Start the new year with a healthier regime

Forget the extreme detox diets, start 2009 with a healthier regime that will keep you fit and healthy all year round…here are ten top diet tips to get you started this New Year;

1. Keep hydrated! The best way to flush out the Christmas excesses is to drink lots of water.
Every process in our body occurs in a water medium. Aside from aiding in digestion and absorption
of food, water regulates body temperature and blood circulation, carries nutrients and oxygen to
cells, and removes toxins and other wastes. It’s also calorie free! Aim to drink 1.5-2L of fluid daily

2. Make sure your diet is full of colour with lots of fruit and vegetables. Ensure there is some colour
at every meal; fruit with your breakfast, salad or vegetable soups at lunchtime and fill half your
plate with vegetables at your evening meal. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low fat and filled
with important immune boosting vitamins to keep flu and colds at bay.

3. Chose fibre rich foods. Fibre clings to the more harmful products of digestion and helps to
eliminate them from the body. Fibre rich foods help you feel fuller for longer but most importantly
a high fibre diet reduces the risk of colon cancer and heart disease. Chose high fibre breakfast
cereals and go for brown bread.

4. Get Active! 41% of us who are inactive say that we have ‘no time’ to exercise. Well it’s time to
make time! Exercise will not only help you burn off those extra Christmas calories it will help boost
your mood and also protects against muscle and bone loss. We should all aim for about 4 hours of
activity per week.

5. Make sure you diet is rich in all of the B vitamins…B vitamins help us metabolise food and are
essential to mental and emotional well-being. They can be destroyed by alcohol, refined sugars
and nicotine so it is no surprise that many people may be deficient in these after the Christmas
season. Oats, bananas, dairy and green vegetables are great sources of B vitamins.

6. Reduce your salt intake…The average daily intake of salt in Ireland is 10g per day. We need to
reduce this figure to 6g or less per day (1 tsp). About 70-75% of our salt intake comes from
processed food & about a third of Irish people add salt in cooking and a third adds salt to their
food. Hide the salt shaker and reduce your intake of processed foods.

7. Reduce your caffeine intake… Caffeine is a mild stimulant but too much caffeine can elevate your
heart rate. Try cutting your intake by substituting non-caffeinated drinks for tea and coffee. E.g.
water, juice and herbal teas.

8. Reduce you alcohol intake… In small amounts alcohol can help you relax but it in larger amounts it
may increase stress as it disrupts sleep. It is a good idea to have 3-4 alcohol free days per week
and never more than 2-3 units in a night.

9. Eat less sugar… Sugary foods and drinks provide an immediate but temporary energy surge. But
once the energy surge is gone you may go looking for more sugary foods to boost your energy
level. Avoid sugary treats and drinks. Chose fruit and juices instead which will provide natural
sugars with lots of vitamins.

10. Taking supplements…vitamin supplements can play a role in your health by complementing your
regular diet. But taking a supplement does not mean you can you skip your daily servings of fruits
and vegetables! Supplements can’t replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods.
Chose a multivitamin that will provide 100% of your daily vitamin & mineral requirements.

Food & Mood – The Afternoon Show

I was invited to speak about what foods can affect our mood and thought some of the tips might be useful….if you are eeling a little low? this article will help to give you some dietary tips to help imporve your mood….

What many people do not realise is that despite depression being thought of as a strictly emotional or biochemical disorder an unhealthy diet can play a role in depression and mood swings. Patterns that may aggravate our moods include skipping meals, poor appetite, and cravings for sweets.

Carbohydrate rich foods trigger the production of serotonin and tryptophan which are chemicals that the brain produces that promote a feeling of well-being. However the type of carbohydrate you consume can influence your mood. Refined carbohydrates, primarily sugar and sugary foods, tend to provide immediate, but temporary relief. Once the benefit is gone, you may go looking for more foods to bring up your mood and energy level. Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, cereals, breads, pastas, and fruits and vegetables, are more likely to supply a moderate, but lasting effect on brain chemistry, mood, and energy level.

For example look at chocolate. Many people crave chocolate when they feel down. This can be attributed to certain alkaloids that have been isolated in chocolate that may raise brain serotonin levels. Some researchers now speculate that chocoholics may actually have a real biological basis with serotonin deficiency being one factor.

Beneficial Nutrients;

The B-Complex Vitamins

We know that B-complex vitamins are essential to mental and emotional well-being. They are considered essential vitamins. This means the body cannot make them, so we depend on our daily diet to supply them. B vitamins can be destroyed by alcohol, refined sugars, nicotine and caffeine so it is no surprise that many people in Ireland may be deficient in these.

Good dietary sources of B vitamins include oats, rye flour, eggs, bananas, meat, dairy products and wholegrains

Recent research has also indicated the importance of essential fatty acids omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in helping protect against depression and helping those already suffering from depression. Good sources include oily fish, nuts and seeds, functional foods like omega milk and omega-3 spreads.

Negative nutrients for depression include sugary foods which can aggravate mood swings, alcohol which is a natural depressant and caffeine which can deplete your stores of B vitamins.