At COLUMBIA pure, we are always searching for ways to promote better public health and prevent disease. One of the most effective ways for an individual to improve their own health is to make sure that they make wise choices about what they eat and drink.
As we move into the lovely sunny days of summer, it’s very tempting to think that achieving a beach-ready body is the top priority, but it really shouldn’t be the case. Instead, we should use the warmer months to get, and feel, healthier by enjoying the wide range of fresh produce that is more readily accessible at this time of year.
There are actually five main ways to get a grip on how well you eat and drink, and the difference taking these steps these will make to your health and well-being make them well worth the effort.
Control Your Caffeine Intake
We are all aware that coffee contains caffeine but don’t forget that it can also be found in tea, energy drinks and some sodas. Caffeine can give you a temporary energy boost but if used excessively it can lead to a number of unpleasant side effects such as restlessness, insomnia, increased heart rate and anxiety.
In fact the recommended limit for caffeine intake is 400 milligrams per day (about four cups of coffee) so, if you are someone who has a coffee on the go all day long it may be time to cut back.
There are also hidden sources of caffeine such as that found in chocolate and some medications. Try decaffeinated versions of drinks if you need to cut back.
Avoid Trendy Diets
It’s so tempting to try out the latest quick fix diet but many of these short cuts to weight loss can be restrictive, unbalanced and lacking in any scientific evidence. Be particularly wary of any diet that eliminates entire food groups or severely restricts calorie intake as they can lead to nutrient deficiencies, muscle loss and may also be impossible to sustain so that any weight lost will soon be regained. It is always a better plan to adopt an eating plan that is balanced and sustainable, includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats while being mindful of portion sizes.
If you are someone who becomes ‘hangry’ you’ll know the importance of eating regularly and maintaining blood sugar levels. Try to plan what you will eat in advance so that you have healthy options to hand and are less likely to reach out for convenience food or, just as bad for you, skip a meal entirely.
Increase Fluid Intake
Maintaining a good level of hydration is essential for overall health and well-being. While water is undoubtedly the best choice, other drinks such as herbal teas, unsweetened fruit juices and low-fat milk are acceptable alternatives. As a general rule it is recommended to aim for about six to eight cups of fluid (approximately 1.6 to 2 litres) per day but this may need to be increased during exercise, in hot weather or when unwell.
Aim For A Healthy Plate
To ensure a balanced diet, try to fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables – the more colourful and varied the better. A quarter of your plate should contain whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa or whole wheat bread – these are a great source of fibre and provide sustained energy. The remaining quarter should be dedicated to lean proteins such as chicken, fish, beans or tofu – these proteins help build and repair tissues and help you to feel full. Healthy fats should also be included in your diet, for example olive oil, avocado or nuts as they provide essential fatty acids and aid in nutrient absorption.
Seize the summer and make this the year you start eating fresh and drinking clean!