How to Have a Healthy New Year
3 Top Tips
Q: The last couple of months were super stressful and busy. I’ve fallen off my health habits, and I feel exhausted and just not great. What could I add to my New Year’s resolutions to help get back on track? Gabriel, North York
A: Holiday celebrations plus wrapping up another year at home and work, can really leave the body feeling depleted around this time. As I approached the end of 2018, I found myself reflecting on daily habits. What you do EVERY DAY, shapes your life. So why not choose things that elevate health physically, mentally and emotionally, which in turn improves your ability to be a better participant in this thing called life, non? Here are some simple suggestions to help start 2019 strong.
1. Stay hydrated - A large percentage of the human body is water. Water is vital to the health, structure and function of every cell and organ in the body. As water flows through the body, it helps flush out waste products and toxins, and replenishes cells with fresh fluids to thrive on. Problem is, I find that more often than not, most people don’t regularly consume sufficient amounts of water to meet the needs of the body. Secondly, I’ve heard from various people that as the weather gets colder they instinctively/unconsciously drink less water, and don’t crave it as much as they did in the summer. On average, most adults should consume around 2L + of water a day. Herbal tea and hot lemon water count for water intake if you don’t crave cold drinks ;)
2. Improve Gut Bacteria - The bacterial ecosystem of the gut is vital to health and wellbeing. Studies have shown that our healthy gut bacteria (aka, probiotics) benefit immune function, digestion & elimination, weight management, depression & anxiety, skin, the absorption of essential vitamins, minerals & nutrients, help fight off food-borne illnesses, and promote urinary health & women’s health…to list a few. A simple way to support the microbiome is by investing in a daily multistrain probiotic. The other option, in addition to probiotics, is to get a regular intake of fermented foods, which contain a naturally occurring healthy bacterial ecosystem as well as micronutrients, enzymes and B vitamins. Fermented foods are kimchi, miso, tempeh, kefir, kombucha, and unpasteurized sauerkraut. A daily dose of good bacteria goes a long way for health and vitality.
3. Support Your Stress Response – Do you practice a daily act of meditation, breath work, journalling and/or gratitude? Studies show that daily mindfulness practices actually improve energy, stress response, focus and productivity. Life is busy, I get it, but most of us can carve out a mere 10 minutes a day to “just be”. In addition to this, you can get a little extra support from the herb Ashwaghanda (Withania Somnifera). Withania improves the body’s resilience to stress, helps restore, protect, and improve vitality, and boosts mood and energy. To ensure your health and safety, always check with your MD or ND before taking a new supplement.
Dr. Michelle Pobega, ND, runs a naturopathic practice near the Annex neighbourhood of Toronto. Stay connected with her at drmichellend.ca, Facebook and Twitter @MPobegaND