Not feeling in the mood to go on an elaborate detox diet this year? Dr Konig, Resident Doctor at Villa Stephanie says that’s ok! There are several health-boosting habits you can adopt without having to put yourself through a complex eating regimen. Here, Dr Konig walks us through his Top 4 Detox Tips for a healthy start to 2020.
1: Chew and savour every bite
Slow eating requires mindful chewing, and this the first healthy habit to introduce this year—especially if you’re a fast eater. The optimum amount of chews for each bite is 50. Sound like a lot? Science offers a reason behind this figure.
When you chew your food, you are breaking it down into small bits and making it easier for it to pass through your digestive system. The smaller, the better. The saliva in your mouth works to split the enzymes in the food particles as the first phase in digestion. When you are eating something sweet, the enzyme release from chewing allows the sugar to be absorbed by the cells more easily, promoting a timely and healthy secretion of insulin. Studies say that proper chewing can even help you lose weight without changing any other aspect of your eating habits. It’s worth a go!
2: Eat a low-carb breakfast
If you eat a breakfast of foods rich in protein and fat, you will sustain a more even level of energy throughout the day. Why is this so? A breakfast high in carbohydrates (croissants, bread with butter & jelly) causes your blood sugar to spike first thing in the morning. This sets off a chain reaction wherein serotonin is absorbed by the brain, causing you to feel relaxed and tired.
There is clearly no benefit to feeling tired in the morning, and it can cause you to reach for stimulants, like sugar or coffee, that will give you another brief lift before the inevitable crash back to baseline. The solution? Set a sustainable baseline first thing in the morning with a 3-egg omelette filled with ham and cheese. A protein-rich breakfast like this promotes the release of dopamine and acetylcholine, which are neurotransmitters associated with concentration, energy and performance. The added bonus is that your blood sugar will experience a steadier rise and descent—eliminating the post-breakfast desire for a nap.
3: Take care of your gums
The link between gum health and general health is not well publicized, but it is strong and worthy of attention. It is very important to maintain proper gum health by brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day and visiting your dentist for a routine cleaning at least twice per year.
Inflammation in the gums can be an indicator of inflammation throughout the body, particularly in the heart valves. Gingivitis, which is a common gum disease, releases inflammation-causing bacteria into the body that can lead to heart disease and strokes. There is also an added risk for diabetes patients, as acute inflammation of the gums can reduce the effect of insulin, making it more challenging for diabetics to control their blood sugar.
Healthy gums can help to ensure a healthy body, so don’t neglect them!
4: Pivot toward plant-based protein
There has never been a better time to seek out plant-based alternatives to your favourite cuts of meat. From hamburgers to sausages, there are delicious tasting innovations made of anything from soy protein to lentils to quinoa. These meat-alternatives are very healthy additions to a whole foods based diet. They taste great, and can serve as a catalyst to innovate in the kitchen—finding healthier alternatives to some of your favourite dishes.
And once you’ve found a dish you love, don’t forget to chew slowwwllllyyyy.
We want to hear from you. What detox inspiration do you have for the New Year?