Many people fail to see the link between their habits and their health, being they rich or poor. They may be enjoying good health as a matter of chance or as something over which they have little control. Such a view holds many back from improving their health and leading a more productive life.
In reality, whatever your financial circumstances are, there are 5 basic steps you can take to protect and greatly improve your own health and of your family. Is doing so worth the effort? By all means! You can increase the quality of your life and avoid needlessly shortening it.
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Eat fresh food. Try to establish a habit of eating “real” food – whole, fresh food rather than modern processed foods. Commercially prepackaged foods and fast food from chain restaurants usually contain high levels of sugar, salt, and fat, which are associated with heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other serious illnesses.
When cooking, avoid deep oil frying. Rather, try to steam, bake or broil. Try using more herbs and spices to cut down on the overuse of salt. Make sure meats are properly cooked, and never, and I mean never eat spoiled food.
Don’t overeat. The WHO (World Health Organization) reports a worldwide increase in overweight and obese people, which is often the result of overeating. Especially children that are obese have a higher potential for health problems, including diabetes. Parents set a good example for your children by limiting your own portions.
Eat mostly plants. A balanced plate favors a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains over meats and starches. I am not saying you should cut the meat off, but keep in mind how your plate should look like.
Once or twice a week, try switching fish for meat. Reduce refined foods such as pasta, white bread, and white rice, which have been stripped of much of their nutritional value. But avoid potentially dangerous fad diets. Replace nuts and thoroughly washed fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks instead of chips or candy.
Drink plenty of fluid. Drink plenty of water and other unsweetened liquids every day (lemonade as an example). Drink more of these during hot weather, if you are doing heavy physical work or if you exercise.
Such liquids aid digestion, cleanse your body of poisons, make for healthier skin, and promote weight loss. They help you to feel and look your best. Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and too many sweetened drinks. Fun fact: one soft drink a day can add 6.8 kg to your weight in a year.
In some lands, obtaining clean water can be hard work and is expensive. Yet, drinking it is vital. Polluted water needs to be boiled or chemically treated. Dirty water is said to kill more people than wars or earthquakes, about 4,000 children a day.
As for infants, the WHO recommends only breastfeeding for the first six months, then breastfeeding plus some other foods until at least the age of two.
Take Care Of Your Basic Body Needs
Get enough rest. “Better is a handful of rest than a double handful of hard work and striving after the wind.” This old saying clearly points out how important rest should be.
No doubt that the modern lifestyle and demands of our daily obligations have put so much pressure on our time we have during a day that sometimes it seems the only way we can manage to fulfill our obligations is by taking time from sleep.
But sleep is essential to good health. Studies show that during sleep our body and brain repair themselves, benefiting memory and mood.
Sleep reinforces our immune system and reduces the risk of infection, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancer, obesity, depression, and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.
Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep every night to look, feel, and perform their best. Young people need even more. Sleep-deprived teens are more prone to have psychological troubles and to fall asleep when driving.
Sleep is especially important when we are sick. Our body can overcome some illnesses, such as a cold if we simply get extra sleep and drink plenty of fluids.
Take care of your teeth. Something that many people tend to overlook. Brushing your teeth and flossing them after meals, and especially before going to bed, will help ward off tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss.
Without our teeth, we would not be able to digest food properly. It is reported that elephants do not die of old age but that they slowly starve to death after their teeth wear down and they can no longer chew properly.
Children who have been taught to brush and floss their teeth after eating will enjoy better health in youth and throughout life.
Go to the doctor. Sometimes we just need professional medical attention. Early diagnosis usually results in a better outcome and less expense.
So if you do not feel well, get help to find and eliminate the cause, instead of merely seeking to relieve the symptoms. Regular checkups from accredited health-care providers can head off many serious problems.
“If exercise were a pill, it would be the most widely prescribed medication in the world.”
Emory University School of Medicine
Keep Yourself Moving
Exert yourself. Having a physically active life can help you in so many ways. You will feel happier, think more clearly, have more energy, be more productive and, along with proper diet, control your weight.
