Hello 2019 – it’s a new year and that means you have all the best intentions to become the best version of yourself. You made your new year’s resolutions and declared them to all who would listen. Hey, even if you just declared them to your dog, cat or significant other it’s a good place to start. But as with many things in life, the wanting is better than the having because the having means that you’ll have to put in some work… a lot of work.

Big life changes frequently seem daunting and because of the immense change it requires, we very often quit even before we start. In this blog post we talk to Dr Safeera Kolvadia and Ezette Oosthuizen about the small simple changes we can make in our life that will have surprisingly powerful effects.

Choose one and start there…

  1. Get more sleep

If you’re one of those people who boast about how little sleep they need to function, then this one’s for you. Many world leaders have bragged about how little sleep they needed. One such an example is Margaret Thatcher who famously claimed that she only needed four hours of sleep, and though the four hours are impressive it’s important to add that Thatcher passed away as a result of Alzheimer’s disease which has been linked to sleep deprivation.

“Sleep is fundamental to living a healthy and sustainable life. It affects our health, work productivity and our relationships. By prioritising your sleep you will decrease your chances of getting Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cognitive decline later on in life,” explains Dr Safeera.  

If we started listing the reasons why people toss and turn at night you might actually fall asleep. Instead, we’ll just address one that most of us are guilty of ­– blue light exposure. Blue light is emitted by our devices and tricks the brain into thinking it’s not yet time for bed. Avoid screens altogether an hour or two before going to bed. Instead spend time with your family, catching up with your partner or read a book.

  • Schedule your annual healthcare check-up

At Longiva we believe that identifying the early markers of degeneration and diseases, dramatically reduce disorders and their severity as we age and that is why we advocate yearly check-ups.

Patients are often deterred from making an appointment for an annual check-up because it requires a separate visit to a laboratory which takes up more time from an already busy schedule. At Longiva we have our own registered nurse, Nikiwe Toli and lab so you don’t have to go anywhere else after your appointment.

As part of our preventative care, we place an emphasis on the early detection of preventable chronic disorders that may lead to accelerated ageing and affect your quality of life. By making just one phone call you can drastically improve your whole life. Please call us today and we’ll schedule a full medical workup with our doctors.

  • Give up smoking 

Still puffing away, are you? Smoking can be hard to give up especially if you’ve been at it for years. “Patients who want to stop smoking can easily fall into the trap of thinking they can do it on their own,” warns Dr Safeera. As with any addiction treatment, you have to want to stop but the whole process can be made easier if you’re supported by people who care for you.

Aside from surrounding yourself with supportive people you can also start by changing your routine and habits. Pinpoint those times when you smoke and the habits that trigger it. Is it your first coffee of the day or maybe it’s specific situations that cause you anxiety? If those are your triggers, try swapping your coffee for tea and avoid the situations that cause you anxiety for the first month. Then start to slowly reintroduce these things back into your life without smoking.

Your doctor can also be helpful in suggesting medication or cessation programs to help you quit, please talk to one of our doctors today for assistance – you don’t have to do it alone.

  • Adopt one good eating habit

“Don’t do this, don’t eat that – telling patients to not do something and not eat something can make them want to eat or do it even more,” explains Ezette Oosthuizen, registered dietician at Longiva. Instead, she recommends adding good habits and food to your day rather than restricting yourself. “This approach shifts the focus and your mentality to being and eating more healthy, and in the long run it pays off.”

One easy habit to adopt is eating slower – no special recipe, utensil or trendy food required. By taking the time to properly chew and taste your food, you’re mindfully enjoying it and less likely to scarf it down consuming an excess of calories. When you eat slower you also benefit from better digestion and improved weight maintenance. 

  • Eat more gut friendly food

The gut is a trendy topic at the moment but we see no reason for this to pass. The intestines, aside from the obvious, also plays home to trillions of bacteria that help to keep us healthy. Scientists have found that gut bacteria play an important role in keeping our immune system healthy, assisting in regulating our mood while also influencing our central nervous system, which is the brain.

“Taking a pre- and probiotic can certainly help, but I like to suggest healthy foods that promote the activity of the bacteria in the gut,” says Ezette. Try foods that are rich in fiber such as oats, vegetables, fruits and legumes. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, pickles or kimchi can also help to naturally boost the good bacteria in your gut.

At Longiva we know how difficult it can be to make that change even if it’s small. To help you, our registered dietician has specifically designed a (re)fresh programme to help you kickstart your new year’s resolutions. Sign-up this month for only R2590.00, and you’ll save 33%.

To learn more or to book your spot, please contact Longiva Medical Institute today by calling 010 442 8929 today. This exclusive offer can only be purchased until 31 January 2019. T&C Apply.


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Longiva Medical Institute is an integrative health and wellness clinic designed with the modern individual in mind.


152 Western Service Road, 
Woodmead, Johannesburg, 
South Africa