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The World Health Organisations Guide To Getting & Staying Healthy (Hint: It Starts With Food)

Tag: healthy food

The World Health Organisations Guide To Getting & Staying Healthy (Hint: It Starts With Food)

Way back in December 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a punchy little article titled “20 Health Tips for 2020.”

Little did they know how badly we’d need it for this year, but, we digress.

The first four items of the list all had to do with—you guess it. Food. The first tip was about diet, the second was about salt and sugar, the third was about harmful fats, and the fourth was about consuming alcohol.

We’re going to condense the tips from that article into a simple 5-step guide to staying healthy during 2021 and beyond. And, just a head’s up, most of these steps are still about the food you put in your body. Because like it or lump it, diet plays a huge, huge role in health.

 

  1. Consume a Minimum of 500g of Fruits & Veg Every Day

Vegetarianism and veganism may not be for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can just cut this essential food group out. Fruits and vegetables are nature’s secret superfoods. They’re all packed with essential vitamins, nutrients, acids, and other good stuff.

They’re also fairly easy to prepare, so you don’t really have an excuse. We mean, come on; how hard is it to peel a banana? Slice an apple? Wash some lettuce?

WHO recommends a minimum of five portions/servings of fruit and veg, or roughly 400g a day. We’re bumping it up to 500g here because a little extra literally won’t hurt you.

Tip: Incorporating fruits and vegetables in all your meals and snacks will easily bring your quota to 500g a day. For instance; bananas or mandarins with your breakfast, a cup of cooked spinach or kale as a side dish to your lunch, and Brussels sprouts, romaine lettuce, or tomatoes to garnish your dinner.

 

  1. When All Else Fails, Practice a Balanced Diet

If it feels like you’ve tried hundreds of diets and “fad” diets—keto, pescatarian, vegetarian, intermittent fasting, OMAD, etc.—and none of them are really working for you, stop it. Step away from Instagram and take a couple of deep breaths to re-centre.

Food should not be a pain point for you.

When all else fails, just eat a balanced diet. This will require some accurate measuring first until you learn to eyeball it, but just match all your food groups 1:1. Have equal servings of meat, veggies, and complex carbs every day. Snack in-between meals if you must and allow yourself some dessert without feeling guilty (just make absolutely sure to watch the sugar content). Put everything in moderation, and your body will adjust in kind.

Tip: Find healthy dessert and snack options that you can munch on, guilt-free. There are tons. “Nice cream” or frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, protein bars and dark chocolate (at least 75%!) instead of candy bars, popcorn (lightly seasoned) instead of potato chips, and hummus and flatbread instead of chips n’ dip.

 

  1. Hydration is Key

There are literally zero downsides to drinking water. You can never drink “too much” water.

The average adult needs about 11.5 cups (about 2.7 litres) of fluid for women and 15.5 cups (about 3.7 litres) of fluid for men a day. But according to Water Logic Australia, the average Australian manages a mere 1.29L a day. That’s not even half of the recommended target! Small wonder 80% of adults suffer from chronic dehydration.

Staying hydrated is crucial for optimal health. Without enough water, we can’t regulate our body temperature. Our organs won’t function properly. Our internal systems can’t properly deliver nutrients to cells. We compromise our immune systems.

And a whole bunch of other unfortunate drawbacks.

Tip: Fill up one giant water bottle that has measurements clearly marked (1L, 1.5L, 2L, etc.) and keep it in your vision at all times. This will give you a clear visual goal, drastically improving your chances of continuously drinking just to finish the whole thing.

 

  1. Follow Safe Food Prep

Unsafe food incorrectly prepared can cause more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhea to harmful gut bacteria, salmonella to cancer. Raw meat, exposed fruits, heavily preserved vegetables, rotten eggs, and the like can contain harmful bacteria, parasites, chemical substances, and even viruses.

Definitely not something you want to have to subject your immune system to, especially now.

WHO recommends always checking food labels and use-by dates to check for potentially harmful compounds and ensure optimal freshness. Be wary of food items that have been exposed for too long (i.e., fresh meat in open-air markets) and items that are heavy with preservatives and extenders (canned meat and fast food meat, to name a few).

Tip: When preparing food, make sure you follow this five-step checklist (as per WHOs advice):

  •   Keep clean
  •   Separate raw from cooked
  •   Cook thoroughly
  •   Keep at safe temperature
  •   Use safe water only

 

  1. Stay Active

Finally, exercise. Stay active. Keep moving!

WHO defines physical activity as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure.” Note the last part: requires energy expenditure. If you’re not exerting effort, it doesn’t count.

Adults aged 18 to 64 should average at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity throughout the week if they want to stay healthy. Upping the number to 300 gives additional health benefits, such as improved circulation and heart health, lower blood pressure, improved sleep quality, reduced risk of many chronic diseases, and safe weight management.

Thankfully, physical activity and “staying active” isn’t limited to formal exercise per se. Activities done while working, playing, doing chores, travelling, or engaging in recreational pursuits can still count as physical activity, so long as there’s an exertion on your part. That means that an afternoon dip, an hour of hiking, or a morning spent catching waves totally counts.

