Improve Your Health
You can dramatically improve your health now with these 5 simple steps. We are our own worst enemy. A building begins with its foundation. A weak foundation is a recipe for disaster. Problems with the foundation can result in buildings tumbling down. Our health is no different. There are basic health guidelines that serve as our bodies foundation. A weak foundation and we crash. A strong foundation will improve your health. You can immediately start feeling better and improve your health. You have the power to set a course for a longer, happier, healthier life.
Nutrition is the process of giving the body what it needs. Our bodies are amazing. They know what to do. For example, they will tirelessly maintain and repair themselves. But they require the necessary nutrients. Just like a master chef. Our bodies will prepare a fabulous meal if they have the right ingredients. You can improve your health now with proper nutrition.
Making sure we get the right ingredients
The food pyramid is a bit confusing. A better way to remember proper nutrition is to imagine a plate of food. Then divide the plate into two halves. The first half is vegetables and fruit. We actually need more vegetables than fruit. So, this half of the plate should consist of mostly vegetables with some fruit. Don’t forget berries. Additionally, for vegetables, fruit, and berries, the more the variety of types and colors, the better. Vegetables that are dark green, red, and orange are particularly good. A quarter of the plate should be whole grains. Whole being the key word. Refined grains such as flour, regardless of type are not healthy. The last quarter is protein. Healthy proteins consist of fish, poultry, lean beef, beans, nuts, seeds, and eggs. Quality beef is free range, grass-fed, and free of hormones and antibiotics.
Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese should be non or low-fat. Switch to healthier oils such as olive and canola for cooking and in salad dressings. Eating a small meal every three to four hours will stabilize our metabolism. This also regulates blood sugar levels among other things required for good health and weight management. A portion fits in the palm of our hand. Try to include protein with each meal. You can improve your health now with proper nutrition.
Avoiding detrimental ingredients
A great way to look at food and beverage consumption is to ask a simple question. Is this good for me? Is this quality nutrition? If not, then it should be considered toxic. It can be lumped into one of two categories. Food or poison.
Salt, sugar, and fat are poison to the body. They also happen to be addictive. They stimulate the same pleasure center in the brain as heroin. Food manufactures are well aware of this. Raw, whole, natural foods are food. Processed foods are poison. First of all, processed foods are stripped of natural fiber and nutrients. Furthermore, they are filled with ingredients to stimulate food addictions. Craving certain foods, especially the foods containing sugar, salt, and fat, is more like a junkie craving their drug than legitimate hunger. We probably don’t even like the foods we crave as much as we think we do. We crave these foods because we are addicted to them. Fast food, fried foods, candy, chips, and other highly processed foods are detrimental to our health. A little here and there may be ok provided we eat healthy nearly all the time.
Once we get into healthy eating habits our sensitivity will develop to a point of self-regulation. A treat is a treat only if it is not an addiction. Sugary drinks such as soda are obviously not good for us, but there are some tricksters. Fruit juice seems like a healthy choice. But it is mostly sugar-water unless it is 100% juice. Even 100% juice, if it has the pulp strained out is just a healthier sugar-water. Booze or alcohol breaks down into sugar. And mixed drinks have a lot of added sugar. French fries do not count as vegetables, sorry. Limit butter. Avoid unhealthy oils such as trans fats.
Our bodies are made up of over 50% water. We can survive longer without food than without water. Every function of the body requires water. Minimum requirements for water intake are 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. Increase this amount with increased activity level, pregnancy, illness, toxicity, and when consuming dehydrating drinks such as alcohol or caffeine. Caffeine naturally occurs in coffee and tea, and is found in many sodas. Today’s energy drinks are loaded with sugar, caffeine, and other unhealthy substances. Any noticeable water loss can cause health problems. But 25% body water loss causes coma and death. You can improve your health now by drinking plenty of water.
So, you don’t want to live at the gym. You don’t have to. But you do need to move around. Our bodies require exercise for good health. It’s not just a matter of burning calories. The point is we need exercise for proper health maintenance and body function. Either use it or lose it. In addition, there are lots of choices for exercise. Find something you enjoy. Anything that gets you up and moving is good. Some resistance training should also be included. This builds as well as maintains bones, muscle, and lean body mass. If pumping iron isn’t your thing, anything that works against gravity will do. You can use a set of dumb bells or body weight. There are endless resistance exercises that will get the job done. For example, planks, burpees, pull ups, and push ups. Stretching needs to be included to balance muscle tension.
A biggie is cardio. Ideally we need to get the heart pumping and break a sweat for 30 minutes 5 times per week. Any activity that gets your cardio up and holds it up will do. Start slow in the beginning. Over doing it will set you back and can cause injury. The idea is to improve your health, not wreck it. Just get started. You can always add to your routine. You can improve your health now with exercise.
We often overlook sleep. But getting enough sleep is critical for mental and physical health. Some functions that are necessary for good health are only performed while we sleep. Uninterrupted sleep. Most adults over 18 years of age require between 6-9 hours of sleep per night. It varies from person to person and on activity level. You can improve your health now by getting enough sleep.
5. Stress Management
Items 1-4 are stressors. So, if taken seriously they will eliminate a lot of stress. Additionally stress management consists of managing the day-to-day stress of life. Anything that has a calming effect will do. I prefer meditation and Tai Chi. Most people will find these to be exceptional methods of stress management. Last but not least is attitude. A good attitude perceives life positively. Conversely, a bad attitude perceives life negatively. The actual events in life are nothing in comparison to the way we perceive them. While perception controls our experience, we control our perception. An attitude of gratitude is the proper perspective for good health. You can improve your health now with stress management.
The bottom line
First, almost all of our 30-50 trillion cells are replaced every year. Furthermore this can be for better or for worse. Especially relevant is our life style. If we give the body what it needs. If we take care of our body. It will take care of us. By following these 5 simple steps we can actually be biologically younger next year. We can feel better physically and mentally. We can add 20 years or more onto our life. More importantly we can be healthy and active, doing what we enjoy. Finally, health is the art of balance. We determine that balance.