The start of the year is always a time to setting goals and resolving to make positive changes, with your health lifestyle often topping the list. Without doubt, making your health the focus of your new year challenge will leave you feeling less lethargic and more energized; perfect to get your through the colder, dreary winter months.
Stress is one of the biggest factors that affect our wellbeing; do you find that:
- You’re unusually tired, most of the time?
- You have trouble waking and getting going for the day despite going to bed at a reasonable time?
- You are often under the weather and don’t recover quickly after being ill?
You crave sweet foods?
- You tend to feel more energized towards the later part of the day, after around 6pm?
These symptoms of stress make our daily lives more difficult to deal and furthermore will result in an inflammatory response.
In our busy lives, reducing inflammation is key and the essence of boosting your inner health.
Why is this?
Inflammation is the body’s natural defence and repair mechamism; if we injure ourselves, your body will react with swelling, redness and pain in the area of damage. This is natural response and should be short lived until the injury is healed. Whilst this is response is familiar for injuries on the outside of the body, it is also important to remember that this same process is taking place inside the body, where and inflammatory response to stress is similar. Modern living exposes us to constant stress, which in turn triggers the inflammatory response within the body and consequently the production of free radicals. Unresolved or chronic inflammation will leave these free radicals to cause further damage and harm.
So how can we reduce inflammation and limit free radical damage to ensure we look and feel our very best?
In the first instance, addressing your diet is very important.
- Eat more plant based foods which will provide good fibre to help support a healthy digestive system and remove toxins
- Reduce foods that contain refine sugars and carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, cakes as these will cause a stress response as your blood sugar levels and consequently your insulin levels surge
- Consume more vegetables and fruits, aiming to reach 7 portions a day. This will provide plenty of vitamins, minerals and fibre to ensure your body processes are working optimally and efficiently. Choosing brightly coloured vegetables and fruits, such as carrots, blueberries and tomatoes that are rich in antioxidants will help to combat free radical damage.
- Eat whole foods and cook from scratch as far as possible.
- Increase sources of anti-inflammatory essential fats found in oily fish, flaxseed, nuts and seeds.
- Avoid processed foods that contain preservatives, colourings and perhaps unhealthy fats that your body will need to prioritise as part of the detoxification process.
- Consider a daily supplement that contains good quality antioxidants, alongside your daily food choices for an added boost. For example, Vitamin C, Grape Seed Extract and Green Tea extract are all powerful antioxidants that will combat the harmful effects of stress. (Take a look at the Totally Derma® Collagen Drink Supplement that works from the INSIDE to stimulate the body’s optimum production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, addressing both the aesthetic (physical) signs of ageing and the underlying physiological processes).
Taking a whole body approach and it is important to remember that factoring in at exercise and more activity on a daily basis and good sleep hygiene are also key.
- Aim for a minimum of 30 mins exercise; a daily walk, exercise class or gym session but also habits like taking the stairs instead of the lift/escalator and parking further from your destination will also help to increase your daily activity levels
- Remember, over-exercising can also be a stressor, so avoid harsh training routines that will leave you exhausted and drained
- Avoid phones/tablets/laptops at least an hour before bedtime and consider a hot bath, a herbal tea and a book or magazine instead