Tips to a healthy living
Americans lead the world in medical research and standard of living. But we are far from the head of the line when it comes to life expectancy and health. Good health starts with lifestyle and nutrition. When we build healthy habits into our life, it becomes easier to follow a plan of healthy living. The more often we choose the healthy alternative, the easier it becomes to continue. Even small changes can make a big difference. Here’s what you need to know about your health.
NUTRITION FOR HEALTHY LIVING
Nutrition is important for healthy living. Do you eat impulsively on the run? Do you choose fast food, snacks or whatever is close at hand? When it comes to nutrition, we as a nation tend to grab onto one nutrition fad as a cure-all. Remember the the low-fat fad that, in practice, replaced the fats in packaged goods with lots of sugar? Next we focused on foods that contain trans-fats. And, meanwhile, the high-protein diet plans became popular. All the time we ignored the bigger picture.
For total nutrition, choose meals in the Mediterranean style, with vegetables, fruit, fish, whole grains and lean meat. Good oils come from nuts, seeds, olive oil and fish. Avoid processed foods that contain chemical additives and artificial sweeteners. Keep your portions small, too. Overeating contributes to early mortality.
HYDRATION FOR HEALTHY LIVING
A gallon of water every day is the ideal target for you. Part of your water requirement will be provided by soups, fresh vegetables and beverages, so a gallon of water a day is a reasonable goal. Muscle cramps are often a sign of inadequate hydration.
EXERCISE IS PART OF THE HEALTHY L IFESTYLE
Regular daily exercise, no matter what kind, improves all your metabolic functions. Become more active, move more, and burn more of those calories that are otherwise destined to become fat cells. Just get started moving. A short walk is better than no walk at all. Regular, moderate exercise is the key to fitness. Exercise, along with a healthy diet, also helps you control your weight. Include some aerobic exercise to build the heart and lungs, some weight-bearing exercise to build muscle, and some fun activities to keep you motivated.
SUPPLEMENTS ARE PART OF A HEALTHY L IFE
Ideally, your meals should provide all the nutrition you need. But that is seldom the case. A daily multi-vitamin will ensure that you are getting the minimum required vitamins and minerals. A fish oil capsule or a flax seed oil capsule provides the valuable omega-3 fatty acids you need. Omega-3’s are helpful in reducing cholesterol, improving brain function, and preventing heart disease, to mention just a few of their benefits. Folic acid is important for cell function and for preventing birth defects and heart disease.
HEALTHY SKIN CARE
Our bodies get Vitamin D from sunshine. Spend time outdoors every day. But sunburn and overexposure to the sun is a major factor in skin cancer. Happily, skin cancer has a 95 percent cure rate when detected early. Prevention is the best policy for skin cancer. Use an SPF 15 (or higher) sunscreen outdoors to block the UVB rays from the sun. No sunscreen is completely waterproof, so reapply it after swimming. Sunscreen does not block the UVA rays, which cause serious melanomas. Avoid the noon sun, and wear a hat, sunglclothes and protective clothing.
Living healthy includes lots of exercise. But use common sense when you exercise. Over-exercise wears out the joints and causes pain and loss of use. Develop overall fitness, rather than relying exclusively on one sport. Warm up before workouts, exercise regularly, and give your body time to recover from exertion.
LIVING HEALTHY LIFESTYLE FACTORS
Living healthy requires that you do not smoke, period. There are some excellent guided programs available to get you off nicotine. Do not drink alcoholic beverages in excess. Avoid non-pharmaceutical drugs. If you always wear your seatbelt in the car, you will add years to your life expectancy.
Important as it is in a healthy life, mental health doesn’t get a lot of attention in our society. Nutrition is one of the factors in mood and mental health, as is substance abuse. Regular exercise rewards you with a sense of pleasure and calm. For healthy living, reduce the stress in your life. Build warm relationships with other people. Stay in touch with friends and family. Find a way to participate in society and stay useful. If you become anxious or depressed, ask for help right away.