Take care of your teeth and gums
Your dentist isn’t just trying to make life difficult – brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing really does have health benefits. Getting rid of food and plaque from between your teeth helps prevent gum disease by removing sources of bacteria.
Reach your five a day
Aim to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each and every day. Reaching your recommended five a day is easier than it sounds. One portion of fruit or veg is 80g and a portion of pure fruit juice is 150ml – it soon adds up. Try including a handful of fresh fruit to your breakfast cereal or porridge; throwing some mushrooms and tomatoes into your omelette; or adding some salad crunch to your sandwich.
Drink a small glass of Tropicana in the morning
One 150ml glass of Tropicana 100 per cent orange juice counts as one of your five a day, provides 60 per cent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system, and it’s also a source of vitamin B9 and potassium.
The mental health charity Mind undertook several studies in “green exercise” and discovered that 90 per cent of people who undertook “eco-exercise” – such as gardening, walking outdoors, conservation work, running or cycling – reported improvements in wellbeing, stress-levels and physical health. Compare this to the 44 per cent who experienced reduced levels of self-esteem following walks through a shopping centre.
Embrace the whole grain
Choose high-fibre wholegrain varieties of foods: wholegrain foods contain more fibre than white or refined starchy food and often more of other nutrients.
Consume less alcohol
Regular drinking induces enzymes in your liver that metabolise alcohol. The more you drink, the more your tolerance builds and the more you need to drink to feel the same effects, which can be harmful to your long and short-term health. Taking regular breaks can “reset” your tolerance, so that it’s easier to cut back.
Watch your fluid intake
Aim to drink six to eight glasses of fluid every day, according to the Eatwell guide. Water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks including tea and coffee all count. Carry a water bottle around and keep it topped up to ensure you reach your recommended intake a day. You’re more likely to use it if you’ve invested in one specially, and it’ll be cheaper and more environmentally friendly than constantly buying plastic bottles from the supermarket.
Never shop hungry
Studies have shown that you’re more likely to buy unhealthy foods if you visit the supermarket hungry, because your body is craving a quick sugar-based fix.
Make your own meals
Research by The American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people who spend more than one hour a day on preparing food have a higher quality diet than those who don’t, eating more vegetables, salads and fruits. They also saved money, because the group that didn’t prepare food at home was more likely to frequent restaurants or fast-food outlets.
Cook in bulk
Make sure to make extra when you’re preparing meals. It’ll save you time and money to stick three or four portions in the freezer to take to work for lunch, or to have for dinner later in the week.
Eat two portions of (different) fish a week
Make one portion non-oily – such as haddock, plaice, coley, cod, canned tuna or skate – and one portion oily – salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines and pilchards. Fish is a source of protein and also vitamins and minerals, while oily fish contains omega-3 fats which help maintain normal blood cholesterol levels.