Happy World Health Day! As one of Toronto’s favourite health food stores, this day is pretty near and dear to our hearts. We’ve been in the game since 2009 and, in that time, one of the most regular questions we get is, “What’s the best thing I can do to improve my health NOW?”
While health is as individual as the people on the planet, we’ve always done our best to come up with an answer. Today, in honour of World Health Day, I’m going to give you my top [x] things you can do right now for your health.
World Health Day Tip #1 – Drink Water
I know it sounds almost embarrassingly simple, but you’d be shocked at the number of people who drink absolutely NO water in a day. Seriously. You probably know that about 60% of your body is water. Most of us, however, just don’t get enough.
While the ‘8 glasses a day’ rule may be out of date, it’s important for each of us to get the amount that’s right for us. Here are some common complaints that may improve with increased water intake:
- digestive complaints/constipation
- skin problems/acne
- joint problems
- cholesterol issues
- high blood pressure
If you can’t bring yourself to drink plain water, try adding lemon or other fruits, Ener-C powder, or brewing an herbal tea.
World Health Day Tip #2 – Don’t Fear The Fat
Ever since the 90s made dietary fat public enemy #1, a lot of us have shied away from fat. Similar to water, each cell in our bodies uses fat to function.
Eating adequate amounts of fat can help with brain function, joint health, and helps keep us feeling full longer. It’s easy to get good fats in your diet by including nuts and seeds, using your favourite oil or butter to cook, and including fatty foods like fish, coconut, and avocado.
World Health Day Tip #3 – Eat Vegetables
Again, it seems simple, but there are lots of people who just don’t like vegetables. I think part of the problem is that vegetables have become an “all or nothing” food – either you eat them lightly steamed, or you may as well not eat them at all.
But any vegetable is a good vegetable. If the choice is broccoli with cheese sauce, or no broccoli at all, add the cheese sauce. Heck, even our AMAZING Bubbies Pickles count as vegetables. Find a way to make vegetables delicious for you, and embrace it. Just about anything tastes good dipped in hummus. I’m sorry to report that ketchup probably doesn’t count as a serving of veg, but mushrooms on pizza does!
Eating vegetables is the best way to get our vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Make sure to include them every day.
World Health Day Tip #4 – Eat Probiotic Foods
The more scientists study the gut microbiome, the more we learn about the importance of gut bacteria. Probiotic supplements are great, but they can be prohibitively expensive for a lot of the population.
Including probiotic foods (yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.) in your diet can help boost your immunity, mental health and, yes, digestion.
World Health Day Tip #5 – Take Your Vitamin D
In our corner of the world, we just don’t get enough Vitamin D. As with probiotics, the research on the importance of Vitamin D gets more plentiful with each passing year.
In addition to mood, Vitamin D may help with cholesterol levels, hormone balance, and so much more. Some health experts recommend taking Vitamin D year round, but it’s especially important to supplement during the Canadian winter months. Vitamin D3 is the best form for humans to take – we assimilate more of it than we do of D2.
World Health Day Tip #6 – Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in trying to perfect your physical health that you completely neglect your mental health. In fact, obsession with physical health can even be detrimental to your mental health. Pay attention to the amount of time you devote to each.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather reach the end of my days happy than miserable with a six pack. If you’re struggling with your mental health, resources are hard to come by. It’s getting better in Toronto, with mental health drop-in centres, and Stella’s Place, for those 18-29. If you’re outside that age bracket, contact CAMH for options.
All of these tips won’t be right for everybody, but we encourage you to work with your healthcare team to discover what’s right for YOUR body. Did we miss anything? What are your top tips for health?
About The Author:
Kelly Boaz, CNP
Kelly is a holistic nutritionist, specializing in eating disorder recovery and food freedom. She is also a public speaker (TEDx King St. West, TDSB) and a writer. Learn more about Kelly, and about booking private consultations at kellyboaz.com Twitter: @kelly_boaz Facebook: /KellyBoazDotCom