A healthy lifestyle is no longer just about eating less calories, exercising more and getting your five a day. Nowadays, people are taking a more holistic approach to health – an approach that incorporates physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. What’s more, people are seeking natural preventative solutions to support both everyday and long-term health.
Alongside a growing interest in holistic wellbeing, there are a myriad of health, wellness and fitness trends to navigate, from new fitness classes to sleep-tracking apps.
The term ‘meso-dosing’ has recently crept over from the US and hit the European wellbeing scene, where it’s set to be one of the hottest health and wellbeing buzzwords of 2019.
So, what is meso-dosing? Meso means middle or mean in Greek and meso nutrients are the ‘in-between’ nutrients in food that we may be missing out on. Whilst we’re all aware that superfoods such as blueberries, green tea and turmeric, are good for us, it is the special active compounds within these foods that are the meso nutrients, and these are where the health benefits come from.
Although meso-nutrients are found in everyday food and drinks, we aren’t always ingesting enough of the active compounds necessary to harness the full effect of the nutrient. Meso-dosing means retaining more of the active compounds in your superfoods to maximise their health benefits.
Eating a colourful variety of foods is one of the best ways to ensure you are getting a healthy range of nutrients, increasing diversity in the microbiome, to in turn boost gut health, immunity and brain health.
Our favourite meso-nutrient rich food, however, is turmeric. Turmeric has become well-known and loved for its many health-boosting benefits (from supporting healthy liver function to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties). It contains over 200 phytonutrients, including curcumin and turmerones, which contribute to its proven anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and anti-depressant properties.
Whilst turmeric is now widely available, not just in curries but in juices, baked goods and warm milks, meso-dosing may help to maximise its health benefits.
2. Natural Nootropics
Nootropics can be taken in pill or supplement form to help boost memory, concentration, motivation, learning and creativity.
Whilst synthetic nootropics such as modafinil, Adderall and Ritalin, are available, they can have lingering and unwanted side effects such as an increased heart rate, insomnia and anxiety1.
Luckily, there are some natural nootropics that can protect and support the brain, boosting cognitive function, without any negative side effects. Natural nootropics include many herbs and spices, such as turmeric and l-theanine, a meso-nutrient found in green tea.
Research has shown that curcumin in turmeric boosts neurogenesis, which is the production of new neurons that are essential for learning, memory and mood. Turmeric also helps to protect the brain from inflammation and boost the feel-good neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine.
L-theanine, found in green tea, has also been shown to boost brain power and improve focus. Whilst also increasing serotonin and dopamine, this nootropic produces an energising yet calming effect and improves cognitive function and memory.
3. Sleep Hygiene
Poor sleep is something that many people suffer with – around half of UK adults survive on six hours of sleep or less a night2. With the ideal being closer to eight hours of undisturbed slumber, it’s clear we’re losing sight of how important getting good a night’s sleep is for our health and wellbeing. As well as draining our energy levels, poor sleep is linked to more serious health complaints, such as anxiety, depression and even increased risk of dementia.
It is not surprising that, with the pressures of modern, busy and technology-lead living, we are compromising on our sleep and therefore, becoming more interested in what we can do to salvage it.
What is sleep hygiene?
When you sleep, your body has time to heal and repair. Studies show that sleep is an integral part of our overall health and wellbeing and with so many people now placing greater value on health and wellness, there are a number of lifestyle practices that you can put into place to help yourself unwind and get a good night’s sleep.
Below, Katie Pande, Medical Herbalist and Herbal Education Specialist at Pukka Herbs, shares her top tips on how to ensure a restorative night’s sleep.
1. Avoid anything too stimulating. If you are someone who finds it difficult to wind down and go to bed at a sensible time, then avoid stimulating activities, food and drinks such as caffeine, sugar and alcohol in the evening, before you go to bed. These stimulate both your mind and digestive system and can disrupt your sleep during the night, when your body starts to process them.
2. Release those endorphins. Exercise is great for promoting good quality sleep, whether it is a 10-minute walk or an hour on the spin bike. Getting in those reps can increase the time spent in deep sleep, allowing the body to restore and help boost immune function, support cardiac health, and control stress and anxiety.
3. Get outside. Natural light helps to manage your circadian rhythm so getting enough natural light during the day can help maintain a healthy sleep cycle. This is also why we should limit the amount of screen time, especially before bed, so that we do not overstimulate our senses.
4. Don’t let your tummy dictate your sleep. Eating too late in the evening and consuming certain foods such as rich, heavy, fatty or fried meals, before bed can cause indigestion and heartburn, in turn sleep.
5. Look out for natural remedies that do not have nasty side effects. Many people turn to prescription drugs such as sedatives, antidepressants and antihistamines, to help them sleep, however such treatments can cause dependency and rebound insomnia. Moreover, the use of sedatives can leave you feeling groggy and with an unwanted lack of energy as they do not support deep, restful or restorative REM sleep. Instead, integrating organic plants and herbs, such as valerian and ashwagandha, can be fantastic for helping us to get some much-needed shut eye, leaving you refreshed, radiant and ready for the day ahead.
If you’re ready to embrace a new year, here’s some beauty resolutions that you shouldn’t break. And, remember there’s nothing more important than making time for yourself, no matter how busy you are working and looking after yourself and others