Wellbeing isn’t all about fancy green smoothies and yoga headstands. Sometimes keeping it simple is the easiest way to improve our wellbeing, as mastering new habits isn’t always easy. As we create new habits, we are creating new connections and pathways in our brains – which is why it can feel so hard at the start!
However, creating new habits to improve wellbeing doesn’t need to be hard work. While some things are harder to master than others, there are also some super simple steps you can take to improve your wellbeing and today I’m sharing five you can start doing today.
1. Eat Harraways Oat-activ® to lower cholesterol
I’m definitely an oats girl – I love a big hot bowl of porridge in the winter and then I like to make my own muesli in the summer. If you need to keep an eye on your cholesterol levels, then Harraways Oat-activ® can help!
Oats naturally contain beta-glucan, a compound that can help lower cholesterol. But you have to eat a lot of oats for it to have a significant effect. That’s where Harraways Oat-activ® comes in. They have been specially designed to help lower cholesterol with the addition of natural plant sterols. Combined with beta-glucan, the combination of these two active compounds can help reduce LDL cholesterol with just two of the sachets a day as part of your daily intake of 3g beta-glucan, or 2g of plant sterols. LDL cholesterol is the type that can be deposited in your arteries if it’s too high and it’s a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease. If you’re unsure about your cholesterol, your GP can have it tested for you. I’ve been eating the sachets as porridge or bircher as breakfast or snacks, but you can also add it to smoothies too.
You can get it in two flavours – original and cranberry, available in selected Pak N Save and New World supermarkets. I think that’s a pretty tasty way to help lower your cholesterol!
2. Reduce stress with deep breathing exercises
As someone who can struggle with anxiety, deep breathing is one of the tools in my toolkit for self-care. Who would have thought that something as simple as deep breathing could have such a positive effect on your wellbeing? Deep breathing triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to counteract your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response – those feelings that give you a racing heart and leave you feeling on edge. It helps slow your heart rate, can decrease blood pressure and decrease stress hormones by 33%. Pretty impressive for something that you can do anywhere, anytime and at no cost! I find it really useful at night when I can’t go to sleep – it really helps me relax and often before I know it, it’s the morning and I’ve fallen asleep. You can learn more about how to practice these techniques here.
3. Start to eat more mindfully
Mindful eating is a powerful way to think about food that helps you tune into your body and remove judgement around what and how you eat.
Mindful eating encourages you to listen to what your body is telling you before, during and after your eating experience. It’s about being in the moment, paying attention to your body and being curious rather than judgemental.
So what does it actually mean? In a nutshell, it means paying attention to your hunger levels and to what you feel like eating; noticing when you’re satisfied and noticing how the food has made you feel. All with a non-judgemental viewpoint.
By being more in tune with our eating experience we’re more likely to be satisfied, and make decisions that make our bodies feel good.
4. Include sources of prebiotics for gut health
If I say gut health, I bet you automatically think of fermented foods and probiotics. While these do have their role in gut health, we tend to forget the not so exciting prebiotics. Prebiotics are a type of dietary fibre which provide the fuel for the good bacteria in your gut. This then helps the bacteria produce nutrients which are used by parts of your gut to help keep it healthy. So by eating a variety of plant-based foods such as vegetables, wholegrains, legumes and fruit you’re helping keep those bugs fed and healthy. Legumes and wholegrains have been given a bad wrap by some groups (I’m talking to you paleo….) but not only are they nutrient dense, they’re also good for your gut bacteria.
5. Stop weighing yourself!
That’s right – it’s time to throw away the scales. For so many people, weighing themselves is a cause of anxiety and stress, and that number in the morning dictates the whole tone of the day. Instead of worrying about the number, focus on your wellbeing by creating healthy habits- that’s what matters.
This post was sponsored by Harraways Oat-activ®
Thanks to Harraways you could win a two month supply of Oat-activ®. That’s 4 boxes of the Original and 4 boxes of the of the Cranberry flavour. To be in the draw to win, let me know in the comments below, your favourite way to eat oats.
Competition closes (extended!): 6 May 2018 Winner announced: 7 May 2018. Competition open to New Zealand residents only.
Winner = Fiona McKenzie.