The best and most effective health resolutions are the achievable ones, the ones you are able to actually sustain for longer than a few weeks. Here are five simple things to incorporate into your daily routine that will make an appreciable difference to your wellbeing with minimal effort.
Drink a cup of ginger tea every day
Although perhaps best known for its ability to quell nausea of any kind, be it motion sickness, morning sickness or too-many-cocktails sickness, ginger offers so much more. It's one of nature's most powerful anti-inflammatory agents and as well as soothing muscular pains, can help regulate blood sugar, reduce 'bad'cholesterol, ease arthritic pain, improve digestion, increase circulation, boost immunity and cognitive function and protect against heart disease. If you have fresh ginger to hand, grate a tablespoon into a mug and cover with boiling water - for an extra boost, add a thick slice of lemon. Steep for 10 minutes then strain into your mug/cup of choice. Alternatively, raid your local health food store for a good quality organic ginger tea bag, such as Celestial Seasonings Ginger & Turmeric or Yogi Ginger & Lemon.
Cats are canny creatures and have much to teach us, including the benefits of a good stretch after sleeping. Stretching encourages blood flow to the muscles, warming them up ready for action; it also revs up circulation to the brain, improving concentration and energy. Even if you don't have time in the mornings to do a structured routine, you can still benefit by stretching from the comfort of your bed. Lie on your back and stretch both legs, aiming as far down the bed as is comfortable then flex your ankles a few times to stretch the calf muscles. Next, draw your knees up and clasp your arms around them, gently drawing your knees towards your chest to stretch the lower back. Lastly, sit upright on the side of the bed, feet flat on the floor and reach up to clasp your hands above your head then stretch upwards towards the ceiling, lengthening the spine.
The four Ks: Kefir, Kombucha, Kimchi and 'Kraut
Good gut health is at the heart of good health and immunity and regularly consuming fermented food and drinks is one of the best (and most delicious) ways to get natural probiotic goodness into the gut without resorting to a supplement. As well as probiotic strains, fermented foods retain higher levels of nutrients than cooked foods, together with beneficial enzymes for better digestion. Have a glass of kombucha or dairy free coconut milk kefir for a lunchtime pick-me-up, such as Rhythm Coconut Kefir & Greens, and add a couple of spoonfuls of raw, unpasteurised sauerkraut or spicy kimchi to a salad. The Cultured Food Company's Ruby Red sauerkraut is made with red cabbage for an extra antioxidant boost.
Switch to a natural deodorant
Behind the pretty packaging of your conventional deodorant lies a cocktail of aluminium and other chemicals that have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer and hormone disruption. This chemical cocktail may make your pits fragrant and stop you sweating but here's the thing .... we're supposed to sweat! It's part of how we regulate body temperature and eliminate toxins. Sweat, in itself, doesn't smell; that undesirable odour only arises when the sweat comes into contact with bacteria on the skin. Natural deodorants use ingredients like essential oils and bicarbonate of soda to absorb sweat and kill the bacteria that causes pongy pits without potentially harmful chemicals. Try Earth Conscious vegan solid deodorant in either a tin or a cardboard stick formula - natural AND environmentally friendly packaging!
Make nuts and seeds your go to snack
Every little nut and seed is a powerhouse of essential fats, protein, and fibre, not to mention a veritable fountain of vitamins and minerals, all of which work together to benefit your heart, brain and waistline. Just 30g of sunflower seeds provides 100 mg of magnesium, a third of the recommended daily intake, whilst almond contain as much calcium as cow's milk but without the artery-clogging fats. Eat a handful of mixed nuts and seeds every day to reap the benefits and keep it fresh by switching up the mix with different varieties every week.