Welcome to Self Soul Space! This blog is designed to bring you healthy lifestyle tips. A true healthy lifestyle, embodies a healthy mind, body, spirit, and environment. Thanks for stopping by to check out my way of living.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

31 Tips for a Healthier March

March is National Nutrition Month, yay! And Self Soul Space is back with 31 health and nutrition tips for the 31 days of March.  Add these tips to your daily habits for a happy and healthier body. 

1. Don’t Drink Sugar Calories

Sugary drinks are the most fattening things you can put into your body. This is because liquid sugar calories don’t get registered by the brain in the same way as calories from solid foods. So, when you drink soda, you end up eating more total calories. Sugary drinks are strongly associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and all sorts of health problems. Keep in mind that fruit juices can be as bad as soda in this regard. They contain just as much sugar, and the small amounts of antioxidants do NOT negate the harmful effects of the sugar.

2. Eat Nuts

Yes, nuts are high in fat, but they are incredibly nutritious and healthy. They are loaded with magnesium, vitamin E, fiber and various other nutrientsStudies show that nuts can help you lose weight, and may help fight type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

3. Avoid Processed Junk Food

All the processed junk foods in a diet are the biggest reason the world is fatter and sicker than ever before. These foods have been engineered to trick our brains into eating more than we need, even leading to addiction in some. They are also low in fiber, protein and micronutrients (empty calories), but high in unhealthy ingredients like added fat, sugar, and refined grains.

4. Don’t Fear Coffee

Coffee has been unfairly judged. The truth is that it’s actually very healthyCoffee is high in antioxidants, and studies show that coffee drinkers live longer, and have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and numerous other diseases.

5. Eat Fatty Fish

Pretty much everyone agrees that fish is healthy. This is particularly true of fatty fish, like salmon, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and various other nutrients.

6. Get Enough Sleep

Quality sleep may be just as important as diet and exercise, if not more. Poor sleep can drive insulin resistance, throw your appetite hormones out of whack and reduce your physical and mental performance. It is one of the strongest individual risk factors for future weight gain and obesity.

7. Take Care of Your Gut With Probiotics and Fiber

The bacteria in your gut, called the gut microbiota, are sometimes referred to as the “forgotten organ.” These gut buggies are incredibly important for all sorts of health-related aspects. A good way to improve gut health, is to eat probiotic foods (like live yogurt and sauerkraut), take probiotic supplements, and eat plenty of fiber. Fiber functions as fuel for the gut bacteria.

8. Drink Water, Especially Before Meals

Drinking enough water can have numerous benefitsOne important factor, is that it can help boost the amount of calories you burn. It can boost metabolism by 24-30% over a period of 1-1.5 hours. This can amount to 96 additional calories burned if you drink 2 liters (67 oz) of water per dayThe best time to drink water is half an hour before meals. One study showed that half a liter of water, 30 minutes before each meal, increased weight loss by 44%.

9. Don’t Overcook or Burn Your Meat

Meat can be a nutritious and healthy part of the diet. It is very high in protein, and contains various important nutrients. The problems occur when meat is overcooked and burnt. This can lead to the formation of harmful compounds that raise the risk of cancer. So, eat your meat, just don’t overcook or burn it.

10. Avoid Bright Lights Before Sleep

When we’re exposed to bright lights in the evening, this disrupts production of the sleep hormone melatonin, this includes light from the TV and electronics. 

11. Get Some Sun or Take Vitamin D3

Back in the day, most people got their vitamin D from the sun. The problem is that most people don’t get much sun these days, because of sunblock or indoor lifestyle. If adequate sun exposure is not an option for you, then supplementing with vitamin D has been shown to have numerous benefits for health. This includes improved bone health, increased strength, reduced symptoms of depression and a lower risk of cancer, to name a few.

12. Eat Vegetables and Fruit Every Day

Vegetables and fruits are the premier health foods for good reason. They are loaded with prebiotic fiber, vitamins, minerals and all sorts of antioxidants, some of which have potent biological effects. Studies show that people who eat the most vegetables and fruits live longer, and have a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and all sorts of diseases.

