Nutrition and wellness
Most South Africans are not as healthy as they should be. The secret to good health lies in making informed choices about the way we live. By following this guide to healthy eating, every single South African can make informed food choices for themselves and their families.
Did you know that 31% of men and 68% of women in South Africa are obese? Being overweight or obese not only affects your self-esteem, but it also leads to heart disease and potentially an early death. Find out what causes obesity, how to measure your body mass index (BMI) and how to lose unwanted weight.
Think about your everyday habits and cut down on anything that’s bad for your health. Eat less junk food and eat more fruit and vegetables, which are rich in nutrients. Create a workout plan and watch your diet.
There are many things to keep in mind. Use these tips to make smart choices about your health.
- Exercise regularly
Exercise to increase your energy, improve your mood and manage weight gain. If an outdoor activity such as running doesn’t appeal to you, try working out at home. Try to exercise for 30 minutes per day and three times per week. Exercise includes walking and using the stairs instead of elevators and escalators, where possible.
- Drink water
Your body needs water. Drinking water can prevent dehydration, that leaves you feeling tired. It also helps with weight loss. Remember to drink between six and eight glasses of water per day.
- Eat well
Choose healthy foods that contain plenty of nutrients to increase your immunity against disease. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of water and nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Aim for at least five portions of fruits and vegetables per day. Use salt sparingly. Add very little or no salt to food, as a high intake of salt has been linked to high blood pressure. Eat less food and drinks that contain sugar.
- Fresh Air
Allow stale air to leave your home, office or car by opening windows. This creates a germ-free environment and decreases your chances of getting seasonal colds and flu.
- Wash your hands
It may be an everyday task, but washing your hands properly can prevent the spread of germs. Remember, we touch many surfaces and need to sanitise our hands regularly. Keep hand sanitiser or wet wipes with you or use water and soap with warm water.
- Cough etiquette
Cough into your elbow or upper sleeve so that germs won’t spread when you use your hands. When sneezing, use a tissue and don’t leave it lying around.
- Rest and keep stress at a minimum
A good night’s rest and low stress levels help your immune system. If you’re exhausted, try to get a good night’s rest and try not to watch television or consume caffeine before bed as it may interfere with your sleep. On average, we need seven hours of sleep every night. You can minimise stress by exercising, finding a hobby such as gardening, arts and crafts, reading, etc,
- Get supplements
Using supplements can help your immune system. Visit your doctor or pharmacist and stock up on multivitamins, especially vitamin C which fights colds and flu.
- Clean your home
We all spend a lot of time indoors, so keeping your home environment clean should be a priority. Keep surfaces clean and clear air vents. It’s important to keep your home’s air clean.
- Don’t smoke
Smoking will affect your immune system’s ability to do its job and second-hand smoke affects the health of those around you. Quit smoking and get help from Smokenders or the CANSA eKick Butt Programme.
- Visit your health practitioner regularly
Go to your doctor at least once a year to check your blood pressure and for diabetes and high cholesterol and other lifestyle diseases. If you have a family history of hereditary diseases such as cancer, get regular check-ups.
Children and nutrition
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) partnered with Woolworths, the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) and dieticians Shelly Meltzer and Associates to launch the Healthy Eating Guide for school tuck shops. The guide aims to promote healthy eating and beat lifestyle diseases such as obesity.
WesternCape on Wellness initiative
If you would like to learn more about healthy lifestyle choices, the WesternCape on Wellness (WoW!) initiative will assist you to reach your wellness goals. WoW! is an initiative of the Western Cape Government and its partners. This aims to enable people to make healthy lifestyle choices throughout their life course, including:
- from planning pregnancy
- birth to youth
- adult and senior years
WoW! Contact details:
Tel: 021 483 6651 (Standard call rates apply
Hours: Weekdays 08:00 -16:00
SMS: 35395 (Standard rates apply)