Ask yourself these questions before reading.
How healthy are you? Do you have a healthy diet? Do you exercise regularly? Do you drink at least eight glasses of water a day? Do you get enough sleep every day? Do you live a healthy lifestyle?
The World Health Organization defines health as “not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, but a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being”. Wellness has been defined more as the action an individual takes to meet the above definition of health.
“WE AT LEFAS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT IMPROVING CONSUMERS HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE”
LEFAS OFFERS 30 TIPS ON HEALTHY LIVING
“We at lefas are concerned about improving consumers health and lifestyle” Lefas offers 30 tips on healthy living
Life is beautiful and you don’t want to bog yourself down with unnecessary health problems. Today, your vital organs may be working well, but they may not be tomorrow. Don’t take your health for granted. Take proper care of your body.
Good health isn’t just about healthy eating and exercise, it’s also about having a positive attitude, a positive self-image, and a healthy lifestyle.
Our body is our temple and we need to take care of it. Save the tips, because they will be vital to living a healthier life.
Drink more water-
Most of us don’t drink enough water every day. Water is essential for our bodies to function. Do you know over 60% of our body is made up of water? Water is needed to carry out body functions, remove waste, and carry nutrients and oxygen around our body. Since we lose water daily through urine, bowel movements, perspiration, and breathing, we need to replenish our water intake.
Furthermore, drinking water helps in losing weight. A research carried out among overweight or obese people showed that water drinkers lose 4.5 more pounds than a control group! The researchers believe that it’s because drinking more water helps fill your stomach, making you less hungry and less likely to overeat.
The amount of water we need is dependent on various factors such as humidity, your physical activity, and your weight, but generally, we need 2.7-3.7 liters of water intake per day. Since food intake contributes about 20% of our fluid intake, which means we need to drink about 2.0-3.0 liters of water or about 8-10 glasses (now you know how the 8 glasses recommendation came about!). One way to tell if you’re hydrated — your urine should be slightly yellow. If it’s not, like its dark yellow or even orange, you’re not getting enough water! Other signs include dry lips, dry mouth, and little urination. Go drink some water first before you continue this article!
Get enough sleep
When you don’t rest well, you compensate by eating more. Usually, it’s junk food. Get enough rest and you don’t need to snack to stay awake. Also, lack of sleep causes premature aging and you don’t want that!
Movement is life. Research has shown that exercising daily brings tremendous benefits to our health, including an increase in lifespan, lowering of risk of diseases, higher bone density, and weight loss. Increase the activity in your life. Choose walking over transport for close distances. Climb the stairs instead of taking the lift. Join an aerobics class or a dance class.
Fruits have a load of vitamins and minerals. Do you know that oranges offer more health benefits than vitamin C pills? As much as possible, consume your vitamins and minerals through your diet rather than through pills. I eat a variety of fruits every morning and they energize me. Satisfy your palate with these nutritious fruits: Banana, Papaya, Kiwi, Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Watermelon, Honeydew, Peach, Apple, Grapefruit, Pomelo, Mango, Orange.
Vegetables are the source of many nutrients and minerals like folate, vitamin K, folate, vitamin A, manganese, and potassium, not to mention dietary fiber which is important for good gut health. There are two types of vegetables: Starchy vegetables like potato, sweet potato, yam, and pumpkin; and non-starchy vegetables like kale, arugula, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, long beans, tomato, cucumber, and mushroom (technically a fungus). Some vegetables are slightly starchy and hence fall in the middle: Corn, green peas, carrot, artichoke, beetroot, cauliflower, and beans (technically legumes). All vegetables are important and enrich our diet.
Cut down on processed food
Processed food is not good because (a) most of the nutritional value is lost in the creation of these foods, and (b) the added preservatives are bad for our health. Many processed foods contain a high amount of salt which leads to higher blood pressure and heart disease. In general, the more ingredients a food has on the label (ending with ‘ite’ or ‘ate’), the more processed it is. Go for less processed food such as a baked potato over chips, fresh fruit over canned fruit, and intact grains over white bread.
