14 ways to optimise your health in 2023, with Bioglan Superfoods
Balance your diet right. A healthy diet is the cornerstone of a strong immune system, mental wellbeing, heart, gut and bone health – to name just a few! So this year say goodbye to nutrient poor processed foods, snacks and takeaways – as they often have a lot of sugar, salt or fat added to them. And say hello to a well-balanced and varied diet. This means eating a variety of foods from all the main food groups, as show in the Government’s Eatwell guide, to ensure we’re getting the nutrients, such as protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, our bodies need to stay healthy in 2023 and beyond.
Aim to reach your 5-A-Day. Only a third of adults (33%) in the UK actually meet the ‘5-A-Day’ target, so if you’re not meeting your daily quota, look for ways to add more colourful, seasonal and unusual varieties of fruit and veggies to your diet this year.
As a guide, one portion is 80g, which is a handful, or 3 tablespoons or 30g of dried fruit. And, don’t forget that it’s not just fresh that counts – tinned, frozen, dried and fruit juice are all good options, too, and are just as nutritious – so stock up on canned pulses (beans, peas and lentils), fruit (in natural juice) and veg (in unsalted water), frozen peas and mixed veg and berries, or perhaps get a veggie box delivered straight to your door with local and seasonal produce.
Don’t start a diet. With diet fever tending to peak in the early weeks of January, it can be tempting to turn to the latest ‘quick fix’ diet in an attempt to shed those unwanted pounds. But most faddy diets aren’t a long-term solution to losing weight and keeping it off, because simply they aren’t sustainable – so you’ll end up in unhealthy cycles of weight loss and weight regain, when you return to your prior habits.
So instead plan to make healthy, balanced changes to the way you’re eating, while controlling your portions and being physically active. Small, slow and sustainable changes are the way forward. Remember, there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, and despite what social influencers celebrities and insta-gurus will tell you, you’re allowed to enjoy all foods in balance and moderation – it’s about how much and how often that counts!
Try new things in your everyday diet. When it comes to making dietary changes, we often focus on the things that we should be cutting down on – sugary, fatty and salty foods for example, which is no bad thing. But this year also think about what new ‘healthier’ foods and activities you can ‘add in’ to your daily routine.
Take a food supplement. If your diet is poor and unbalanced, or you feel your health needs a helping hand during these winter months (according to the Met Office, that’s officially from the 22nd December 2022– 20th March 2023), consider incorporating a vitamin and mineral powder food supplement to help top up your nutrient levels and ensure you’re achieving the recommended intakes of nutrients such as vitamin C and folic acid needed for immunity. With bugs and viruses flying around during these cold winter months every little helps, you could try adding these powders into smoothies, cakes and weeknight meals, for an easy boost.
Drink plenty. Although the weather is cold outside, it’s still really important to stay well hydrated. Drinking enough water and fluid is essential for many important functions in the body, including helping our immune system function well. We get some fluid from the foods we eat, but on top of this, women need around 1.6 litres of fluid and men around 2 litres a day. Water is the best choice, as it’s calorie and sugar free, but tea and coffee, lower fat milks and alternatives, smoothies and sugar free hot and cold drinks all count, too.
Move your body. You may have abandoned your usual exercise routine over the Christmas period. But, regular ‘moderate intensity’ exercise can strengthen our immunity and help keep our weight in check, too, so try to restart the exercise habit. It doesn’t have to mean joining a gym, but any exercise – jogging, cycling, dancing or even joining a zumba class – something that gets your heart beating faster for the recommended ‘at least’ 150 minutes every week.
Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is so important for our immune system, our mental wellbeing and even our waistlines, because hormones that affect our sense of hunger and fullness are disrupted. Why not pledge to sleep better this year and get the recommended six to nine hours of sleep every night in 2023. Try to get into a good bedtime routine – avoid too much caffeine, limit alcohol and don’t stay up late staring at TV and phone screens for too long.
Stay calm. Easier said than done returning to work, but stress and anxiety can play havoc with your immune system, so take some ‘time-out’ in your day to de-stress – yoga, pilates, meditation and breathing exercises, are all proven methods, but any activity that carves out that essential ‘me time’ you need to slow down, enjoy life, and rejuvenate yourself are beneficial, too.
Fall in love with your gut. Gut health is very much in-vogue when it comes to wellness and no wonder when a staggering 70% of our immune system is housed in our gut. People with a healthy gut tend to eat more fibre-rich plant foods, as it is your gut microbes favourite food! UK health guidelines recommend we consume 30g a day of fibre a day, but on average we are only managing 19g! So upping your intake of fibre in 2023 is a must if you want to take good care of your gut and the trillions of different microbes that live there in good shape!
The simple resolution to increase your fibre intake is to make the switch from ‘white’ carbs to wholegrain or higher fibre varieties, such as brown rice, high fibre breakfast cereals, wholegrain bread or wholewheat pasta, as well as enjoying more legumes and pulses, skin on fruit, vegetables and potatoes, and nuts and seeds, too. If your gut needs an extra little helping hand, Bioglan Superfoods offers ‘Digestive Boost’ with a blend of live bacteria and inulin fibre to help your gut stay healthy.
Be happy. Happiness isn’t guaranteed to keep us free from colds and coughs this winter, but there’s emerging evidence to back up its potential health benefits. So do something each day that makes you happy, like going for a walk with a friend, having fun with the children, joining a clubs or even taking part in local activities like choirs, book clubs or keep fit classes.
Eat more plant foods. Veganuary is well underway and many of us will have already pledged to eat vegan for the month of January. But, you don’t need to become vegan to eat better – the more plant foods you have in your diet all year round, the better it is for your overall health, and planetary health too. We talking one that’s rich in fruits vegetables, wholegrains, plant proteins like legumes (beans and pulses) nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices, too. Aiming for 30 different plant-based foods every week.
Forget the all or nothing stance. And instead remember the 80/20 rule – if you eat a balanced and varied diet most of the time (80% of the time), then it’s OK to occasionally indulge less healthy ‘treat’ foods (20% of the time). Healthy eating is about balancing, nutrition, pleasure and moderation.
Moderate your alcohol intake. You don’t have to jump on the dry-January bandwagon but it’s important to stick to the recommended no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, spread over three or more days – and to have some alcohol free days, too. Cutting down on alcohol can benefit your waistline and your overall health in lots of other ways, too. So get inventive with alternatives – NoLo (alcohol free and low alcohol drinks), why not try white wine as a spritzer mixed with sparkling water or have a smaller wine glass, and alternate any alcoholic drinks with a glass of water to rehydrate.
Helen Bond, Registered Dietitian
About Bioglan Superfoods
Bioglan Superfoods is a range of supercharged powders and vitamins that are made from the highest quality ingredients. Founded over 40 years ago in Sydney, Australia, specialising in vitamins, minerals, and nutrition. With our extensive vitamin background, we ensure that our Superfood products contain only the best, nutrient dense ingredients and are versatile to use in everyday food and drinks.