Genetics do affect our health and occasionally we need a doctor’s skill to pull us through some of the tough spots, but most of the responsibility for our health rests on our own shoulders. No matter how old you may be or how unhealthy you are right now, you can improve your health, live longer, enjoy life more, and cut down on some of those medical bills, your own and your countries.
Add to these ten suggestions a healthy dose of exercise each and every day, and your life will be good.
The key is moderation. We all enjoy treats. The sweet, salty, and fatty foods, that surround us, are part of our life and periodically we all enjoy them. Do so in moderation, and you will be on the right track. Here are ten steps to better health.
1. DRINK AT LEAST EIGHT, 8 OUNCE, GLASSES OF WATER EACH AND EVERY DAY.
The body is about seventy percent water, which is constantly being lost through urination, respiration, and perspiration. Water is needed by the body to carry oxygen to the lungs, to remove body wastes and to regulate the body temperature. During exercise and hot weather, the body needs even more water than the usual eight glasses. Do not think that thirst will tell you when you need to drink water. Long before you feel thirst, your body is showing the negative affects of water shortage.
2. EAT LESS RED MEAT AND MORE FISH.
Red meats tend to be high in saturated fats and so raise the blood cholesterol, which contributes to heart disease. A diet heavy in red meat increases the chance of colorectal cancer and is strongly suspected of contributing to other cancers as well. Although red meat is a good source of protein, so is fish, skinned chicken (skin it before cooking), beans, nuts, and some vegetables.
3. EAT A VARIETY OF FRUITS
Fruit is packed with nutrients, such as Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, as well as others. It contains water and fiber and gives us energy. Fruit contributes to healthy skin, eyes, bones, teeth, hormones, cells and digestion, as well as a healthy immune system. Fruit also gives us energy.
Fruit juices contain some nutrition but not to the degree that whole fruit does. Pure, fresh fruit juices are good on occasion but do not use them as a substitute for whole fruit.
4. EAT ONLY WHOLE GRAIN PRODUCTS
If possible, do your own baking. In breads and other baked goods, you can gradually increase the amount of whole grain flour and cut down on the other. Purchase whole wheat pastas and substitute brown rice for white. The flavor is better and you will be doing your body a favor.
Whole grains provide more nutrients than do the more processed versions, including vitamins B and E, as well as zinc, selenium, copper, and fiber. Whole grains contain the whole seed of a plant, each part of which is beneficial to our health.
A diet rich in whole grains reduces the risk of type two diabetes, and the risk of heart disease. Such a diet helps maintain a healthy body weight and aids both digestion and elimination. Because whole grains are digested and absorbed more slowly, they make us feel fuller and so are ideal for dieters.
5. EAT FROM FIVE TO SEVEN SERVINGS OF VEGETABLES EVERY DAY
Eat a variety of vegetables, the more brightly colored the better. Brighter colors mean more nutrition.
Vegetables contain large amounts of Vitamins A, B, C, and D. These nutrients assist in the building and maintenance of eyes, skin, bones, teeth, hair, the reproductive system, and the immune system. Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and carrots, are also powerful anti-carcinogens.
Raw vegetables, almost always, contain more nutrients than cooked vegetables so salads are an excellent addition to any meal.
6. USE POLYUNSATURATED OILS
Always read labels when you are shopping. Labels must inform you of the type of oil you are purchasing. Polyunsaturated oils lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise the so-called good cholesterol (HDL).
Two good choices are extra-virgin olive oil and macadamia nut oil. The latter is actually monounsaturated, and is excellent oil for stir-frying.
Remember, some oils are much better for you than others but remember that oil is still oil so consume it in moderation.
7. CUT DOWN ON REFINED SUGARS
Refined sugars are of no value to the body. On the contrary they can lead to obesity, raise the blood insulin, depress the immune system, promote tooth decay, contribute to hyperactivity, elevate cholesterol, interfere with the balance of minerals in the body, and damage the kidneys and other internal organs. There is an undeniable connection between the excessive use of refined sugars and diabetes.
It is easy to cut down on the sugar you use for cooking and baking. Cut down gradually and there will be no noticeable change in taste. Cut down, and then out, the sugar you add to your tea and coffee.
There are alternative sweeteners that contain more nutrients than refined sugar. Some nutritious alternatives include unrefined raw sugar, molasses, maple syrup, honey, and brown rice syrup.
Remember that all sweeteners, no matter how nutritious, should be used sparingly.
If you are considering artificial sweeteners, do some research. Some contain undesirable elements.
8. FRY LESS
Almost everyone enjoys the taste of fried food and therein lies the danger. A society gorging itself on fried foods is also a society rife with obesity, heart disease, and cancers.
Instead of frying, try baking, or grilling. Make the change and your health will immediately begin to improve. Some foods also lend themselves to poaching.
9. CUT DOWN ON YOUR SALT INTAKE
Remove the salt shaker from the table. Try using herbs for flavor in place of salt. Salt causes the body to retain water, contributes to weight gain, slows the bodies metabolism, and can damage the kidneys. Salt contributes directly to high blood pressure, and the possibility of heart attack and stroke.
10. CONSUME ALCOHOL IN MODERATION, AND ELIMINATE SMOKING
Alcohol and cigarettes contribute to ill health, pain, misery, and death. Tobacco is responsible for about eighteen percent if the annual deaths in the United States. Alcohol is responsible for about three and one half percent of the annual deaths in the United States. Poor diet and lack of exercise are responsible for about sixteen percent of the annual deaths in the United States.
We are responsible for the decisions we make in life. Make healthy decisions for yourself and for your children.