While these tips are simple and easy to follow, the key is to make them a part of your daily regimen.
1. Drink more often
Water, that is! One of the quickest ways to feel a boost in your energy levels and to notice a difference in your skin health is to increase your water intake to two to two-and-a-half litres of water per day. A boost in hydration will also help ease joint pain and aid in digestion. If you want to take your health up another notch, try squeezing fresh lemon wedges into your water daily, whether it’s hot or cold.
2. Take vitamin supplements wisely
While I am an advocate of getting the majority of your nutrition from food, I am also aware this is not always easy to do, due to a hectic pace of life, stress or travel. When it comes to supplements, it's best to think about vitamins and minerals as part of a powerful nutritional safety net that can add enormous benefits to your health. While supplements are not intended to replace food, they can definitely play an important role in overall health, anti-aging and prevention. The four supplements I recommend you take daily are:
• A high-quality multivitamin (to be taken with food)
• A distilled fish oil supplement (2 grams per day)
• Vitamin D (2,000 IU daily – especially during the winter months)
• Probiotics (the "good bacteria" that can aid in digestive health)
Be sure to talk to your doctor to see if a calcium supplement is advised, as it is dependent on age.
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3. Eat more vegetables
While I'm sure you've been told to eat your greens, I cannot emphasize it enough. Green foods such as broccoli, rapini, spinach and kale contain powerful antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory, alkaline and chock-full of minerals and vitamins. Whether you have a leafy green salad, add greens to your eggs or stir-fry, or blend spinach into your morning smoothie, it is important to make every effort to eat your greens.
4. Eat light in the evening
There is an old saying that states: "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper." Unfortunately, in North America, most of us start of our day fairly well by eating a balanced breakfast, but don't finish it off quite so well at dinnertime. The key to weight loss and maintaining overall health is to eat lightly in the evening. Instead of gobbling down a large plate of pasta, stick to lean proteins, lots of vegetables and lighter meals come evening time.
5. Listen to your body
We are not all created equal when it comes to health and nutrition. Some people are sensitive to gluten, while others may react to dairy or wheat. At its core level, the food on your plate is meant to energize your body and make you look and feel your very best. If you feel tired, bloated or unwell after eating, pay attention to the food you've just consumed – and avoid it in the future. Stick to eating energizing foods that are good for your body, such as vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, essential fats and a modest amount of whole grains.
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Dr. Joey Shulman is the founder of the Shulman Weight Loss Clinic. Her latest book, The Metabolism-Boosting Diet (Collins Canada, 2012), is in stores now. For more information, visit drjoey.com.