13. Make Sure to Eat Enough Protein

Eating enough protein is incredibly important. Protein is particularly important for weight loss, and works via several different mechanismsA high protein intake can boost metabolism significantly, while making you feel so full that you automatically eat fewer calories. Eating plenty of protein has also been shown to lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

14. Walk More or Do Some Cardio

Doing aerobic exercise (or cardio) is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. It is particularly effective at reducing belly fat, the harmful type of fat that builds up around your organs.

15. Don’t Smoke or do Drugs

If you’re a tobacco smoker, or abuse drugs, then diet and exercise are the least of your worries. Tackle those problems first.

16. Only Drink in Moderation

If you choose to include alcohol in your life, then do so in moderation only, and consider avoiding it completely if you have alcoholic tendencies.

17. Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest fat on the planet. It is loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and powerful antioxidants that can fight inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil leads to many beneficial effects on heart health, and people who consume olive oil have a much lower risk of dying from heart attacks and strokes.

18. Minimize Your Intake of Added Sugars

Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. Small amounts are fine, but when people eat large amounts, it can wreak havoc on metabolic healthA high intake of added sugar is linked to numerous diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many forms of cancer.

19. Don’t Eat a Lot of Refined Carbohydrates

Not all carbs are created equal. Refined carbs have been highly processed, and have had all the fiber removed from them. They are low in nutrients (empty calories), and can be extremely harmful.

20. Don’t Fear Saturated Fat

It is true that saturated fat raises cholesterol, but it also raises HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and changes the LDL from small to large, which is linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

21. Weights can Lift

Lifting weights is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your body and improve your body composition. It also leads to massive improvements in metabolic health, including improved insulin sensitivity. The best approach is to go to a gym and lift weights, but doing body weight exercises can be just as effective.

22. Avoid Artificial Trans Fats

Artificial trans fats are harmful, man-made fats that are strongly linked to inflammation and heart disease. It is best to avoid them.

23. Use Herbs and Spices

There are many incredibly healthy herbs and spices out there. Ginger and turmeric both have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, leading to various health benefitsYou should make an effort to include as many different herbs and spices as you can.

24. Take Care of Your Relationships

Relationships are incredibly important. Not only for your mental wellbeing, but your physical health as well. Studies show that people who are close with friends and family are healthier and live much longer than those who are not.

25. Track Your Food Intake Every Now and Then

The only way to know exactly what you are eating, is to measure your foods and use a nutrition tracker like MyFitnesspalThis is important to know how many calories you are eating. It is also essential to make sure that you’re getting in enough protein, fiber and micronutrients. Studies show that people who track their food intake in one way or another tend to be more successful at losing weight and sticking to a healthy diet. I personally track everything I eat for a few days in a row, every few months. Then I know exactly where to make adjustments in order to get closer to my goals.

26. Get Rid of Excess Belly Fat

Not all body fat is equal. It is mostly the fat in your abdominal cavity, the belly fat, that causes problems. This fat builds up around the organs, and is strongly linked to metabolic diseaseFor this reason, your waist size may be a much stronger marker for your health than the number on the scale. Cutting carbs, eating more protein, and eating plenty of fiber are all excellent ways to get rid of belly fat.

27. Don’t go on a “Diet”

Diets are notoriously ineffective, and rarely work well in the long term. Instead of going on a diet, try adopting a healthier lifestyle. Focus on nourishing your body, instead of depriving it. Weight loss should follow as a natural side effect of better food choices and improved metabolic health.

28. Eat Eggs, and Don’t Throw Away The Yolk

Whole eggs are so nutritious that they’re often referred to as “nature’s multivitamin.” It is a myth that eggs are bad for you because of the cholesterol. Studies show that they have no effect on blood cholesterol in the majority of people.

29. Read the Label

Reading the labels on back of your food, allows you know and understand what is in the food you consume; nutrients, serving size, and ingredients. 

30. Minimal Ingredients 

Look for the least amount of ingredients (shortest list) and look for words you understand. If you can't say it, don't eat it.

31. Don't Worry, Be Happy! 

Stress and anxiety can lead to unplanned and overeating.  Relax, meditate, love yourself, be kind to others... In turn, you will feel happier and healthier.