Advice for a healthy new you

It’s summer and there is no better way to revive and boost your health than by eating more nutritiously. In fact, even a few simple changes in your diet and lifestyle can have a helpful impact on your health-and can also prevent a range of health problems in the future.
Not only can being overweight cause back pain but eating the wrong foods and not drinking enough water can add to your aches and pains whilst slowing down your road to recovery.
Chiropractors urge patients to stop smoking, eat a balanced healthy diet, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly.

Lifestyle changes

Exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes three or four days a week. The warm weather is great for jogging, walking, bike riding and outdoor sports.
When eating out, be more cautious. Food preparation methods in restaurants, bars and hotels often involve high amounts – and the wrong types – of fat and sugar.
Make your lunch at home to control your fat, sugar and salt content while adding nutritious fruits, vegetables, and grains. There is never a shortage of choice of seasonal fruits and vegetables over the summer.
Limit your intake of alcohol and quit smoking. Drinking alcohol excessively and/or smoking affects your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from your food.

Dietary changes

Eat more raw foods. Cooking and canning can destroy nutrients in foods. Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables provide a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
Select organically grown foods if you can, because they have lower levels of toxins, such as pesticides and heavy metals.
Consume 25 to 30 grams of fibre per day. Whole-grain breads and cereals, beans, nuts, and some fruits and vegetables are good sources of fibre.
Drink eight to ten glasses of water each day. Increase your intake during the hot weather. Coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, and alcohol are dehydrators. Never substitute them for water.

Vegetarian diets

Leading vegetarian societies suggest that a vegetarian diet as part of a comprehensive health programme can help prevent heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. But fried foods, hydrogenated fats, and commercial meat substitutes may contain more sugar, fat and salt than a non-vegetarian diet.

If you are considering a vegetarian diet, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Do not rely on fruits and vegetables at the expense of grains and legumes.
  2. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to consume a wide range of nutrients.
  3. Tiredness, malaise, and anemia can be signs of deficiencies. Have your B12 and iron levels checked at least once a year.
  4. Consume fortified foods or take supplements to obtain the nutrients you no longer get from animal-based products, such as vitamin B12.
  5. Children, pregnant and breast-feeding women, and people recovering from illness should consult their health care practitioners.

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Dietary supplements are not substitutes for foods, nor can a person maintain good health by just taking vitamin and mineral supplements. When taken properly, however, supplements can play an important role in achieving optimum health. If you are considering nutritional supplements, keep the following in mind:

  1. Remember to consume dark green vegetables, oils, nuts, and seeds, which are sources of magnesium, fatty acids, and many other vitamins and minerals.
  2. Never “self-prescribe.” Consult a health care practitioner to determine what supplements are best for you.
  3. If you have symptoms such as headaches, chronic fatigue, or cardiac problems, seek professional advice from a health care provider who specialises in nutrition.
Further information

Department of Health:
BBC Health: