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Small steps to a healthier you

Would you like to improve your health in 2014 but worry that you don’t have the time or don’t know where to start? By following these four tips you can take simple steps to give your lifestyle a healthy makeover.

 

Get your five a day every day

Eating five portions of fruit or vegetables a day can help to lower the risk of health problems such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Make sure that every meal you eat includes at least one portion of fruit or vegetables and snack on fruit or vegetables instead of chocolate or chips. Blend your favorite fruits to make a tasty smoothie, add chopped banana or apple to breakfast cereal and try strawberries and low fat yoghurt for a delicious and healthy dessert. Why not try a new fruit or vegetable every week to keep things interesting?

 

Make exercise a way of life

Getting fitter doesn’t have to involve hours in the gym. By making small changes to your daily routine you can increase your activity levels and help to keep yourself in shape. Try these easy steps to a more active day:

  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Leave the car at home and walk whenever you can
  • Have a 20-minute walk at lunchtime
  • Take a stroll – instead of meeting friends for coffee and cake, invite them out for a walk
  • Relax after work with a quick swim instead of watching television – it’s a great way to unwind!

 

Be salt aware

Do you know how much salt you eat? The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults consume no more than 5g each day. However, evidence suggests that people around the world are exceeding this target. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. It can be difficult to know how much salt we eat because the majority is hidden in foods we eat all the time, including bread, breakfast cereals and ready meals. Keep track of how much salt you eat every day. Avoid adding salt to food when cooking or at the table and always check labels for salt content so you can choose options with less salt.

 

Ditch the fizzy drinks

They may be refreshing but fizzy drinks are bad news for your health. A single can of cola contains around 139 calories and 35g of sugar. It is easy not to notice the calories we consume through drinks but it’s important to be aware that even just one can a day adds up to an extra 973 calories a week: that’s more than you will find in a fast food cheeseburger and fries.

Drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated – it is calorie free and won’t rot your teeth. Try chilled sparkling water if you fancy a change.

 

Bil Afia: Be Well, Eat Well, Live Well – for you and others.

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