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Lifestyle Changes

It can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to lifestyle changes.

So instead of a complete overhaul all at once, which could overwhelm you and be destined to fail, live by the mantra that a little can go a long way. A few small changes here and there can do wonders over time. We've pulled together eight rules as a perfect place to start.

 

Base your meals on starchy carbohydrates

No longer the enemy, essential complex carbohydrates should make up a big chunk of your diet. From wholemeal pasta and brown rice to potatoes and oats, these essential complex carbs take longer to digest and release energy steadily, which means no blood sugar spikes and dips in energy come to the mid-afternoon. Yes, by adding some clever carbs to your diet, you'll be able to step away from the biscuit tin. 

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Eat lots of fruit and veg

It goes without saying that you need to get your fill of fruit and veg. Packed full of essential vitamins and minerals, you'll improve your health by choosing a more colourful plate. What's more, fruit will give you a boost in the fibre department helping you fill fuller for longer. And talking of boosts, your mood may improve if you increase your uptake of fruit and veg. According to a study from The British Journal of Health Psychology, participants who ate more fruit and veg had a more positive attitude. You don't have to eat exotically either. Try and buy seasonal fruit and veg that you can source locally for extra brownie points. 

Eat more fish - especially the oily kind

Not only is fish a great source of protein which helps to grow and repair your body's cells, but it is also relatively low in carbs and has been linked to keeping your brain healthy. Getting in two portions of oily fish – such as salmon, tuna or anchovies - in a week will put you well on your way to having a healthy diet and help protect your heart against cardiovascular disease.

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Trim the fat

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Not all fat is equal; you have your saturated fats and unsaturated fats. The latter includes essential fatty acids such as omega-3, which are needed to help your body function. Eating a diet high in saturated fat can lead to blocked arteries, increased chances of heart attacks and strokes. So try to avoid food containing saturated fat (like cakes, cheese, butter, and pies).  Here are some good tips for cutting down on saturated fats:

  • Trim fat off meats
  • Use less oil
  • Cut down on processed foods such as sandwich meats and ready meals
  • Steam, boil, grill or bake foods to avoid using as much oil
  • Replace high fat snacks like crisps and cakes with fruit, nuts and seeds
  • Choose reduced fat dairy products
  • Go for lean meats like chicken, turkey and fish

Mind the salt

We need some salt in our diet but our intake is often over the recommended 6g a day. More often than not, we add salt to our food for flavour, but excessive intake of salt causes your blood pressure to increase, which can then lead to heart attacks and strokes. So be wary of how much salt is already in your food before you get too liberal with the salt shaker.

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Don't skip breakfast

Some would say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whatever truth there may be in this, breakfast is a very important meal and will set you up for the day properly. Do all you can to get up early enough to eat in the morning before you leave the house; some porridge or cereal with added fruit is a good option.

Drink plenty of fluids

You should be consuming two litres of water every day. It’s worth noting you can reach this target with drinks other than water. Low fat milk and tea or coffee without sugar all contribute. From fruit juices diluted with water to always having a bottle of water on you, make sure you always have the option to top up when necessary.

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