Choose intact grains over refined grains
Intact grains contain all the essential parts of the grain seed; in other words, they contain 100% of the original kernel, which includes the bran, germ, and endosperm. Because these layers are intact, the grain contains a richer nutritional profile of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals than refined grains (which are grains stripped of the bran and germ layers through processing).
Go for intact grains like steel cut oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet. Refined grains include white rice, white flour, and most types of bread, white pasta, quick oats, and cereals. The more processing a grain has been through, the more refined it is. If you’re starting out, there’s no need to 100% ban refined grains but moderation is the key. Transition to a more intact-grains-based diet by swapping refined grains with intact grains for 1-2 meals a week and increasing it from there.
Self-love is a crucial part of living a healthy life. When you have a negative self-image, it naturally weighs down on your mental outlook and health. How much do you love yourself on a scale of 1-10? Why? How can you love yourself more starting today?
Purge negativity from your life
You don’t need negativity from yourself either. Listen to the thoughts that come up and get rid of your negative thoughts. One great way to remove your negativity is to brain dump when you feel frustrated. Don’t keep these thoughts pent up inside you it’s not healthy.
Avoid trigger foods
Trigger foods are the foods that make you go berserk and binge after you eat them. Everyone’s trigger foods are different (mine used to be doughnuts, pastries, and chips), but generally trigger foods are candy bars, chocolate, confectionery, chips, cookies, or anything with a high level of refined sugar, salt, or flour. These foods cause a blood sugar imbalance, hence triggering one to eat more. What are your trigger foods? Identify them and remove them from your diet.
Oxygen is vital for life. You may know how to breathe, but are you breathing properly? Most of us aren’t breathing properly, we take shallow breaths and breathe to 1/3 of our lung capacity. Athletes are taught proper breathing techniques to get their best performance. A full breath is one where your lungs are fully filled, your abdomen expands, and there’s minimum movement in your shoulders.
Address emotional eating issues
Do you eat when you feel stressed, bored, or frustrated? Emotional eating is eating to fill an emotion rather than real hunger. However, emotional eating will never make you feel happy because you’re trying to fill a void that has nothing to do with food. Food doesn’t give you love or happiness; it’s just food. Get to the root of the issue and address it.
Eat small meals
Choose several small meals over huge meals as it evens out your energy distribution. It’s also better for your stomach as it doesn’t over-stretch from digesting a huge volume of food at one go. In general, eat when you feel hungry and stop when you’re full. You don’t need to wait until official mealtimes before you start eating. Listen to your body and what it tells you.
Stop eating when you feel full
Many of us rely on external cues to tell when we’re full, such as whether everyone has finished eating or whether your plate is empty. These are irrelevant: you should look at internal cues, such as whether your stomach feels full and how you feel. Don’t eat just because there’s food on the plate. Listen to your gut and learn when it’s time to stop!
Follow food-combining principles
Food combining is a term for a nutritional approach that advocates specific combinations of foods. After following food-combining principles, my digestion improved greatly. In general you should (1) stick to simple meals, (2) eat fruit as the first meal of the day, (3) never eat fruits after cooked food, even if many hours have passed, (4) only mix grains/starch with vegetables in a meal (it’s okay to add some fat), (5) never mix protein with starches in a meal, (6) only mix protein with non-starchy vegetables.
Cut down on deep-fried food
Deep-fried food contains acrylamide, a potentially cancer-causing chemical. According to a BBC report, an ordinary bag of crisps may contain up to 500 times more of the substance than the top level allowed in drinking water by the World Health Organization (WHO)! Go for food prepared using healthier methods instead, such as grilling, steaming, stir-fry, or even raw food. Reduce your intake of fast food, fries, doughnuts, chips, wedges, and deep-fried food.
Cut down on sugary food/drinks
Sugary food consists of your candy bars, pastries, chocolate, cookies, cakes, and jelly donuts. Not only do they not fill you, but they trigger you to eat more due to the sugar rush. Eating once in a while is okay, but not daily. Go for healthy snacks instead. Sugary drinks are unfortunately sold everywhere today, namely in the form of soda and sweet drinks. These drinks are unhealthy and cause weight gain. Go for plain water, green tea, or vegetable juices instead!
