Do you feel as if you don’t have time to look after yourself the way you want? With my background as a doctor I know both how important our health is, and how difficult it can be to look after ourselves when we live busy lives. I’ve been making some changes recently to increase my activity levels, and decrease the number of calories I’m consuming while raising my fruit and veg intake. And you know what? It doesn’t take long at all to start feeling the benefits 🙂

Read on to find out more, and for some ideas you can use to make your lifestyle healthier and happier without too much effort…

Cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil improves the nutritional benefits of vegetables, by increasing antioxidant-rich phenols. So, stop steaming and start sautéing!

I’ve started running again, something that had largely fallen by the wayside when I had a tendinopathy affecting one of my hip muscles a couple of years ago. And I’ve signed up to WeightWatchers to help me get rid of a pesky surplus 5kg that I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to shift for about the same amount of time! I don’t necessarily agree with the way WeightWatchers deals with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), or other healthy fats, but I find their system pretty slick, and easy to use, and it does work for me. So, although a huge number of my points seem to be derived from EVOO, walnuts, avocados, full fat milk, and the occasional glass of wine, I’m going to stick with it!

The reason I’m eating so many of these healthy fats is because the evidence for including them in our diets is really strong. There’s a large, and seemingly ever increasing, number of studies supporting EVOO and the Mediterranean diet in particular, which show a reduced risk of various diseases and health problems, including:

  • Reduction in blood pressure (1).
  • Reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attacks and strokes (2).
  • Reduction in risk of invasive breast cancer (3).

I contributed to this recent article titled “7 Habits to Make, Not Break” on exactly this topic, and I recommend including at least 2 tablespoons of EVOO in your diet every day. Take a look at the article for some other great, sensible tips – a lot of things that contribute to a healthy lifestyle are common sense, but it definitely helps to be reminded of them from time to time!

I’d love to hear your health and happiness tips, whether it’s for food, fitness, or general lifestyle – do let me know yours in the comments. And if you’re wondering how to get more EVOO into your everyday food, keep an eye out here for recipes and suggestions, or just ask me 🙂

Get outside – you never know what you’ll find! I met this female leopard seal resting on the beach when I went for a run this week. (I know it was a female leopard seal because I rang the Tas Wildlife Marine Mammal hotline to report it, and they told me they were keeping an eye on her <3 )

REFERENCES

(1) Flynn M, Wang S. Report. Olive oil as medicine: the effect on blood pressure. December 2015. UCDavis Olive Center.

(2) Estruch, R et al. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet, N Engl J Med 2013;368:1279-1290

(3) Toledo E, et al. Mediterranean Diet and Invasive Breast Cancer Risk Among Women at High Cardiovascular Risk in the PREDIMED Trial: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med.2015;175(11):1752–1760