No one understands the secrets of healthy ageing better than Australia's oldest health retreat, Hopewood. With 50 years of experience, Hopewood Health Retreat's team of natural health and wellbeing experts understand the principles of natural health
Hopewood’s resident Naturopath, Wendy Hannah provides twelve secrets to help keep your body looking and feeling younger for longer.
1. You are what you eat. Eating healthy provides your body with the essential nuritition it needs to function and gives you the energy to live life to the fullest every day. Raw foods, especially greens and yellows, have high levels of amino acids and energy to renew the system. In the warmer months, include lots of wholesome spring veggies in your diet and let them do what they do best: stimulate the kidneys, liver and digestive tract to release long-stored toxins.
2. Protect your bones. Avoid the aches and pains that come hand in hand with age. As you get older, your bones generally become weaker. Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and Vitamin D are vital to bone density and a strong immune system. Get your intake of calcium and magnesium from leafy greens, green, purple and yellow juices, almonds and seeds. Zinc can be found in sunflower seeds, banana, root veggies and almonds. If in doubt with the amounts, take an occasional supplement to ensure balance.
3. Take time out for you. Allowing yourself time to rest gives your body opportunities to renew its depleted energies. If you do deplete your system too often, and for too long you may be more vulnerable to illness of both mind and body. Try set aside some time each day as a quiet time. Perhaps enjoy a warm bath with oils, listen to music or spend time in the garden.
4. Live in the moment. Even if you don't know how to meditate, one of the most valuable principles is to live in the present. Stop every once in a while and enjoy the beauty in your life. Appreciate nature and all it has to offer. Being outdoors can benefit both your physical and mental health. So breathe it all in and stop stressing.
5. A little sun, not a lot. Vitamin D is important for bone density, energy and red blood cells. The best time for the body to produce vitamin D is from mid morning to midday noon. Treat yourself to 10-15 minutes out in the sun with no sun screen. However, be careful - too much sun can create wrinkles, sun spots and can lead to skin cancer.
6. Love your liver. Everything that you eat, breathe or absorb through your skin during your lifetime must be refined and detoxified by your liver. Be kind to your liver by avoiding stimulants such as tea, coffee, chocolate and alcohol. Try herbal teas such as sage, dandelion, fennel, green, ginger and St. Mary’s Thistle instead. The enemy of your liver is saturated fats - avoid indulging too much on ice cream, butter, cream, chocolate, mayonnaise, cheese and takeaway foods.
7. Stay bright eyed.It is important to look after your eyes. As the eye ages certain changes occur as a result of the aging process. Yellow veggies contain carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which help prevent macular degeneration and glaucoma. Purple fruits have anthrocyanins which assist in strengthening the small blood vessels, improving general eyesight. Don’t forget your greens - these are natural blood thinners and reduce blood fats which assist the small vessels of the eyes.
8. Go nuts. Nuts help with satiety, reduce risk of cardio vascular disease and diabetes, helping to balance blood sugar levels and the high level of fibre assists in reducing cholesterol. Small servings of nuts four to five times per week will bring benefits to your future health. Add pine nuts to salads, have as a small snack, put a few slivered almonds in your breakfast and include some pine nuts and cashews in stir fries and curries.
9. Cherish your skin. To promote a smooth, youthful looking complexion, you need to look after your skin from the inside and out. Wear a good moisturizer and don’t forget the sun screen to avoid causing damage to the skin. Avoid taking very hot showers as they can dry out the skin and can leave it feeling itchy. Citrus (lime, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, orange) contain vitamins A, C and E high level antioxidants that support skin to protect it from the inside.
10. Drink plenty of water. Water is involved in almost every bodily function and is an essential nutrient as life cannot exist without it. Water helps to flush out the kidneys, removes toxins and waste matter, supports the cells and helps blood flow to the organs. Water can also plump up the cells and reduce lines in the skin, making you look younger. Your body is most dehydrated during the night, so keep a bottle of water by your bed. If you don’t like the bland taste of water – try it with squeeze of lime or lemon.
11. Keep your muscles moving. Lack of exercise can decrease circulation and lower the levels of nutrients in the blood, leading to arthritis and joint problems. Gentle exercise, even if only for 30 seconds will help prevent blood and lymph from stagnating. Try walking, stretching, jogging on the spot, yoga or Tai Chi. At work, visit the Post Office, move between floors and a walk around the block. At home, chasing toddlers, moving furniture and cleaning windows means the body is moving.
12. Try to be good… 90 percent of the time. The way to true balance is moderation in all things. What you do 90 percent of time determines your level of wellbeing. So the other 10 percent of the time, treat yourself to a little indulgence. Remember your long term health is like an insurance policy, you must pay the premiums as you go along to get the best benefits later in life.
For more information on Hopewood Health Retreat please visit www.hopewood.com.au