I saw on the front of today’s Daily Mail a headline for 25 health resolutions. I didn’t read the article but if you are looking for some suggestions here are 3 great ideas for New Year resolutions to help you be healthier in 2015.
Healthy New Year Resolution 1. Go Gluten-free
If you have irritable bowel syndrome this would help many of you. Many gluten containing grains are high in fermentable carbohydrates and choosing a low fermentable carb diet (low FODMAP) helps 75% of IBS sufferers. Some with headaches and migraine are gluten sensitive and can find that going gluten-free improves their symptoms.
Those with auto-immune conditions (think Crohns, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, type 1 diabetes, and many more) may find relief from an auto-immune protocol which includes going gluten-free. Have a look here www.thepaleomom.com/autoimmunity/the-autoimmune-protocol
In Dr Perlmutter’s 2014 book Grain Brain he thinks that in the gluten sensitive the brain is always affected. Gluten sensitivity is not just coeliac disease, which is the extreme end of gluten sensitivity and affects 1 in a 100 people, but could be many more of us.
The gut wall has tight junctions between the cells. A Professor Fasano found that there is a protein called zonulin that regulates the gut’s tight junctions. Gluten triggers the release of zonulin. This can open up spaces between the cells that allow particles to pass through. The immune system thinks the particles are foreign invaders and creates antibodies and an inflammatory response. This can cause food sensitivities but also (in genetically susceptible individuals) intestinal, inflammatory and auto-immune disorders can occur. Fasano says that no-one can properly digest gluten as we do not have the enzymes to break it down completely. It depends upon how our intestinal walls close after eating it and how our immune system reacts to it.
Try going gluten-free for 8 weeks and see how you feel.
Healthy New Year Resolution 2. Pick an Exercise Challenge
You are more likely to stick to an exercise plan if you set yourself a goal, I mean a fitness challenge. This gives an added reason for why you get up and go out to train. You can watch your progress. In fact writing down, or logging, the exercise or activity you do is also motivating. So choose an event or challenge that you could compete in, and tell everyone. Telling people makes it ‘real’, they will ask you about it which holds you accountable and means you are more likely to do it. In turn you could ask them for charity sponsorship. This can also work well if you do it with a friend or family member as you can encourage each other. Then you have a ‘buddy’ to encourage you with the day-to-day training and motivation.
Healthy New Year Resolution 3. Give Yourself a Health Check
You can do your own health check partly at home and partly with a NHS Health Check. The Health Check is for those 40 years and over and involves taking blood pressure and a blood test to review the levels of the fats and sugars in your blood in order to assess your risk of diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and dementia. See more about the test here http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/nhs-health-check/Pages/NHS-Health-Check.aspx
Take your own weight, height, waist measurement and hip measurement and calculate your BMI and waist/hip ratio. For a more detailed check list covering stress, dental check-ups and looking for worrying symptoms see this earlier blog https://www.zfnutrition.co.uk/health-check/ .
One thing I would add to that list is that whilst many have a tendency to being an owl or a lark it makes sense to work with your body’s natural body clock. That’s because our bodies have natural rhythms to hormones that control our appetite, digestion and lots of body processes that keep us healthy. When it’s morning turn the lights on, open the curtains and get outside. Then when it’s evening time dim the lights, wind down (screens off!) and an hour’s sleep before midnight may be worth two after midnight.
If you know where you are at you can then work out if there are areas you’d like to improve on in 2015. If you’d like advice for eating gluten-free, want help with a health check or setting health goals then please contact me for a chat or advice via the website.