Five simple ways to improve nutrition and hydration
With such busy lives, it's not surprising that many of us don't always make the best choices when it comes to food and diet.
But if you feel it is time to make a lifestyle shift and boost your general wellbeing, it's possible to start by making just a few simple adjustments.
To mark Nutrition and Hydration Week (13-19 March), fitness, wellness, and nutrition expert Penny Weston has offered up some top tips.
Drink more water
Begin your journey by upping your water intake.
"Get into the habit of drinking a large glass of water when you wake up and before each meal. Have a small glass of water before bed too. If you make drinking water part of your routine, it will become a habit," she suggested. "If you find plain water a bit boring, try adding some fruit to your water. You could try lemons, lime or cucumber. Watermelon and strawberries are also tasty."
Get enough iron
Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in women and can lead to anaemia.
"Iron deficiency can leave you feeling very tired. Iron absorption can also be impaired by high-fibre diets, alcohol and the tannic acid in tea and concentrated sources of calcium," the expert noted. "Eating red meat, chicken and fish, legumes and nuts will help."
Include white veg in meals
White veggies, such as onions, garlic and cauliflower, are often underrated. Yet, they contain a lot of key nutrients.
"Onions, for example, contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese as well as sulphur compounds, which help your body improve its immune system and growth," said Penny.
"Cauliflower is one of my favourite white veggies, whether it is roasted or raw. It contains fibre and is good for digestion as well as helping to reduce inflammation due to its antioxidants. Cauliflower is also a source of choline, an essential nutrient we need for mood, memory and recall. Elsewhere, mushrooms are delicious and one of the healthiest vegetables. Some of the other options to consider include potatoes and turnips as well as fruits like bananas, white nectarines, white peaches, and pears."
Drink herbal teas
Instead of relying on black tea and coffee, switch to herbal options.
"To reach your daily amount of water, you don't have to just drink pure water," she explained. "Why not try herbal tea, which can also include health benefits? Teas such as mint, chamomile and rooibos are caffeine-free and will help keep you hydrated."
Support gut health
Probiotics and fermented foods can help promote healthy gut bacteria.
"Eating foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented vegetables is really good for your gut health. If your gut isn't healthy, it can cause chronic fatigue and inflammation in the body and you may experience brain fog, diarrhoea, and even joint pain," added Penny.