your weaknesses and be able to make small positive changes.
Make positive diet changes
When overhauling your diet, you should worry less about counting calories and more filling your plate with nutritionally rich whole foods. Half of every plate should be filled with fresh fruit or vegetables. After this, all a whole grain carb such as pasta, rice or quinoa. Finally, add a lean protein such as chicken, tofu, beans or oily fish. As a general rule, everything you eat should be in its original form, so steer away from things like breaded chicken or processed meats other than for an occasional treat. Focussing on the nutritional content of your food rather than counting calories is better than following highly restrictive fad diets as you are far more likely to stick to it.
Have an allergy test
A lot of people go through life not realising they are allergic to everyday things like eggs, milk or soya. A comprehensive allergy test will allow you to identify which foods you should avoid and might help to clear up intestinal problems or skin problems. A lot of times, the things you are allergic to are in a lot of foods, so it might take a while to get used to checking the label before you eat things.
Check your fat levels
Some people might be well within the normal BMI limits for their age, height and weight, but still carry dangerous levels of fat. Fat around your organs is the worst kind of fat and can be far more dangerous than a slight bulge on your hips or thighs. It’s something known as “skinny fat” and often happens in people who are visibly thin who are mostly sedentary and who eat a poor diet. Using a specialist scale, you can get an idea of the percentage of fat in your body compared to lean muscle, bone and water. On average, men should have between 18-24% fat and women should have between 25-31% fat, but this will change depending on your fitness levels.
Challenge your fitness
If you regularly work out, you might find that you have slipped into a routine and no longer challenge yourself. The best way to remedy this is to set goals. If you are sedentary, sign up for a 5km race to get yourself moving. If you have a higher level of fitness, when a longer distance or a multi-discipline race such as a triathlon will give you a motivational push. Whatever you do, just make sure you are always pushing yourself forward.
Focus on your mental health
You are unlikely to be healthy if you aren’t taking care of your mental health. Your mental health can wreak havoc on your overall health, leading to weight gain as a result of increased cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone which affects everything from your blood glucose levels to healing. If you have persistently high levels of cortisol in your blood, you might find you are excessively tired, more prone to acne and experience sudden weight gain with no change to your diet. Thankfully, it is easily treated through things like light exercise or mindfulness meditation. Get outdoors for a run two or three times per week and then try meditation once a day to keep this hormone in check.
Take care of your teeth
A lot of people focus on the rest of their body but then neglect their mouth, and this is a huge mistake. Problems with your teeth and jaws can lead to other health problems, including gastrointestinal problems and heart problems. The plaque that builds up on your teeth is the same plaque that clogs your arteries, and there are links between oral health and heart health, so it’s important that you visit the dentist and dental hygienist regularly. If you have problems with your jaw alignment, you might be a good candidate for braces. A lot of people think that braces are for straightening teeth, but they can also be used to correct your jaw which will have a positive impact on your whole body. If you are self conscious, then lingual braces are far more discreet and no one will ever need know you’re wearing them.
In conclusion, in order to get healthy, you have to see your body as a whole and can’t just focus on one aspect such as the number on the scales or how much weight you can lift. Health won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen without serious commitment from you. However, once you start to transform your health, you will find it easier and easier as the benefits will be clear for anyone to see.