Exercise doesn’t need to be painful or extreme to be effective. Regular periods of moderate exercise several times a week can be very beneficial.
Jogging, fast walking, biking, and taking part in active sports can improve your endurance and help to prevent heart attack and stroke. Combining such aerobic exercise with moderate weight training will strengthen your bones, internal muscles, and limbs. These activities also contribute to maintaining a higher metabolism, which automatically helps you to control your weight.
Use your feet. Exercise is beneficial for people of all ages. You do not need membership in a gym to start exercise! Simply using your feet instead of a car, bus, or elevator is a good start. Why wait for a ride when you can walk to your destination, perhaps even arriving there faster?
No matter how old you are when you start, you can benefit from moderate physical activity. If you are older or have health problems and have not been exercising, it is wise to consult a doctor about how to begin.
But do begin! An exercise that is started gradually and not overdone can help even the oldest to maintain muscle strength and bone mass. It can also help seniors to avoid falls.
Keep yourself clean. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Hand washing is the single most important thing that you can do to help prevent the spread of infection and to stay healthy and well.” Close to 80 percent of infections are said to be passed on by unclean hands.
Remember to wash them often throughout the day, especially before eating, preparing food, or dressing or even touching a wound, and do so after touching an animal, using the toilet, or changing a baby’s diaper.
Washing hands with soap and water is more effective than using alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Avoid infectious diseases. Avoid close physical contact or the sharing of eating from the same plate with someone who has a cold or the flu. Their saliva can pass the illness on to you.
Vaccination can help to prevent some infections, but a wise person must still take necessary precautions when someone who has an infectious disease. A small chance of getting infected is also insect bites. Small chance but worth considering it. Use bed nets and insect repellents.
Keep your home clean. Make an extra effort to keep your home tidy and clean, inside and outside as well. Eliminate all places where water can collect and mosquitoes can breed. Unwashed and uncovered foods and garbage attract insects and vermin, all of which can bring in microbes and cause disease.
Avoid injuring yourself. And this I mean in a very serious tone! Obey safety laws when working, riding a bicycle or motorcycle, or driving a car. Make sure your vehicle is safe to drive and to use appropriate protective equipment and clothing, such as safety glasses, headgear, and footwear, as well as seat belts and hearing protection.
Avoid excessive sun exposure, which can cause cancer and premature aging of the skin. If you smoke, stop. Quitting now will significantly lower your risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke.
Motivate Yourself And Your Family
Public and private institutions in many lands provide educational programs and literature on a wide range of health topics. Take advantage of them, and educate yourself about basic ways to improve your health and to avoid endangering it. Keep an open mind, and be willing to make simple adjustments.
It takes more than self-interest to establish and maintain a healthy way of life. Eliminating bad habits can be daunting and hard, and making even simple adjustments often requires strong motivation. Even the threat of serious illness and death may not move some to do what they know is good for them.
But you can do only as much. You keep helping yourself and others around you, and if they don’t want that help, you know you tried your best, and keep trying to improve their life.
Whatever adjustments you need to make, you may experience more success by starting slowly and gradually and not setting goals you can’t reach. For example, try cutting down on less healthy foods, rather than cutting them out. Try going to bed a little earlier and getting a little more exercise.
Doing something is better than doing nothing. It takes time before a new good habit becomes second nature. In the meantime, if you do not see immediate benefits from your extra efforts, do not despair. If you persist, despite setbacks, your health is likely to improve.
It is impossible for anyone to attain perfect health and at one point you will get sick. Not because of negligence on your part. Perhaps you were just at the wrong place in the wrong time.
Therefore, do not let health concerns, or anything else, cause excessive stress and anxiety for you. Instead, simply try to avoid things that needlessly shorten life and impair its quality. Doing so can help you to enjoy the best health possible!
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I am looking forward to seeing your comments. Have a great day and till next time, remember, your body deserves best, and so do you!