Tip: Get your steps in! If you have no time for a class, you hate the gym with a passion, or you can’t find an exercise that keeps you hooked, just keep walking. 10,000 steps a day (or more) should be enough to get your heart pumping. As you get used to it, increase your goal!

 

As you can see, food definitely plays a huge part in dictating our health status. Aside from regular check-ups and good sleep hygiene, a balanced diet is perhaps the best way you can keep your health in check.

 

If you’d like to find out how Hearty Health can help keep you eat well and feel, or find out more about how you can get Hearty Health ready meals direct to you or at your facility, simply call 1300 728 764 or email hello@heartyhealth.com.au

5 Health Food Trends We’ll All Be Talking About In 2021

Food trends come and go, but health is forever—whether we realise it or not.

2020 has brought about a world-wide awakening, the likes of which are rarely witnessed. People are suddenly very, very aware of what they put into their bodies. Lack of physical activity and actual physical limitations have left us with little else to do but focus on what we’re eating, and boy, have there been some insights.

Given the current global health situation going on, are we really surprised, though?

Health is 2020’s theme. More and more people are coming to realize that, in the greater scheme of things, diet and lifestyle choices do matter.

(That was always the case, of course, but people are really feeling the pressure now.)

So let’s take a look at five health food trends experts are predicting for 2021.

 

#HealthyAlternatives

No one’s going to be giving up their burgers, chips, and sodas any time soon, but they’re certainly looking for more body-friendly options. Low-salt chips, for instance. Or sparkling citrus water instead of soda. Veggie burgers. Low-sodium seasoning. Gluten-free wraps and buns.

Recent statistics show that 24% more Americans have switched over to plant-based dairy products (as compared to 2019), and 17% more are choosing plant-based meat alternatives.

That’s right; we’re switching out the ice cream and frozen whip for fat-free yogurt or “nice” cream. Healthy homemade smoothies are reigning supreme.

Again, the theme of 2020 is health, and it looks like it’s going to trickle on over into 2021.

 

Snacking on Superfoods

On that note, more people are substituting chips and popcorns for nuts, seeds, and legumes. There’s been a marked rise in rich broth and sauerkraut sales. Vendors have reported that people are ordering mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, arugula, kale, chard, and citrus fruits by the dozen. As long as the food item is said to “strengthen the immune system,” (and is backed by sufficient evidence, of course), you can bet on it selling out in less than a week.

Mark your calendars; 2021 will be the year of the superfoods.

 

Branching Out Beyond Vegetable & Olive Oil

For better or for worse, quarantine has forced a lot of us to learn how to cook. Fresh groceries delivered to your front door plus oodles of free time plus culinary craftsmen posting how-to videos equals new “cooks” being born.

(Although we use that term loosely.)

For some, cooking remains a necessary skill.

So that they don’t live on a steady diet of canned sodium and take-out, no doubt.

For others, it has become a full-blown, borne-of-boredom hobby. And all the free time this pandemic has wrought only means they’re free to experiment as much as they please.

What does this mean?

According to the numbers; oil. Specifically “healthy oil” options.

Recent consumer reports reveal that people are branching out with the oil they use. Sales for “unusual” or “unconventional” oils have shot up. You have the typical vegetable oil, coconut oil, and olive oil, sure. But people are also buying pumpkin seed oil, walnut oil, and sunflower oil by the dozen. Whether they’re driven by the reported health benefits of these oils or they just like the taste, predictions mark this trend as one that isn’t doing down any time soon.

 

The Most Important Meal of the Day

The “Most Important Meal of the Day” is now getting the love and respect it deserves. Because more people are working from home, they no longer have to rush through breakfast. Gone are the easy-to-eat protein bars, cereals, instant oatmeal, and hastily-chopped fruit – thank goodness.

Now that people have the time to watch the stove, they’ve been replaced with actual breakfast dishes. Fried eggs and bacon, eggs benedict, waffles, soufflé pancakes, sausages, hash browns, actual brewed coffee – all that good stuff.

And with the ways things are going, this Big Breakfast Trend definitely looks set to blow up come 2021.

 

Not a Full Cut; Just a Trim

Now that people know going cold-turkey and drastically cutting out every “bad” thing from your diet – like sodium, processed sugars, simple carbs, red meats, etc. – is not sustainable, they’ve switched over to the art of reduction. And it shows! 2020 is seeing more successful weight-management and health-management meal plans because (a) people can finally dedicate time to watch what they’re eating, and (b) they’ve learned how to “trim down” rather than “cut out.”

This concept is pretty much along the same vein as switching out certain food items with healthier alternatives. Instead of completely eliminating processed meats or sugars from their diet, people instead limit their intake.

For instance; one sugary snack a day or sugary snacks just three times a week as opposed to sugar whenever you want. Or instead of completely dumping out red meat, halve your portion of red meat instead and fill up the other half with veggies or healthier white meat (you can never go wrong with fish or poultry). Instead of chugging soda or high-sugar fruit juice with every meal, maybe limit it to one glass of soda every other day.

 

This healthfulness mindset has brought about a collective awareness of what we’re eating, which is awesome. And it shows with the food choices people are making. The realization that our immune system is our first and best defense against the current pandemic has translated beautifully into five great food trends that are catered towards building a healthy, fully-optimised body.

