Your throat is your strength.

Diet and your health: the tiny tweaks that can make a HUGE difference

Life is hectic and it's easy to fall into a rut, particularly where your diet is concerned. If you're packing the same old sandwiches into lunchboxes and relying on the same old snacks to scoff at your desk, chances are you and your family aren't getting the full range of vitamins and minerals you need to fight off those nasty colds and sore throats that come our way each winter.

Happily, some simple changes can have a positive impact on your health... and they don't take much effort at all.

1. Spice up your life

Studies have shown that people who regularly enjoy spicy foods often tend to be healthier. This is because chilli peppers contain anti-inflammatory capsicum, which is also an antioxidant. Add some sliced raw chilli to your salad or mince and use it to warm up your curry.

2. Pack a healthy snack

Do you often reach for fast food when hunger hits? Keep a travel pack of oatcakes and some string cheese in your bag or some low calorie popcorn in your car's glove compartment to fill you up in a pinch and say no to the drive-thru.

3. Reduce your alcohol consumption

Giving your body a break from booze can pay off big time. Regular drinking is fattening and demotivating - even that nightly glass of wine can have a negative effect, leaving your face bloated and your skin tired and dull. It even puts pressure on your immune system. Limit your intake to just three drinks one day each week and you'll sleep better, feel better and have more energy within days.

4. Go back to basics

One of the simplest changes you can make to improve your diet is to ditch any foods that your grandmother would not recognise as a food. That's bye-bye to ready meals, instant spuds and sugary cereals; replace them with fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy grains. An easy way to do this is to avoid the centre aisles of the supermarket - do all your food shopping at the edges.

5. Make your own juice or smoothies

An easy way to ensure your family is eating as many health-enhancing foods as possible is to blend the ones they don't like into smoothies (the kids will never guess they're eating raw spinach) or juice your own fruit and veg. Juicing allows you to add a dash of raw red pepper juice to a lemonade or broccoli juice to a cold-fighting lemon and apple concoction. Genius.

This piece originally appeared on HerFamily

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