The midlife health habits that can change your life

Dr Arroll advises “habit-stacking”, where you anchor a new habit onto an existing one, making it easier to integrate into your daily routine. If you are giving the midweek mini fast a go then try stacking another new habit on top – keeping red meat and alcohol for the weekend.

Reducing our red meat intake is one of the best things we can do for our heart health and the planet, and excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of dementia. This is a simple rule that you can apply right away, and think how much more you’ll enjoy that Sunday roast and a glass of red.

3. Don’t restrict. Add.

Most diets operate on the basis of restriction which focuses the mind on what you are not allowed to eat. Reverse this mindset by thinking about what to include in your meals to make sure they are nutritionally balanced and satisfying.

Multiple studies have shown that eating a balanced diet comprising complex carbs (vegetables, whole grains, beans), lean protein (chicken, fish, tofu, lentils, yogurt) and healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, cheese, eggs, nuts) positively influences health and helps prevent common illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Weekly menu planning is one of the best ways to ensure your meals are balanced and it doesn’t have to be complex. Often just adding a tin of lentils or beans to your favourite recipes can make all the difference.

4. Beware of so-called ‘health products’

At this time of year, we might be tempted by all those “health” products that line the supermarket shelves. But buyer beware, just because something claims to be healthy doesn’t mean it actually is. Eschew the gimmicks and resolve to buy simple, good quality, minimally processed food.

The consumption of UPFs (ultra-processed foods) has been associated with an increased risk of cancer so check the labels of everything you buy regularly and switch to healthier alternatives if necessary. A good rule of thumb is not to buy anything containing more than five ingredients, especially if they are things you can’t pronounce, and look out for added sugars. For more information click here. 

5. Devise a plan to remember to take your supplements

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