As a nutritionist one of the first questions people ask me is: “How do I get healthy.” There are so many good answers to this question, so today I thought I would give my top 10 favourite responses.

  1. Stop the Junk: The first step on any health journey is to stop putting in the bad things and start putting in the good. This means no more fast food, no more prepackaged processed junk. Instead look to whole foods, “real” foods. To start off follow this simple rule, if there is an ingredient list don’t eat it.
  2. Do Not Skip Breakfast: Even if you are not a morning person make sure you are eating something within an hour of waking up. This starts your digestive system working for the day. Studies have also shown that people who eat breakfast have a lower rate of obesity.
  3. Eat Fat: There has been a myth for years that fat makes you fat. It is simply not true. There is a reason why fats are a macro-nutrient and that is because our body requires fat as an energy source.  Fat is also needed to absorb vitamins and nutrients and it keeps us satiated (preventing over eating.)
  4. Sleep: Getting a good nights rest is one of the best things you can do for not only your body but also your mind. Our brain detoxifies while we sleep, flushing out toxins that have built up throughout the day. Our body is better able to regulate blood glucose and blood pressure when rested. Proper sleep can also help you lose weight. Leptin and ghrelin are your hormones that control hunger and satiation, when we are tired these hormones increase and we become hungrier.
  5. Lift Iron: Now I am not saying you need to go out and try to bench your weight, but having good muscle mass increases bone density and reduces your risk of injury. But even more than that muscle mass powers your metabolism, therefore the more muscle mass, the faster your body will burn calories.
  6. Stay Hydrated: There is a reason why water is call a life force and that is because without it we will die. Even if you feel you drink enough fluids throughout the day, you cannot replace good ol’ H2O. Put simply, every cell in the human body requires water to function.  So make sure you are getting your eight glasses.
  7. Cut Out The Extra Glass Of Wine: This one is a hard one for many people to swallow. But alcohol really does a number on the body, most specifically the liver. The liver is our body’s detoxifier, or you could look at it as our filter. The body can handle most things in moderation, but consistent heavy drinking will lead to many health problems (and weight gain). Therefore even if you are not prepared to completely eliminate alcohol, sticking to only a glass or two will only enhance your health.
  8. Reduce Stress: Stress is apart of life, and is sometimes unavoidable. When our body perceives stress it releases the hormone cortisol and at this state our body goes into fight or flight mode. We all know it, our heart rate raises, our breathing becomes shallow, we start to sweat excessively and our body becomes hypersensitive to pain.  Even if eliminating stress is not an option, learning how to manage it could go a long way to getting healthy. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga or even 10 minutes of self care will help lower cortisol. Make sure you are focused on adding some relaxation methods in our routine.
  9. Exercise: This may seem very obvious, and that is because it is. An increase in cardiovascular strength will improve your immune system, help with weight management and boost endorphins.
  10. Eat Your Vegetables: Our bodies need a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to function properly. Rickets, scurvy and beriberi are all nutrient deficiency diseases.  These sound scary and they are, but luckily they are rare in North America. However many Canadians are lacking optimal levels of vitamins and minerals in their bodies. Vitamin C boosts the immune system, B vitamins help metabolize carbs and fats, iodine aids thyroid functions, chromium controls blood sugar and that’s just to name a few. This may have you running out to the supplement aisle but there really is no need, if you simply eat your vegetables.  Most of our bodies required nutrients come from the foods we eat.  Therefore by simply eating a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables you will be getting all the optimal nutrient levels.Good luck on your health journey!
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