As another year passes by, this new year probably holds a little more significance than most in the past. The struggles of 2020 have undoubtedly made us more resilient and more importantly, made us understand the need for being resilient.
Here are 5 non-negotiable habits we should adopt in 2021 to become fitter, stronger, and healthier.
1. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower the risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect on blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check.
Fruits and vegetables contain important vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals. They also contain fibers.
2. Drop the Smoothie
One of the biggest health benefits of fruits and vegetables is the presence of a large number of fibers. Blended fruit isn't nutritionally equivalent to the same fruit left whole, according to some experts. Although, of course, some properties remain present, including soluble fiber, blending can break down insoluble fiber. Moreover, smoothies might have an excess of calories and sugars.
An average store-bought smoothie may use excess amounts than the recommended portion of fruit, such as three whole bananas to the recommended one-half.
A glass of smoothie will have more amounts of the whole fruit than we’d normally have in one sitting.
3. Monitor Micronutrients
Micronutrients are one of the major groups of nutrients your body needs. They include vitamins and minerals. Vitamins are necessary for energy production, immune function, blood clotting, and other functions. Meanwhile, minerals play an important role in growth, bone health, fluid balance, and several other processes. Together, micronutrients also play an important role in your hormonal or endocrinological response. However, our modern lifestyle has drastically affected the levels of micronutrients in our bodies. For example, Vitamin D. In a 2018 paper published by the Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences found that a prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency ranged from 40% to 99% in some studies, with most of the studies reporting a prevalence of 80%–90%. Other minerals like zinc, boron, or magnesium help perform important body functions.
Please consult a physician to understand your body’s micronutrient needs.
Eat Your Dinner Early
If you have ever seen a nutritionist, chances are they have advised you to eat a light and early dinner. There are a plethora of benefits of having an early dinner. According to a study published today in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, eating a late dinner is associated with weight gain and high blood sugar levels regardless of the meal is the same that you would have eaten earlier.
Having an early dinner (3 hours before bed) also decreases the risk of heart attack significantly.
Adopt Healthy Fasts
Fasting has become increasingly popular over the years, especially among the health community.
Research has shown that fasting can help lose weight, regulate blood pressure, cholesterol, and improve blood sugar levels. Several studies have found that fasting may improve blood sugar control, which could be especially useful for those at risk of diabetes. Some studies have found that fasting can help decrease levels of inflammation and help promote better health. One study in 50 healthy adults showed that intermittent fasting for one month significantly decreased levels of inflammatory markers. Studies have shown that inflammation might give rise to chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. However, like most health trends. It is not one size fits all. Please consult a physician before starting any fast.
(The author is a lawyer turned business intelligence consultant turned chef. He also designs weekly and monthly meal plans for clients and conducts baking and cooking workshops.)