Vitamin Expert
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The health benefits of living an uncomplicated life

Whilst we don’t want to be thinking back to days of lockdowns, many people commented how much simpler life was during that time.  Food for thought maybe.  With than in mind, it’s National Simplicity Day during July which perhaps provides an opportunity to uncomplicate our lives and de-stress. With this can come the enjoyment of life’s simple pleasures, including nature’s gift to us of food, herbs, and botanicals.

Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares her five top ways to simplify your life and improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Enjoy simple, plant-based foods

From a nutritional perspective, eating foods in their natural state, free from processing, will always provide the greatest benefits to health.  Any form of processing alters food, reduces vitamin, mineral and nutrient content and can even make the food potentially detrimental to health.  This is certainly the case with hydrogenated fats which can fur up the arteries.

A range of green vegetables

Vegetables that are locally grown provide the cornerstone to our health, particularly the green variety.  Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, courgettes, beans and peas, are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.  Not only do they provide loads of essential vitamin C, but plenty of antioxidant power too.  And if you’re green adverse, why not disguise them in soups or curries.  Sometimes adding stronger flavours can be the difference between success and failure when it comes to eating our greens.

Drink more water

If there is one of the simplest, cheapest and most beneficial things we can do, it’s just to drink more water.  The difference in energy levels, mood, concentration, hormone balance, weight loss and much more can be astounding.

A glass of water

Caffeinated and fizzy drinks just don’t hit the spot when it comes to hydrating the body correctly.  However, it’s important to drink filtered water in some form if possible and we all need a minimum of 1.5 – 2 litres daily, with much more required in the heat, or with heavy exercise.  Don’t just take my word for it, give it a try!

Embrace nature’s botanical jewels

Clearly, there are thousands of herbs and spices that nature has provided, but some are more readily available and beneficial to health than others.

Ginger root and groud ginger spice in wooden pot

Ginger, for example, is very easy to include in stir fry recipes, or can be enjoyed as a tea with lemon.  It’s great for the gut and can help reduce aches and pains down to its anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger also helps keep unwanted bacteria and viruses at bay.

A bowl of garlic

Garlic is another super-versatile herb that is so easy to include in many dishes, with additional health benefits for the heart and digestive health.

Keep gut health simple

There’s so much information now around gut health, it can be overwhelming.  However, if you can include some of the foods I’ve talked about, you’ll be feeding your gut microbiome perfectly.

A range of probiotic fermented foods

Another really easy, tasty, and quick way of uprating probiotic diversity in the gut is to include fermented foods. Kefir is one that comes in many different shapes and sizes, but try to choose a natural brand, without sweeteners: you’ll enjoy the additional protein too.  You can add it to smoothies, have it on breakfast cereal or just eat it with some fruit and nuts.  Simples!

Don’t shy away from gentle exercise and breathing 

Just as the body needs to be active, it also needs effective rest and relaxation.  If you’re taking a lot out of yourself, not just through exercise, but perhaps through general stress too, you need to give back to your body.

Enjoying some Pilates or yoga is a great way of stretching, relaxing and improving muscle function.  Additionally, whilst breathing techniques are integral to yoga sessions, doing your own breathing exercises will also help the stress response.

Woman doing yoga standing with hands in prayer position

Keep it simple with some deep belly breathing: breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds and breath out for six seconds.  Repeat this for a couple of minutes. This can help the body to get out of ‘fight or flight’ mode, otherwise known as the stress response.

It’s the simple pleasures in life that can make a huge difference to your wellbeing so embrace simplicity whenever you can.

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