A New Start for 2021

January 1, 2021

Looking forward to good health in the new year

It’s 2021! Looks like we made it! Let’s hope we can all keep taking strides forward to a positive, healthy and safe new year. However you mark it, we wish you well.

For many people, 2020 was the year they focussed on things like hand washing, immune health, mental health and overall wellness in a way that they hadn’t done before. It is clear that this newfound awareness is going to be worth keeping up as we head into 2021. We may all be glad to see the back of last year, but it is important to remember that we will all still need to take some responsibility for our own wellbeing and consideration for those around us, whether it be a family member, a colleague at work or the places we visit.

For many people, 2020 was the year they focussed on things like hand washing, immune health, mental health and overall wellness in a way that they hadn’t done before.

Simple steps can make a big difference. A new year is often seen as a great opportunity for a new start, it’s funny how just a change of a day can be motivational, but it can. If you like to see it as a new beginning, why not set yourself some health goals that are achievable and will make you feel good about yourself?

We hear so often that a healthy diet should underpin just about everything we do, and it should. But it is easier said than done, especially when aiming to feed a family with a variety of different tastes too. Why not aim to introduce one new food a week? Not too much pressure on everyone, easy to do and doesn’t have to be too costly. Perhaps each week a different family member can choose the food, the deal being that everyone has to at least try it. Even if you are planning meals just for one or two people, you can still make a plan to discover something new each week. A great way to broaden your food variety and at the same time, if you choose a healthy or fresh food, broaden your nutrient intake too. Try a new fruit or vegetable, a fermented food or perhaps a new grain. Have some fun and tick off your new foods as you go.

Achieving goals, however small, can make us feel good and that promotes a positive effect on our health as the body releases endorphins, happy hormones, when we feel a sense of achievement or happiness. So many of us don’t drink enough fluid during the day and end up dehydrated. This can make us feel tired and not concentrating properly. It can also affect our digestion and skin health too. If you think you are not consuming enough liquid, try adding an extra glass or two or water to your intake every day. Maybe even a herbal tea or two, peppermint after dinner, chamomile or lemon balm in the evening, are good choices. Find some top tips on finding the right balance for you, here.

Are you good at taking supplements every day or it is a case of when you remember? Thinking of keeping ourselves in good health, it is worth remembering the nutrients that contribute to the normal functioning of our immune system. This is the first line of defence in keeping us well and fighting off invading viruses and bugs. Making sure that your diet is rich in foods containing nutrients such as vitamin C and D and the mineral Zinc helps the body maintain that normal function. If you feel that you might be missing out on these nutrients in your diet, a supplement is a great way of topping up.

Vitamin C is one of the most researched vitamins there is, the eminent scientist Linus Pauling devoted a lifetime to researching it and finding the best way to take it, along with Mattais Rath  the research suggested that combining it with calcium and magnesium ascorbates, was an effective way to absorb and utilise it.

Vitamin D was barely out of the news last year and rightly so. A vitamin that plays many roles in the body and often thought of just for bones and bone health, it has a much bigger role in the body. The NHS and Public Health England are recommending that everyone takes vitamin D daily. The government is also going to begin distributing vitamin D to our most vulnerable people. At a time when we really want to stay in our best health, it is an important vitamin to add to your regime. Whether you take drops of capsules, it is important to take it regularly. D3 is considered the easiest to absorb and the form most closely resembling our own vitamin D. Often from lanolin derived from sheep’s wool, it is now also available in a vegan form from lichen. When using a vegan form, ensure that it is sustainably harvested. Drops are an easy way to get children to take it.

Vitamin D has rarely been out of the news this year, it is now recommended that we take it every day.

Zinc is a mineral that is found in wholegrains and seafoods amongst others, if you find you are not eating these foods, a supplement is a good idea. Zinc is involved in over 200 processes in the body including the normal function of the immune system. In the body, the minerals Zinc and Copper are in a balance, so it is always a good idea to ensure that your supplement contains Copper too.

Of course, you can support all nutritional and wellness regimes with a multivitamin and mineral supplement. You will then get a variety of nutrients to support the body, look for ones with the vitamins and minerals in their active forms for better utilisation.

As always, good nutrition underpins overall wellness.

One this we have all discovered in the past year is the importance of our mental health. Isolation worry, financial uncertainty and lack of a ‘normal’ way of doing things has taken its toll on many of us. The most important thing is to recognise if you might need help and contact your GP or one of the mental health charities such as MIND or the Samaritans.

Sometimes, just taking a break from what you are doing and getting away from your screen for half an hour can make a big difference. Especially if you can get outside and get some fresh air. Research is now regularly showing us that if you can get out to a green space, whether a park, a garden or somewhere more wild, it can recharge our batteries and quiet a stressed mind.

Get outside, even if for a short time. A break from the screen can do you a lot of good.

When it comes to nutrition, a diet rich in B vitamins and Magnesium is good, look for wholegrains, seeds, nuts, and for the occasional treat – good quality dark chocolate will also provide a little Magnesium. Again, you can find these nutrients in supplements and they can be useful if you feel your diet is not providing enough.

The B vitamins and Magnesium all contribute to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue and are needed for normal psychological function as well as normal function of the nervous system. Another useful supplement is L-Theanine, found in green tea, this amino acid has been shown to help calm and relax without making you feel drowsy.

As we step into the new year, we all need to be vigilant and aware of what we do and how we do it, we still need to keep ourselves and each other safe. As we all look forward to a positive new start, let’s remember to stay safe and to keep an eye out for each other. Here’s to a healthy, positive and successful 2021 for all of us.

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