TOP 10 list for Optimal Health and Wellbeing (in order of importance):
Naturopath, Nutritionist and Wellpark Graduate Olivia Kennedy of Livs Apothecary shares her top 10 list for Optimal Health and Wellbeing. These simple tips are easy to incorporate into daily life and should help you feel great.
- Eat fruit/vegetables from each colour of the rainbow every day
Eat red, orange/yellow, green, blue/purple and white/brown colours every day. Each colour boasts different phytonutrients, which give the fruit/vegetable their colour and health benefits. Eat seasonally, locally and organically where possible.
- Drink 2+ litres of water every day
Our body is more water than anything else, it is required for transportation of nutrients, removal of wastes, regulation of body temperature through sweating, maintenance of blood circulation, and more. Our body percentage of water reduces with age, so stay hydrated to prevent aging!
- Move your body in the 6 primal movements
The 6 primal movements are push, pull, squat, lunge, twist and walk. Perform these movements regularly in isolation or combination to develop coordination, balance, stability, flexibility, strength, power and stamina. These movements can be performed using little equipment or at a gym. Track your steps with a pedometer or fitness tracker and aim for at least 10,000 steps every day.
- Eat seaweed every week
Seaweeds are vegetables from the sea, and sea vegetables are more nutritious than land vegetables. Seaweeds are rich in minerals, particularly iodine. Kelp is the highest source, 0.25g of kelp provides 590% of your daily iodine. Iodine is especially important for New Zealanders as it is lacking in our soils. It can be easily added to cooking and smoothies, so there are no excuses to not get your dose of iodine. Iodine is required by our thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone. Our thyroid gland controls our metabolic rate, energy levels and body temperature. There are many varieties of seaweeds, including nori wrapped around sushi.
- Eat 2-3 Brazil nuts every day
Brazil nuts are the richest food source of selenium. Only 2-3 per day provides your body with your daily selenium requirements. Selenium is especially important for New Zealanders as it is lacking in our soils. What a delicious and convenient way to give your body a nutrient it requires! It’s ironic that NZ farm animals are supplemented with to prevent disease, but humans give little thought to their selenium intake.
- Switch your salt
Substitute white table salt with Celtic sea salt or Himalayan rock salt. White table salt contains aluminium anti-caking agent to create its “free-flowing” characteristic. Additionally, it is bleached to achieve its glossy, white appearance. Salt should not be white, it should be grey, pink or off colour. Celtic salt is more nutritious that Himalayan salt due to its moisture, water is a carrier of minerals.
- Cod liver oil
3 in 1 functional food – omega 3, vitamin A and vitamin D (make sure you get one with added vitamin D). Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory, supports brain function and integrity of our cells (i.e. nutrients getting in and toxins getting out). Vitamin A supports our skin, eyes and immunity. Vitamin D benefits our bones and teeth, heart, and protects against cancer. Omega 3, vitamin A and vitamin D all promote healthy gut function, and Hippocrates was ahead of his time when he said over 2000 years ago “All disease begins in the gut”.
- Breathe slow and deep
Diaphragmatic breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digest and repair. Most of us live our lives in our sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for fight, fight and freeze. Diaphragmatic breathing is the simplest way to switch from your sympathetic nervous system to your parasympathetic nervous system. If you need a reminder to breathe diaphragmatically, place your hands on your belly on the hour, every hour. Breathe slowly and deeply for ten breaths with your eyes closed. This will reduce stress, while increasing your brain function and energy levels by supplying the body with fresh oxygen.
We can all feel the difference in our energy levels, mood and vitality when our sleep is compromised. Our hormones depend on a solid sleep. Hormones which regulate our appetite, increase our lean muscle tissue, and sync our circadian rhythm, are all reset during deep sleep. A minimum of 7-8 hours every night for adults is vital for optimal health and wellbeing. Check out my blog ~ Top 10 Tips to Improve Sleep.
- Love life!
Do what you love! Write down a list of everything you love to do and schedule it in your diary. Daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly depending on what it is. We feel stressed when our life is passing before our eyes and we do not feel like we have time to appreciate all of the little things. Live in the moment and be grateful for everything. People with depression live in the past and people with anxiety live in the future. “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”
Written by Olivia Kennedy, Naturopath, Nutritionist, and Herbalist Liv