Tips to Avoid Major Health Issues
Health issues are a part of life, and they're something that practically everyone will eventually have to deal with. However, there are proven ways to avoid major health issues, particularly ones which are largely preventable. While genetics does play a role in many of the leading causes of chronic illness, there are practical steps you can take to minimize your chances of developing conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. Lifestyle modifications and dietary interventions are the keys to enjoying good health throughout your life.
Lifestyle Tips for Good Health
Chances are you're already familiar with the major lifestyle modifications you can make to improve your health. However, many people are unaware of the full extent of the benefits that come from exercising regularly and avoiding toxins and carcinogens. Here's a closer look at the full range of benefits you can enjoy from adopting a healthier lifestyle:
- Exercise. In addition to playing key roles in weight control and cardiovascular health, research shows that regular exercise can boost your mood, help you reduce your risk of mental illness, and keep you looking younger. Aim for at least 30 minutes of vigorous activity per day, at least three times per week.
- Smoking cessation. Quitting smoking reduces your risk for most cancers and helps you maintain optimal reproductive health. You'll also have more energy and an increased ability to engage in vigorous exercise.
- Limiting alcohol intake. Heavy drinking is associated with an increased risk of many physical and mental health conditions, including high blood pressure, liver disease, kidney disease, depression, anxiety, and many others. Like smoking, it can also affect reproductive health and sexual performance. Doctors recommend consuming no more than two alcoholic drinks per day and no more than 10 to 12 alcoholic drinks per week.
Dietary Tips for Good Health
Fad diets and aggressive weight loss programs generally don't lead to lasting improvements to your health. In fact, most people who adopt these techniques end up gaining back whatever weight they lose and readopting their old eating habits. Doctors stress the importance of developing eating habits you can live with for your whole life, and the good news is that the occasional indulgence won't do you any harm so long as you are generally careful about what you eat. This is especially true if you exercise regularly, don't smoke and minimize your alcohol intake.
Here are the generally accepted guidelines for healthy eating:
- Adults should take in approximately 1,800 to 2,500 calories per day, depending on your height, your body type, and whether you're a man or a woman
- Minimize your intake of saturated fat, sugar and salt; experts recommend that you eat no more than 25 grams of saturated fat and 6 grams of sodium per day
- Balance things out with the proper proportions of protein and carbohydrates; aim for about 50 grams of protein and 250 to 300 grams of carbohydrates per day
- Choose whole grains over refined flours
- Avoid the "empty calories" of foods with little or no nutritional payoff
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables; get 5 to 10 servings of these food sources per day
In recent years, more and more people have begun to source their food more carefully, choosing organic and locally grown products over mass-produced alternatives. While research into the health benefits of this approach to diet is still in its infancy, and while there is considerable debate within the scientific community in regards to the health benefits of eating organic, the general consensus is that it certainly won't do you any harm to be more selective about where your meat and produce comes from.
Good health enhances your enjoyment of life. It also helps your mental health, cognitive sharpness, and emotional well-being. It's never too late to adopt a healthier lifestyle, so if you've been neglecting yours, now is the best time to make the necessary changes.