Healthy Habits To Make This Year

1. SIP AWAY STRESS

Green tea is about to knocked off its perch as the go-to defrazzle brew and experts are currently bigging up the soothing benefits of passionflower tea for 2016. It is a natural source of a flavonoid called chrysin, said to have calming, sleep-inducing and menopausal-relieving effects. Find it in Pukka Relax tea, £2.39 (pukkaherbs.com).

2. KILL BUGS NATURALLY

With many illness-causing germs increasingly resistant to antibiotics, it is comforting to know kitchen staples like garlic and oregano can help inhibit bacteria and boost your immunity. Oregano oil has been found to be effective in treating coughs, colds, flu, fungal and urinary tract infections. Get it in: Good n Natural Oil of Oregano capsules, £9.99 (Holland & Barrett). Garlic’s potent antiviral properties help to stop a virus before it can make you ill. Aim for a clove or two a day.

3. LOSE A STONE IN A YEAR

An interesting study from Loughborough University where participants were asked to swap a confectionary snack for a handful of berries found they went on to eat around 134 less calories at their next meal. Making this simple swap could potentially reduce your calorie intake by over 900 calories a week, leading you to lose around 1lb a month or a stone in a year. You just might like to swap your afternoon cake/biscuit for some seasonal berries.

Go to seasonalberries.co.uk/snack-smart

4. FIRE UP YOUR ENERGY

If you want to ramp up the vitamin hit of your juices or smoothies add this year’s green powdered superfood Moringa. This plant, native to parts of Africa and Asia, is dense in cell-protecting antioxidants (boasting six times the antioxidant content of Gogi berries) and is said to increase energy, libido, improve sleep and relieve anxiety and depression. Find it in Aduna Moringa Green Superleaf Powder, £7.99 (Holland & Barrett).

5. RAMP UP YOUR WATER

Yes, yes you know you need to drink water but many of us plain don’t like it when it is, erm, plain water. If this is you, try one of the new manganese-rich (good for bone health and healthy skin) tree waters like maple or birch. Find it in Drinkmaple, £2.50 for 250ml (drinkmaple.eu) or Tapped Organic Birch Water, £2.49 for 250ml (Nutricentre.com) – they both have a sort of liquidised caramel wafer flavour.

6. GET A BETTER VIT HIT

Sugar might have taken over as the new salt as a health baddie, but that doesn’t mean we should stop eating natural sugars from vitamin-rich fruit. BUT the latest expert advice is to add your fruit to veg or savoury dishes. This will give you all the fruit’s nutrients whilst lowering its glycemic index: so preventing a sugar spike and giving you more balanced blood sugar (energy) levels. Throw together: roasted fennel, beetroot and apple, say. Add pears to a tomato and cucumber salad. Make a salsa with fresh mango or pineapple, add pomegranate seeds onto baked aubergine or dried fruit to homemade coleslaw or Middle Eastern-inspired dishes.

7. IMPROVE IMMUNITY

Medicinal mushrooms like Reishi have been dubbed “the kale of 2016” and more enticingly “the eternal youth mushroom”. These little beauties are rammed with antioxidants, help boost your immunity, keep the nervous system healthy and you calmer under stress. Go for organically grown as mushrooms absorb whatever they grow. Find them in organic supplement form (take one or two daily) from Hifas da Terra Mico-Rei, £55.50 (hifasdaterra.co.uk).

8. GET FIT ON THE REBOUND

Off the back of last year’s hugely popular adult colouring in phenomenon, the trend for us to unleash our ‘inner child’ continues with the resurgence of rebounding and/or trampolining. Pelvic floors notwithstanding, it’s fun, can burn up to 550 calories in 45 minutes and after a few sessions you should see improved muscle definition and posture. Jump on the trend at home from maximuslife.co.uk or go to trampolining-online.co.uk to find a class near you.

9. GET A LESS GURGLY GUT

If you are prone to tummy trouble, tucking into more fermented foods (like the humble gherkin) should boost your levels of beneficial gut bacteria and help improve bloating, wind, diarrhoea and stomach sensitivity. Other good sources include sauerkraut, kefir, miso, sourdough bread and cottage cheese.

10. GO RAW

Honey has been used for centuries for its immune-boosting, cough-suppressing, wound-healing, anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-fungal benefits. But a lot of the honey in the shops is filtered and heat treated and loses many of its phytonutrients and anti-bacterial properties in the process. Raw honey, on the other hand, hasn’t, and contains its full complement of antioxidants and enzymes so get into the habit of having yours in the raw. Where to find it? Local farmers’ markets and health food shops or try Steens Raw Manuka Honey 15+, £21 for 340g (Waitrose)

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