Ever wonder how much nutritionists practice what they preach? Below are six habits nutritionists swear by as non-negotiables every day.
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Always drink more water than you think
There is no universal set number of glasses of water you should drink each day.
A number of factors come into play when it comes to deciphering how much water you should be drinking. Many health and lifestyle factors affect the amount of water your body needs – ranging from how much exercise you do, to the climate you live in.
For most of us, we’re probably not drinking quite enough water, which interestingly can be linked to increased cravings and overeating.
A report by the National Academies of Sciences found women should consume a total of approximately 2.7 litres of water from drinks and food each day, while men should get 3.7 litres daily. These guidelines are based on the average well-hydrated person and don’t take into account other elements such as if you are in hot weather or exercising.
If you know you don’t drink enough H2O or often feel dehydrated, here are three simple ways to remember to hydrate more:
- Set a glass of water by your bed so you’ll drink it first thing in the morning.
- If you sit at a desk all day, keep a bright water bottle nearby to remind you to keep sipping.
- There are heaps of apps that help you to drink more water – try one of these to help tracking your water consumption each day.
Of course, some (realistically most) weeks the days just get away on us and we don’t have time to meal plan ahead of time. However, planning out a few breakfasts, lunches, and dinners each week means you’re mindful and deliberate about what you eat. Being more organised with meals can help you prioritise foods that give you the nutrients you need. Moreover, meal planning means more home cooking, which helps you stay connected to food quality and portion control. When meal planning, make an effort to eat with the seasons for maximum benefits (and flavour). Bonus: Planning your meals also means you’re less likely to spend money on takeout and delivery.
Get enough sleep
Did you know getting enough sleep is directly linked to the food you crave? The benefits of adequate sleep cannot be overstated. The importance of eight hours quality shut-eye extends well beyond just banishing under-eye circles and improved mood. First, a good night’s sleep keeps excess cortisol at bay. When it comes to dietary health, high cortisol levels are linked to insulin resistance, sugar cravings (including late-night snacking) and weight gain. Next, studies show that anywhere from two to six consecutive nights of inadequate sleep can inhibit leptin (the hormone that aids in inhibiting hunger) and promote ghrelin (the hormone that stimulates appetite).
Quality sleep is an integral component of a healthy lifestyle, benefiting your weight, heart, mind and overall wellbeing. Have you ever found yourself ravenous when you’re tired? There’s a reason for that. Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain so when you’re feeling fatigued, certain hormones go up in your blood, which throw your appetite all out of whack. So, before you start on some crazy diet, you might want to plan an earlier bedtime first!
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults aged 18 to 64 should get between seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Struggle to get sleep? Try one of the sleep apps to promote a good quality night’s rest.
Experiment in the kitchen
Challenging yourself in the kitchen can encourage better nutrition habits. Try committing to learning a new recipe each week or mastering a new culinary skill. An added bonus is it can also foster greater connections by cooking with loved ones.
Did you know that our bodies are meant to eat with the seasons? Eating fruits and vegetables in season provides your body with necessary nutrients appropriate for the time of year. Eating seasonally also means maximum flavour, health benefits, affordability and eco sustainability.
Listen to your gut
Health really does stem from within. The gut, often referred to as the “forgotten organ”, plays a vital role in your body. It helps to control digestion, regulate your metabolism and boost your immune system. When your gut is disrupted, like after a stomach bug, it’s more at risk of serious diseases such as obesity and diabetes. To improve the overall health of your gut, eat probiotic-rich foods like yoghurt, kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut. Alternatively (or in addition), try adding a supplement to your diet like our Multi-Flora Probiotic or High Potency Probiotic Support, which both assist with balancing good and bad bacteria in the gut.