 

If you’d like to find out how Hearty Health can help keep you eat well and feel, or find out more about how you can get Hearty Health ready meals direct to you or at your facility, simply call 1300 728 764 or email hello@heartyhealth.com.au

High Blood-Pressure? Experts Say To Eat These Foods To Help Bring Balance Back To Your Body

Food can be medicine. That’s the fundamental belief of many naturopathic and natural-remedy-based health practices, and there’s plenty of evidence to support it. Your diet can make (or break!) your body.

Perhaps a less stuffy version of this belief is the classic “you are what you eat,” adage. Cuter and catchier, but the concept is the same: if you want a strong, ship-shape body that’s in tip-top health no matter what age you’re at, you need to watch what you’re putting in it.

This time around, we’re focusing on heart-healthy, blood-pressure-friendly foods.

Plenty of experts believe that a well-designed and carefully-crafted diet can easily combat high blood-pressure better than most maintenance medicines can. And they’ve got the studies to prove it!

 

Best 5 Foods for High Blood-Pressure 

Potassium-Rich Fruits & Veggies. As a general rule, fruits and veg are always good for you. Very rarely will there be exceptions (and very rarely will those exceptions be due to fruit’s ridiculously high sugar content). If you’re trying to get your blood-pressure under control, potassium-rich foods are your best friends.

According to the AHA (American Heart Association), potassium is known to drastically reduce the effects of sodium on the body. It also helps alleviate tension in the blood vessel walls.

And you’re wont to find anything more potassium-y than bananas (about 422 mg of potassium), avocadoes (485 mg), sweet potatoes (337 mg), tomatoes (237 mg), cucumbers (142 mg) and spinach (839 mg).

Salmon & Other Fatty Fish. Haven’t you always wanted to be “the good kind of fat”?

One can dream.

But anyway! The likes of salmon, albacore tuna, and Atlantic herring have that very enviable claim to fame. These squishy fishies are all excellent sources of omega-3 fats – the good kind of fat that’s clinically proven to have significant heart health benefits. They can, among other things, reduce inflammation and decrease blood vessel constriction by fighting off oxylipins – the compounds responsible for causing said constrictions.

Fat-Free Yogurt. Natural or fat-free yogurt has been reported to have some pretty heart-healthy properties – especially for women. A study funded by the National Dairy Council in the U.S. found that women (between the ages of 18 and 30) reduced their risk of hypertension by a whopping 20% when they consumed five or more servings of yogurt every week.

These findings were compared to the hypertension risk of women roughly the same age group who rarely (or flat-out never) ate yogurt.

It’s worth noting that men were also part of the study. However, they did not appear to benefit from any advantages nor did they suffer any potential disadvantages from consuming higher amounts of yogurt.

So if you’re in the mood for something nice and ice(y), grab a bowl or two of yogurt! Just make sure to keep it as natural (aka less sugar, less preservatives, less artificial sweeteners) as possible.

Dark Chocolate. Chocolate is everybody’s guilty pleasure. So imagine if you had an excuse to eat it all the time.

Now, that might be a bit excessive, but you can definitely get away with eating a couple squares of dark chocolate every week. And if you’ve got high-blood pressure, this bittersweet treat may even help keep that in check! Multiple studies show that cocoa-rich chocolate may help reduce blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension or prehypertension. This is thanks to the high amount flavonoids – a kind of heart-friendly antioxidants – found in the cacao bean.

But in order for you to reap the benefits, you want high-quality chocolate that contains a minimum of 70% cocoa. Anything below that is just regular dessert.

You also want to shoot for just 1 to 2 ounces of dark chocolate a day. Remember; moderation is key!

Chia & Flax Seeds. These teeny tiny seeds pack one heck of a nutritional punch. They’re teeming with heart-friendly nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and fibre – all of which have been linked with blood pressure regulation and hypertension management. They also happen to be excellent sources of an unsaturated fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). All you need to know is this fatty acid is the “good kind of fat,” too. In fact, ALA can be converted to omega-3 – the kind you get in fresh, fatty salmon.

A study done in 2015 suggests that eating while flaxseeds for 12 weeks or more can drastically reduce blood pressure levels. So why not keep a little trail-mix, snack-bag combo of chia and flaxseed on-hand? You know, for those moments when you’re craving something small, tasty, and easy-to-eat.

 

Do take note! Tracking your calories and portion sizes can also help manage your blood pressure – especially if you’re clinically diagnosed as overweight or obese. You also need to watch your alcohol, caffeine, and sodium intake. Caffeine can raise your blood pressure up to 10 mm Hg if you don’t watch your consumption. Same with sodium and alcohol.

These substances can really mess with your blood pressure balance!

Basically, adding the five friendly foods discussed here to your diet can do wonders for your health. Making some slight dietary and lifestyle changes can do even more.

 

If you’d like to find out how Hearty Health can help keep you eat well and feel, or find out more about how you can get Hearty Health ready meals direct to you or at your facility, simply call 1300 728 764 or email hello@heartyhealth.com.au