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The top five simple ways you can improve your health

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Whether you're trying to get in shape or simply looking to lead a healthier lifestyle, it only takes a few simple changes to dramatically improve your wellbeing. Nutritionist Sarah Flower shares her top five tips for improving your health – scroll below for the full list.

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You can improve your general health with a few simple steps

Embrace the outdoors

If you want to improve your health, clear your mind and decrease the risk of heart disease, it's important to ensure you have enough vitamin D – and the best source is simply from sunlight (with adequate protection of course). Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency can increase your risk of heart disease by 64 per cent and can also help to lower blood pressure – so spending just 20 minutes each day outside could help protect your heart. Try adding a brisk walk to your daily activities – you will also be improving your respiratory and joint health.

Pack your plate with colour

The more colourful your plate, the more nutritious the food you're eating. If you're watching your sugar levels, try blueberries and raspberries which are lower in fructose but are full of powerful phytonutrients. Search for foods packed with Lycopene such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and red tomatoes – it's great for helping to protect you from heart disease, strokes and high blood pressure. Also found in peppers, papaya and even watermelons, Lycopene is in its most usable form when cooked and combined with healthy fats – it does need to be consumed in large supplies, so try a supplement such as CardioMato for a boost.

detox© Photo: iStock

A healthy, balanced diet is key to staying in shape

Up your Omega intake

Our body needs a range of healthy fats, especially omega 3 found in oily fish, nuts and seeds. Not only can a diet rich in essential fatty acids aid joint health, it can also benefit brain health, concentration, protect against heart disease, boost the immune system and speed up healing. The Mediterranean diet is packed with fresh fruit and vegetables, alongside fresh fish and plenty of healthy oils – they also eat far less junk food! A diet rich in healthy oils also enables us to absorb and utilise many vitamins and phytonutrients.

Stay hydrated

Our bodies are made up of approximately 60 per cent water, essential for flushing out toxins. Staying hydrated can help the blood pump more efficiently, and can also lead to suffering from less aches and pains after exercise. Because our kidneys play a vital role in regulating blood pressure, keeping hydrated and monitoring your sodium intake could reduce high blood pressure significantly. Many people confuse thirst pangs for hunger pangs so often just drinking a glass of water whenever you are hungry can help to control cravings.

Reduce stress

Turn off your phone, hide the laptop and find some time for you. Stress is one of the biggest threats to our overall health as it can lower the immune system, as well as making it easier to rely on stimulants such as caffeine and refined carbohydrates such as sugar for an artificial 'feel good' boost.

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