Don’t drink alcohol
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it drains water from your body. Not only that, but alcohol is repeatedly proven to have negative effects on our body and health impacting the proper functioning of our brain, liver, lungs, and other major organs. If you drink alcohol regularly, it’s time to cut it out, or at the very least, reduce your consumption.
Go organic (where possible)
Organic food is food produced without synthetic inputs such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers; that does not contain genetically modified organisms; and that is not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives. The organic movement is slowly catching on with more stores offering organic options. While organic food tends to cost more, would you rather save some money and feed your body with pesticides or pay a few extra cash for a cleaner, healthier body?
Prepare your meals
When you prepare your meals, you control what goes into them rather than choosing between sub-standard options in a restaurant. Get quality kitchen equipment it will be your best investment ever. Having a blender makes it a breeze to make your fruit/vegetable juices! Having an instant pot and an oven makes cooking much easier too.
Learn to say no
Don’t eat just because you’re out with friends or because other people offer you food. Simply say no and say you’re not hungry if you don’t feel like eating.
Bring a water bottle when you go out
That way, you can drink whenever you want. It saves you money and you don’t need to resort to bad alternatives like soda.
Smoking is detrimental to health, severely increases the risk of lung cancer, kidney cancer, esophageal cancer (of our gullet), heart attack, and more. Smoking “lite” cigarettes do not decrease health risks either. If you’re a smoker, quit not just for yourself, but for your family and friends. If you don’t smoke, stay that way and don’t start.
Avoid passive smoking
Second-hand smoking (breathing in air from smokers) causes many of the same long-term diseases as direct smoking. Did you know? According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there is no risk-free level of passive smoking; even brief exposure can be harmful to health. Get away from smokers and avoid cigarette smoke where you can.
Juicing/Blending is a great way to get vitamins and nutrients from fruits/vegetables quickly. Juicing is where you extract the juice using a juicing machine, removing the fiber. With blending, the fiber is not filtered away so you’re drinking the juice and fiber.
For fruits, Use a blender as juicing removes the fiber and creates large sugar spikes due to the loss of fiber. If you have a lot of vegetables, juice as it’s a great way to get the nutrients without munching through a huge volume of fiber. Juices and smoothies complement each other juices give our digestive system a break while blending retains the fiber from fruits/vegetables which feeds the friendly bacteria in the gut.
Get regular checkups
Some diseases don’t show up as symptoms until it is too late. Get regular blood tests for blood sugar, vitamins, and minerals, along with urine tests. More elaborate tests like mammograms (for women), PAP smear (for women), colonoscopy, etc. should be done at the recommended intervals. If the test results are not optimal, that means that you can quickly take corrective action. If they are great, that’s fantastic and you can have peace of mind!
Try a vegan diet
A vegetarian diet excludes animal products. A vegan diet excludes consume animal and animal-derived products. This means no eggs, dairy, honey, cheese, or milk. So in that sense, being vegan seems like a very strict diet in our meat-heavy food culture, but it is said to have even more positive benefits than a vegetarian diet! Once again, trying out a vegan diet doesn’t mean going on a permanent switch if you’re not ready for it simply experiment, try it out for a few weeks, or just go vegan for two days a week.
The best way to know what works for you is to experiment. Rather than subscribe to one diet, try different foods and see how your body reacts. Most importantly, research and tweak your diet based on what you learn.
Get out more often
If you have a 9-5 job, chances are you spend much of your time holed up in the office and not a lot of time going out and having fun. During weekends, you’re probably busy with work or running errands. Make a point to go out with your friends at least once a week. Get some sun. Go out and have a change of environment. It’ll be great for your body and soul.
Hang out with healthy people
You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, so the more time you spend around healthy people, the better it is. Dine with people who are health conscious and get workout buddies. It makes healthy living more fun!