It’s a catch-22. When life’s hec­tic, you re­ally need to take care of your health — but you’re just too busy and stressed. Luck­ily, there is a way for­ward.

Healthy Food Guide (Australia) - - FEATURES -

1 Sched­ule ex­er­cise time

When life’s busy, it’s easy to put ex­er­cise on the back burner. But when you ex­er­cise, your brain re­leases hor­mones that ac­tu­ally help you cope bet­ter with stress. So make sure you sched­ule ex­er­cise into your week. Think of it as your big must-keep ap­point­ment with well­be­ing. And re­mem­ber — some­thing is bet­ter than noth­ing.

2 Pre­pare grab-andgo meals

There’s noth­ing bet­ter than open­ing the fridge and hav­ing some­thing healthy and de­li­cious look­ing back at you. A lit­tle bit of week­end food prep can save time dur­ing the week, giv­ing you healthy week­day op­tions when hunger strikes.

3 Prac­tise deep breath­ing

It al­most seems too good to be true that some­thing as sim­ple as breath­ing can re­duce stress, but it can (learn how breathe on page 24). Deep belly breath­ing ac­ti­vates the parasym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tem, which helps us de-stress and re­lax.

4 Slow cook dou­ble din­ners

Slow-cooker meals are in­cred­i­bly con­ve­nient and easy — plus it’s al­ways nice to walk in the door with din­ner al­most ready. If your morn­ings are busy, pre­pare the recipe at night and re­frig­er­ate; then pop it in the slow cooker in the morn­ing. Make dou­ble the recipe and freeze half, so there’s al­ways enough for two din­ners.

5 Love your gut!

Ev­i­dence is emerg­ing about the close re­la­tion­ship be­tween gut health and mood dis­or­ders. On­go­ing stress has a neg­a­tive ef­fect on the bal­ance of the tril­lions of bac­te­ria in your gut, where much of your body’s im­mune re­sponse oc­curs.

An­i­mal and hu­man tri­als have found that cer­tain pro­bi­otics po­ten­tially help with anx­i­ety. Pro­bi­otic foods con­tain live bac­te­ria that add to your gut’s pop­u­la­tion of good bac­te­ria, while pre­bi­otic foods feed good bac­te­ria so they can thrive.

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