TIPS SHEET ON HEALTH (NOT in order of importance)..... 1 GET OUTDOORS Being outside has lots of benefits. Sunshine (yes, even if it’s cloudy some gets through) helps re-set your body clock and improves your vitamin D level. Also bacteria in the air (and particularly where there are trees, or you’ve been exposed to soil) can be good for you. ‘Forest bathing’ is actually a ‘thing’. 2 HAVE A DIET THAT FEEDS BOTH YOU AND YOUR GUT BACTERIA It’s important to have a varied diet, so you get minerals and vitamins your body needs. And your gut bacteria also need feeding. Good bacteria in your gut are called probiotics; food for probiotics is prebiotics. (And postbiotics are the result of probiotic action). To keep your gut bacteria well fed (because they give us vital health benefits) it helps to eat foods such as onions, garlic, leeks, chicory, lentils, oats, barley, chickpeas, apples and bananas. And fermented foods help our gut as well. 3 LOOK AFTER YOUR TEETH We all have good bacteria all over our bodies, including our mouths, but we can also have harmful bacteria that do our teeth no good – they produce a sticky layer of plaque that can cause damage to our teeth. So a good oral hygiene routine is important. 4 GET ENOUGH SLEEP Our bodies and brains need sleep in order to repair and stay functional. It’s important to get enough sleep, particularly when it’s dark. Having a routine of going to bed and getting up at much the same times each day can help you sleep well, as can switching off ‘devices’ well before bedtime so as not to have ‘blue light’ interfere with your sleep patterns. 5 HAVE BREAKS Having frequent breaks from work is useful. It helps your body and mind function better and it gives your eyes a rest from fixed focus if you regularly use screens. Every 20 minutes or so is a good period after which to have a short break. 6 TAKE EXERCISE There are both physical and mental benefits from exercise – and if you can do it outdoors, you will be combining two tips from this sheet at one time. Even if your ability to exercise is limited, do what you can. Some is better than none as long as it’s within your capabilities. And remember that daily activities can count – washing dishes, climbing stairs, lifting bins, making beds; if it uses energy then it’s exercise! 7 HAVE SOME SOCIAL CONTACTS For most people, contact with other people is important to good health (although if you’re one of those who find socialising a challenge, this one needn’t be top of your list). Face to face contact can help production of ‘happy hormones’ and lower your stress levels. 8 KEEP YOUR MIND ACTIVE Keeping your mind active, whether through work or leisure activities, has many benefits. Some useful things to stimulate mental activity can be puzzles, problem solving, crafts, language-earning and so on. But avoid too much mental stimulation before bed-time or it could interfere with sleep. 9 REMEMBER HYDRATION Just as a good diet is important, having enough to drink is also essential. If you don’t like drinking a lot, then having a container with water to hand just to sip regularly could give your body what it needs. And remember there are upper limits to hydration – drinking too much can also be harmful (whether water or alcohol!), so enough is enough. 10 GET A PET And finally research shows that people benefit from interactions with animals. One research project showed that just ten minutes of such interaction could have a significant impact. Pet ownership, or other interaction, can improve mental health, reduce cortisol (which is a major stress hormone), decrease loneliness and – if it involves activity such as walking dogs – improve exercise levels. Worth remembering. Carol Harris
TIPS SHEET ON HEALTH (NOT in order of importance)..... 1 GET OUTDOORS Being outside has lots of benefits. Sunshine (yes, even if it’s cloudy some gets through) helps re-set your body clock and improves your vitamin D level. Also bacteria in the air (and particularly where there are trees, or you’ve been exposed to soil) can be good for you. ‘Forest bathing’ is actually a ‘thing’. 2 HAVE A DIET THAT FEEDS BOTH YOU AND YOUR GUT BACTERIA It’s important to have a varied diet, so you get minerals and vitamins your body needs. And your gut bacteria also need feeding. Good bacteria in your gut are called probiotics; food for probiotics is prebiotics. (And postbiotics are the result of probiotic action). To keep your gut bacteria well fed (because they give us vital health benefits) it helps to eat foods such as onions, garlic, leeks, chicory, lentils, oats, barley, chickpeas, apples and bananas. And fermented foods help our gut as well. 3 LOOK AFTER YOUR TEETH We all have good bacteria all over our bodies, including our mouths, but we can also have harmful bacteria that do our teeth no good – they produce a sticky layer of plaque that can cause damage to our teeth. So a good oral hygiene routine is important. 4 GET ENOUGH SLEEP Our bodies and brains need sleep in order to repair and stay functional. It’s important to get enough sleep, particularly when it’s dark. Having a routine of going to bed and getting up at much the same times each day can help you sleep well, as can switching off ‘devices’ well before bedtime so as not to have ‘blue light’ interfere with your sleep patterns. 5 HAVE BREAKS Having frequent breaks from work is useful. It helps your body and mind function better and it gives your eyes a rest from fixed focus if you regularly use screens. Every 20 minutes or so is a good period after which to have a short break. 6 TAKE EXERCISE There are both physical and mental benefits from exercise – and if you can do it outdoors, you will be combining two tips from this sheet at one time. Even if your ability to exercise is limited, do what you can. Some is better than none as long as it’s within your capabilities. And remember that daily activities can count – washing dishes, climbing stairs, lifting bins, making beds; if it uses energy then it’s exercise! 7 HAVE SOME SOCIAL CONTACTS For most people, contact with other people is important to good health (although if you’re one of those who find socialising a challenge, this one needn’t be top of your list). Face to face contact can help production of ‘happy hormones’ and lower your stress levels. 8 KEEP YOUR MIND ACTIVE Keeping your mind active, whether through work or leisure activities, has many benefits. Some useful things to stimulate mental activity can be puzzles, problem solving, crafts, language-earning and so on. But avoid too much mental stimulation before bed-time or it could interfere with sleep. 9 REMEMBER HYDRATION Just as a good diet is important, having enough to drink is also essential. If you don’t like drinking a lot, then having a container with water to hand just to sip regularly could give your body what it needs. And remember there are upper limits to hydration – drinking too much can also be harmful (whether water or alcohol!), so enough is enough. 10 GET A PET And finally research shows that people benefit from interactions with animals. One research project showed that just ten minutes of such interaction could have a significant impact. Pet ownership, or other interaction, can improve mental health, reduce cortisol (which is a major stress hormone), decrease loneliness and – if it involves activity such as walking dogs – improve exercise levels. Worth remembering. Carol Harris