Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the constant barrage of “health tips” we are all exposed to these days? What is the best diet? What is the newest superfood? What is the best way to exercise? The list goes on ….
Allow me to make two suggestions that may simplify this for you.
I have been practicing medicine for more than 13 years and have seen thousands of patients with a wide variety of health problems. Despite the range of conditions I see, I have found that I am making two simple changes with almost every patient, with profound effects on their health and well-being.
Eat a protein-rich, high-fat breakfast.
When people start their day with good quality protein and a healthy serving of good fats, I have seen a number of benefits:
- Insulin and other hormone levels remain balanced
- Mood improves
- Better food choices are made for the rest of the day
- Hunger and the urge to snack vanishes
- Concentration levels remain high
- Energy levels stabilize and do not fluctuate throughout the day
- People who are looking to lose weight often do so without making any other conscious change
Typical examples of such a breakfast would be:
- Three-egg omelet with avocado
- Organic lamb chops with steamed spinach (drizzled with olive oil)
- Goats cheese salad with cashew nuts and flaxseeds
Why does this have such a profound effect?
When you start the day with a bowl of sugar-filled cereal or two pieces of toast, you spike your blood sugar. This in turn raises your insulin levels to try and bring your blood sugar back down to normal. This sets off a cascade of hormonal changes in the body that negatively affects everything from your weight to your mood.
However, when you start of your day with protein and fat, rather than carbohydrates, you trigger a series of hormonal changes that sets you up for wellness and good health. This is why I find this one of the most useful changes my patients can make on their journey to optimal health.
Switch off TV, tablets, phones and laptops one hour before bed.
Modern life is full of endless things that we feel we have to do and, in reality, can never fully achieve or complete. There's always a text message, email, tweet, Facebook post, newflash that we “need” to deal with. One of the underlying causes for lots of health problems I see these days, such as anxiety, insomnia and depression, is an inability to switch off.
I've found that by switching off all electronic devices one hour (ideally two hours!) before bed, patients tend to experience higher quality relaxation, which in turn leads to higher quality sleep. For insomniacs it can result in them finally sleeping. For those patients who didn’t think they had a sleep problem, they usually come back reporting better quality sleep.
Better quality sleep in itself has many health benefits:
- Improved weight management
- Less sugar cravings
- Increased energy
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased testosterone levels
- Decreased tendency to overeat
- Enhanced recovery from training
You may also find you reduce levels of anxiety and depression when you get better sleep. Many people believe that achieving better health is too difficult or not worth it, but by making small changes you'll be on your way in no time!
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