Living a healthy lifestyle is a matter of making the right decisions for our physical and mental health. It’s also a matter of avoiding actions, habits, and behaviors that do not contribute to good health and well-being.
Physical and mental health are linked in many ways, and finding balance is essential for them to function well together. The thing is, if you Google some healthy tips for healthy living, chances are, you may get confused by the amount of information as well as the plethora of opposing opinions stated by qualified experts. To help you out, here’s a list of tried-and-true tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
There are over forty different nutrients that our bodies need in order to function properly. The thing is, many of us aren’t really getting all those nutrients from their diet. This often happens because we stick to a couple of different meals that may be convenient but not exactly nutrient-rich. Because there’s no single food item that can give us all the nutrients we need, varying our diet is crucial.
There are so many recipes you can use to add variety to your diet and eat healthier. You should also make sure that you’re eating regularly. That means not skipping meals, especially breakfast, and snacking in-between meals to keep hunger under control. If you had a large meat dish for dinner, maybe you can go for something lighter the next day (fish). Similarly, if you had a high-fat lunch, look for some low-fat dinner options. Healthy living is all about finding balance and enjoying the foods you eat without making any major restrictions.
Our overall health is largely influenced by our gut microbiota, especially our heart health. While certain bacteria are associated with chronic diseases (obesity), other microorganisms are actually very useful and crucial for our health.
To stimulate healthy bacterial growth, eat more foods rich in polyphenols (olive oil, whole grains, green tea, dark chocolate, etc.). These bioactive plant compounds can be found in whole grains and green tea, but there are also supplements containing olive oil polyphenol that you can conveniently incorporate into your diet. Other than polyphenols, you should also include more probiotics and fiber. They’ll provide gut bacteria with the fuel it needs in order to function properly. Try to eat more fermented foods (sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt), prebiotic foods (bananas, apples), whole grains, and consider going plant-based.
While eating a healthier diet means choosing more nutrient-rich options, it also means eliminating or limiting intake of certain foods. Let’s start off with carbohydrates. It’s important to know that not all carbohydrates are the same, and they all have different health effects. Whole carbs are the healthiest option as they’re found naturally in the food (potatoes, legumes, quinoa, etc.). They’re also unprocessed meaning they get to retain natural fiber. Refined carbs, on the other hand, often exclude fiber from their nutritional profile, and you’re better off limiting them.
The same goes for sugar and artificial trans fats. Excessive intake of sugar is linked to higher risk of developing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Similarly, the consumption of man-made trans fats has also been linked to heart disease as well as inflammation. Some countries have banned trans fats in the U.S. and around the globe. However, they’re still present in certain foods.
Even if you’re fit and in great health, regular physical activity is still essential to your overall health and well-being. When you’re physically active, it’s much easier to maintain a healthy body weight and keep those extra pounds at bay. You’re also doing something good for your heart and circulatory system, and you also get to boost your muscle mass. Physical activity also comes with some major mental health benefits, regardless if your activity of choice is dancing, swimming, jogging, or walking.
Getting plenty of rest every night is just as essential as getting your body moving. Poor sleep patterns and insufficient sleep often lead to insulin resistance, weight gain, and obesity. If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, make necessary changes to your environment (regulate temperature, avoid bright lights, etc.).
Many of us have the desire to change their habits and live a healthier lifestyle. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be complex or challenging. In fact, it’s all a matter of understanding the do’s and don’ts of healthy living and acting accordingly.