Simple changes to bring lasting health benefits in 2017

If you’re keen to work on having a healthier lifestyle in 2017, here are some simple changes you can make to achieve this. You’ll be pleased to hear it doesn’t involve a huge amount of effort…

Produced in collaboration with Sofia Bianchi

Most of us strive for a healthy lifestyle. And yet the biggest hurdle preventing people from actually getting healthier is the idea that the process itself is insurmountable. But what many don’t realise is that only slight changes to the things you already do every day are required.

There are plenty of health benefits from doing a little bit of exercise, making a few changes to your diet, and watching the types of beverages you drink. You don’t have to give up anything, and your body will thank you.

Here are some tips…

The benefits of a brisk walk

Often fitness regimens call for lots of physical activity. But the truth is this: very moderate levels of physical activity make the most difference. Changing from a sedentary lifestyle to one with at least 30 minutes of physical activity has a profound effect on both weight loss and overall body health.

The modern low-carb diet

Popular diet programs offer a huge range of choice regarding “good” and “bad” foods to avoid or eat in abundance. But distill many of them down to their core successful tenants and today’s diets are usually in agreement over one thing: carbohydrates. Avoid them where possible and relegate the ones you do consume to only complex, unprocessed versions.

Drinking tea

For centuries, drinking tea was seen as a healthy addition to your diet. Tea has three major benefits it bestows every time you have a cup. For one, tea has a much lower calorie content compared to many other drinks. In fact, it has hardly any at all. Provided you don’t add honey, cream, or other enhancers the typical cup has around two calories.

Secondly, tea has caffeine. You might think caffeine just helps you study, and it’s true the natural stimulant is a great way to focus attention. But there’s plenty of evidence the health benefits of caffeine can have a profound impact, lowering the risk of long-term degenerative diseases ranging from Parkinson’s to Alzheimer’s.

Finally, tea is packed with antioxidants. These helpful chemicals stop damage to the body’s cells from the natural occurrence of free radicals. This leads to all sorts of long term health effects, from reducing your chance of stroke to lowering the body’s susceptibility to type 2 diabetes.

Drinking coffee

All those benefits from tea? Coffee has them all too. Starting with low calorie content: as little as one calorie in an entire mug of the stuff. Coffee offers enhanced protection from the same long term mental deterioration, being closely associated in coffee-drinking cultures with a drop in the rate of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, stroke and diabetes. In addition, there is some evidence coffee can even protect your liver, reducing the chance of cirrhosis by as much as 80%.

A shot of espresso

Coffee and tea offer a lot of health benefits. It only stands to reason, then, that those health benefits would be even stronger in a more concentrated version. Espresso is concentrated coffee. Brewed using the near-boiling water applied at moderately high pressure, the result is a smaller amount of water with all the flavours and compounds of normal coffee at heightened levels.

For caffeine, espresso has more than regular brewed coffee. A mere 1 oz. can have as much as 75 milligrams of caffeine. The problem comes with additives. Ordinarily, coffee shops will be happy to serve you up a simple cup of espresso, even a double shot. But the menu is full of “enhanced” selections like iced lattes, frappuccinos and other incredibly sugar and fat-intensive choices.

One of the easiest ways to make espresso at home is using a European all-in-one innovation, the Nespresso machine. Nespresso-compatible coffee capsules (like Gourmesso coffee pods) are available from a host of retailers, and operation is simple: put the capsule in the machine and hit the button. They even make tea using the same capsules.

Each capsule is fully contained to preserve maximum freshness, retain the most volatile compounds for consumption, and pre-measured so each cup is 100% consistent. And the best part for health drinkers is the lack of sugary, fatty condiments ready and waiting to muddle the brew.

Look forward to good health

Changing your lifestyle isn’t as hard as people think. By doing the research, and finding the little things about your daily consumption routine you can change, a healthier you is very achievable. From walking more to making better choices at the coffee shop, small steps can have a big impact.