During the winter months it is natural for us to slow down, eat heavier, warming foods and not feel so energetic. With Spring in town, here are my 7 simple tips to put that spring back into your step; by renewing and refreshing your eating habits:
Go through your fridge, freezer and pantry and throw away any items that are processed. Actively plan for and create the right environment for, the way you intend to eat. Replace processed foods with real, whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Throw out expired items-you might be surprised what is lurking in the back of your pantry.
There are many scientific studies that show a diet higher in fruit, vegetables, whole foods and grains can reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, cancer and diabetes.
It doesn’t have to be just spinach, the choice is endless. Choose from spinach, kale, collard greens, or bok choy. Did you know that kale is the most nutrient dense food on the planet? It is very high in nutrients such as Vitamin A, K, C and B6 as well as manganese, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
It is also very low in calories. Why not throw some into your salad, smoothie or stir-fry? Our bodies naturally choose to eat lighter in the spring/summer months so embrace the greens in a variety of ways.
A 2001 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that consumption of fruits and vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables and vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, appears to have a protective effect against coronary heart disease.
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We are made up of over 60% water. Water is needed for many bodily functions including flushing out toxins, transporting nutrients, regulating body temperature and helping digestion. A 2003 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and metabolism showed that drinking half a litre of water increased metabolism by 24-30% for up to 1.5 hours.
Aim for 2-3 litres per day, but this also depends on your weight and physical status. If you are more active and are sweating more, you will need to ensure these lost fluids are replaced. If you aren’t a fan of plain water, add some fruit such as strawberries or blueberries.
During the winter months, you may have caught the flu and been prescribed antibiotics. Antibiotics will reduce your natural probiotics in the gut, which are needed to help with digestion and immune system. Therefore try to increase the following food and drink into your daily diet: Sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso soup, coconut yogurt, kefir and kombucha. You can also get probiotics from supplements so there are plenty of options available to ensure that the ‘good bacteria’ in your gut is replaced.
RELATED: Why Gut Health Is Critical To Your Wellbeing
By adding a rainbow of wholefoods to your plate every day, you naturally start to incorporate a variety of more foods into your daily routine. As a general rule, fill your dinner plate with half vegetables from a variety of colours. Fruit and vegetables contain phytochemicals that protect from a wide range of health issues. Red for example is good for heart health, purple/blue foods are good for our brain whereas orange and yellow foods are good for our eyes.
A 2014 study published in the British Journal of Medicine showed that women who consumed a diet with a high intake of cow’s milk, had an increased risk of bone fractures and death from heart disease and cancer. There are now plenty of healthy dairy alternatives such as almond milk and nut cheeses that can be bought or easily made at home. These will provide all the necessary nutrients for a healthy diet without the health risks that dairy can produce. Cow’s milk is very mucous-forming so breathe more easily this spring by making the switch.
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Every morning, drink a glass of warm water with quarter of freshly squeezed lemon. This will help boost the immune system and kick-start the digestive system. As an added bonus the aroma of essential oils from the lemon rind has been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood and stress levels as documented in a 2008 report of Stress and Health Journal.
Tell me in the comments below – What do you do to spring clean your eating habits during Spring? And what holds you back? Lets get our bodies healthy from the inside, out together this Spring.
P.S. Know someone who wants to ‘spring clean’ their eating habits? Be a pal and share this with them via one of the big buttons below… And Happy Spring!
This article is part of the 2015 ‘Spring Into Wellbeing’ Hub: Check it out for expert health and wellbeing tips, guides and advice from Australia’s leading wellbeing experts – inspiring and empowering you to unlock the path to true wellness this Spring.
With two science degrees from London University, a health science career spanning nearly two decades and an ever increasing knowledge in the role of nutrition and complementary therapies, Melanie is well placed to guide you through the maze of wellness options. Melanie's speciality is genetics health coaching. Melanie teaches people that our genes do not determine our health story and shows clients how it is possible to take control of your health through epigenetic (lifestyle) changes.
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