Great Ways to Stay Healthy
by Jane Wada
Diet, exercise and lifestyle choices are the mainstays in keeping healthy. Nowadays, our 24/7 lifestyles and the plethora of health-related information and choices can make it a challenge to be and stay healthy.
Atkins or the cabbage soup diet? Organic or non-organic? 24-hour gyms or yoga studios? Return to the basics and staying healthy becomes a breeze.
Keep it Simple
Visit your doctor to get physical exams annually to make sure that cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels are in check. Physicals can aid in early detection and prevention. Sexual health is part of your overall well-being, so ask your doctor to test for sexually transmitted diseases and practice safe sex.
Get between seven and eight hours of natural sleep so that your mind and body can function effectively. Changing schedules, stress and environmental changes affect sleep patterns and can lead to sleep disorders. If sleep aids are necessary, stick with natural remedies such as melatonin, which are less addictive and have less impact on our REM sleep.
Keep it Going
According to dietary requirements, individuals at normal weights should exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes every day. Exercise increases circulation, strengthens muscles and enhances your mood with the release of endorphins, which are the body's natural painkillers. Exercising daily for 30 minutes can also decrease the risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
Whether it is jogging, Pilates, aerobics, yoga or swimming depends on individual preference and dietary needs. Some are great cardio calorie-burning exercises, while others have a spiritual element. Take advantage of the free trials offered by gyms and yoga or Pilate's studios to determine which one is for you.
Keep hydrated by drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. Not only does water make up 60 percent of our body weight, it is essential in flushing out toxins from vital organs, carrying nutrients to cells and providing moisture to tissues. Drinking sodas or coffee does not count, and buying a good water filter can ensure that you are drinking clean pure water.
Keep it to Real Foods
Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grain and make these fiber foods the majority of your diet. Fiber foods are carbohydrates with relatively low in calories that will fill you up, keep insulin and blood sugar in check and provide other health benefits. Fruits and vegetables with bright colors -- red bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots -- typically have antioxidant benefits or contain more vitamins and minerals.
Stay away from saturated animal fats with bad cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart diseases, as well as trans fat used in most processed foods. Instead, eat fish and nuts and use olive oil when cooking. All of these have high omega-three levels, making them heart-healthy foods.
In addition, limit processed foods as much as possible because they offer little to no nutritional value and are packed with sodium. A microwavable meal may require less time than making a meal from scratch, but your body will thank you in the end.