How to be healthy
- Chew each mouthful 20-30 times
Naturopath, nutritionist recommends chewing slowly, and until each bite liquefies (the most easily digestible form). “Really savor each mouthful – feel the texture and capture the flavor of your food. It’s when your saliva comes into contact with your food as it’s being chewed that the digestive process begins,” Good digestion allows your body to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from foods.
A 2006 study showed that chewing slowly and taking a break between each bite can cut 10 per cent off your daily calorie count, partly because it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full. That’s a calorie-saving equivalent to 1.5 Carmelo Koalas, based on a 1500-calorie a day diet.
- Do a daily mini-cleanse
The average person carries up to 4.5kg of unhealthy toxic waste in their body. Fatty and sugary foods contain toxins, which overload your liver (your main detoxifying organ) if eaten regularly. The liver struggles to get rid of them, so they stay trapped in your body, damaging cells, affecting bodily functions, encouraging disease, and causing premature ageing and food sensitivities. To nip it in the bud, do a daily mini-cleanse by drinking a warm cup of water with a squeeze of lemon first thing in the morning, at least 30 minutes before eating.
- Replace sugar with stevia
The average person consumes around 43kg of sugar per year (globally), or 27 teaspoons per day. A high sugar intake can lead to a stack of health concerns, including heart disease, osteoporosis, headaches, and depression.
An alternative to sugar is stevia: a zero-calorie, sugarless, carbohydrate-free herb, that’s believed to lower blood sugar levels after eating by up to 18 per cent. But be warned, stevia packs a sweet punch. “It’s 300 times sweeter than sugar, so tastes as you go,” advises nutritionist Lola Berry. As a guide, 3-4 drops is all you need for the average cuppa. You can buy stevia in powdered or liquid form from most health food stores. Did you know a 375ml can of soft drink contains around 10 teaspoons of sugar, a tablespoon of tomato sauce has 1 teaspoon and a Mars Bar has 8.5? To calculate how many teaspoons of sugar are in a food, divide the sugar-gram amount on the pack by 4. Fact: Your body can’t burn fat when it’s burning sugar.
- Get to bed early
To allow the gallbladder to do its job (it detoxes the body from 11pm and 1pm; while the liver detoxes the best from 1am-3am), it’s best to get some shut-eye early, according to Chinese medicine practitioners. “It’s important to be in bed before this element comes into power, as the liver is involved in filtering the blood. To do this effectively, the body needs to be horizontal because when you’re up and about, the liver directs blood to the parts of the body needing it – the liver energy is diverted from its important physical function of cleaning and renewing the blood.”
And make sure you eat before 8pm. “Any food you eat after 8pm will sit in your digestive tract all night, making you wake up feeling heavy, foggy and annoyed,” warns nutritionists and naturopathic studies.
- Breathe deeply
Shallow breaths deprive the brain, blood and cells of oxygen, affecting concentration and can make one tired, cranky and stressed. It stimulates the body’s natural ‘fight or flight’ response – which is when adrenaline kicks in to help deal with a stressful situation. By leaving the ‘fight’ mode switched on the body remains clenched, oxygen-deprived and in crisis, which can affect overall health. Just taking a few deep, purposeful breaths can help switch off the response, and make you instantly calm and vibrant.
It’s best to gently breathe in and out through your nose, advises the studies.
- Only drink 30 minutes either side of a meal (extra fluid dilutes digestive juices).
Drink before you get thirsty – thirst means you’re already dehydrated.
- Don’t eat when stressed