how to feel on top of the world Wellness boosters and energy enhancers
Welcome to your health and wellness game changers this winter
FORGET AGE, keep driving forward
you’re only as old as you feel – so forget about the number. Many of us take better care of ourselves in middle age than any previous generation, which can lead to age reversal. “there are two types of age,” explains Dr Emma Derbyshire, nutritionist at equazen.co.uk. “one is chronological age, ie your birthday age; and biological age, which can be calculated by measuring the length of part of your individual DNa called telomeres.” the longer these are, the younger your biological age. so, if you follow a healthy lifestyle – eating well, exercising regularly and enjoying life – your biological age may well be younger than your chronological age! Plenty of companies now offer DNa testing, such as lifelength.com
ENJOY CARBS (and get thicker hair!)
a balanced eating plan will help to support healthy hair growth. “In terms of what we eat, our hair is the last to receive nutrients we consume,” says anabel Kingsley, trichologist at Philip Kingsley. “Hair cells are the second-fastest cells the body produces, meaning their energy needs are great. but carbs may be the answer. add a helping to every meal but keep portions modest,” anabel suggests. Excellent sources include brown rice, pasta, wholewheat toast, potatoes and porridge. Do include protein too – fish, seafood, eggs, lean meat, poultry, quinoa, lowfat cottage cheese, nuts and tofu, and include at least a palm sized portion of protein with your breakfast and lunch.
EAT TO BEAT inflammation
acute inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury and illness. Chronic inflammation, however, harms healthy cells over time and is increased by factors like obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol and pollution. It can result in fatigue and joint pain, and has also been linked to alzheimer’s. Making smart food choices can help keep it in check, so make high antioxidants a priority, as they ease inflammation. Good shopping list choices are spinach, aubergine, pineapple, ginger, celery and green tea. >>
TRY something novel
stimulate your creativity and imagination by trying something completely new. Why not try out trampolining for a great way to exercise and have fun, learn a new instrument, or take a life drawing class? When you tap into your creativity, studies show that stress levels reduce and you experience fewer symptoms of depression. “being creative allows us to express and process our emotions, tap into our childhood sense of exploration and wonder, and focus on the moment – the perfect antidote to the dull winter evenings,” says dr emma derbyshire. “Challenging our brains beyond what they are normally used to gives both brain power and social relationships a boost. as we get older, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. there may be a sport or craft that we have never quite got round to trying.” Check out groups on Facebook.
SWERVE SAD (seasonal affective disorder)
twenty per cent of us brits suffer from seasonal affective disorder (sad), meaning the cold weather can lead to heightened feelings of depression, lethargy and irritability. these feelings may worsen as we’re reluctant to leave our warm homes to tackle the harsh weather, and being less active and experiencing less daylight worsens the cycle. Instead, embrace a bit of fresh air and exercise. “Going for a stroll outside, doing a bit of mild exercise and walking the dog can have a huge impact on your mood,” says transcranial magnetic stimulation practitioner Chloe Ward (smarttms.co.uk). “sunlight and fresh air can have amazing benefits for your health and wellbeing, boosting levels of vitamin d and serotonin, and helping you to de-stress and unwind. being in nature has been proven to reduce stress levels, so even if you’re a city dweller, make time to get outdoors and explore. Wrap up warm and get outside – you might be surprised by just how good you feel afterwards.”
Fountain of youth
Grandchildren may contribute to longevity. recent research has found that those who babysat grandkids on a regular basis had a 37% lower risk of dying during the 20-year study period. experts credit the emotional lift and physical activity as factors along with the deep sense of purpose it provides.
MAKE Winter fun
don’t give in to feelings of dreariness as winter nights draw in. Instead, cherish home time and make a quiet night in cosy and full of healthgiving benefits. take time to freshen up the house, put out some soft rugs and cushions, and create a perfect nest. make yourself a nourishing warm drink and invite a friend over for a chat or a movie. perhaps you could find a new healthy recipe and bake some healthy treats for the week ahead? “Home time is reinvigorating,” says dr emma derbyshire, “it should reset your emotions, leaving you feeling calm.”
MEDITATE for your heart
transcendental meditation may lower your blood pressure, a recent study review suggests. researchers found that tm – a mindfulness technique in which you silently concentrate on a mantra, phrase or word – can reduce blood pressure readings by amounts that are comparable to those produced by lifestyle changes such as exercising more, eating more healthily and losing weight. the practice shouldn’t replace traditional treatments, but can serve as a strong complementary tool. learn more at tm.org
Quick Fixes For health glitches
✢ Growling Tummy drink a glass of water, as a noisy tummy is not only a sign that you’re hungry, but thirsty too.
✢ Twitching EYE step away from reading anything for a full 20 minutes. devices cause eye fatigue, which is why this tends to happen at the end of the day.
✢ Cracking Joints
You may need to increase activity levels, according to personal trainer annelies harte of third space gym. “the more you move, the more lubricated and less stiff joints are and, after a few weeks of consistent exercise, you may see a big improvement.”
For any ongoing health concerns, contact your GP. w&h