We are halfway through The Healthy Habits Challenge!
This week we talk about the importance of knowing how to cook; trying new foods as well as increasing our level of physical activity. If you would like to boost your overall wellness pick any of the following healthy habits and gradually start to integrate it into your daily routine.
Healthy Habit #13
Variety is the spice of life.
On day 4 of The Healthy Habits Challenge, we talked about the benefits of increasing our fruits and vegetable intake. However, did you know that consuming a VARIETY of fruits and vegetables is just as important as the AMOUNT of fruit and vegetables we consume?
Not only that but when we consume a variety of fruits and vegetables we generally end up eating more fruits and vegetables (Hoy, K., 2020). If you have a picky eater at home, increasing the variety of fruits and vegetables at their disposal may end up increasing their overall fruit and vegetable intake. Now that’s a win-win!!
Studies so far have found that consuming a higher variety of fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduce risk of :
- Lung cancer, specifically squamous cell carcinomas, in smokers (Büchner, F. L. et al., 2010),
- Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (Jeurnink, S. M. et al., 2012),
- Type 2 diabetes (Almeida-de-Souza, J. et al., 2018) and
- Lower inflammation, specifically CRP (Almeida-de-Souza, J. et al., 2018).
One theory suggests that when we eat a variety of fruits and vegetables we end up consuming a greater diversity of health-promoting bioactive compounds (phytonutrients) like bioflavonoids, anthocyanins, phenolic acids and polyphenols (Büchner, F. L. et al., 2010).
Healthy Habit #14
Physical inactivity and excessively elevated blood sugar following a meal are two major independent risk factors for developing type 2-diabetes and heart disease (Solomon, T. P. J.et al., 2018).
Studies have found that walking for just 10-minutes approximately 30 minutes after eating a meal can significantly reduce blood sugar.
These 10-minute post-meal walks were just as efficient at reducing blood sugar compared to a single 30-minute walk after the evening meal (Shambrook, P. et al., 2020).:
Note that, individuals with the following risk factors have an increased risk for developing diabetes later in life.
- Overweight or obese;
- Have a family history of diabetes;
- Consume a diet high in refined carbohydrates;
- Had or have diabetes during their pregnancy;
- Have a sedentary lifestyle; or
- Struggle with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
Short bouts of exercise after each meal may be a helpful strategy in reducing blood sugar levels after meals thus reducing the risk of developing type 2-diabetes and heart disease.
And is not the bodily habit spoiled by rest and idleness, but preserved for a long time by motion and exercise?Plato
Healthy Habit #15
Making food is something that I am very passionate about. I have so many beautiful childhood memories that involve making food with my family.
Now just because I love cooking and baking it certainly does not mean that all my dishes turn out exactly as planned. But that’s the beauty about cooking, you can learn so much from a recipe gone wrong.
You learn new skills, you learn about the recipe itself and most importantly you learn what you like and don’t like.
Cooking and baking are not innate skills, they are learned. If you have the skills and passion for cooking pass it along especially to the young people in your life.
Being able to make good food for yourself is a basic life skill that we should all possess.
Don’t know how to cook? No problem, there are so many free resources online. Even better, give your family members a call and ask them to talk you through a family favourite recipe.