Americans have becoming increasingly unhealthy, sedentary, and unhappy in the last decade and rank relatively lower on the scale than other nations for overall healthiness and happiness. The two do often go hand in hand. Obesity is on the rise, closely correlated with a sedentary lifestyle and is one of the leading reasons for depression. The famous line “a healthy mind leads to a healthy body” also applies when talking about overall healthiness. This is a list of the top health tips for leading a happy and healthy lifestyle.
· Don’t diet. Eat healthier all of the time and it will be better in the long run. Losing weight gradually is generally better than losing it quickly and is more likely to stay off.
· Eat a high fiber diet. This is an important top health tip. This includes whole grains, brown bread, and cereals. Fiber regulates the digestive system and reduces the risk of bowel cancer. Average about 13-18 grams of fiber a day.
· Stay away from hazardous artificial sweeteners, and try to substitute sugar with the likes of natural sweetening alternatives such as agave nectar or better yet stevia artificial sweetener that is safe and sweet.
· Reduce the amount of saturated fat consumed daily. Only 35% of daily calorie intake should be fat calories and only 10% of those should be from saturated fats.
· Drink less alcohol. Men and women have different requirements – women should have less than 14 units per week and men should have less than 21 units of alcohol. That is equivalent to one glass of one or half a pint of beer. As usual, moderation wins out – a small amount of alcohol helps the heart while a large amount is bad.
· Try to eat the recommended five fruits and vegetable servings a day. It helps to vary the daily diet with different colored fruits and vegetables and also gives a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
· Consume more fish. Omega three fatty acids in the oils are very protective against heart disease and raised cholesterol levels. The recommended weekly serving of fish is two to three – because it provides 1.5 grams of fatty acids.
· Reduce the amount of salt consumed. No more than 5-6 grams of salt should be consumed daily and too much salt can cause heart complications later on.
· Drink about eight ounces of liquid a day. This is not limited to water and can be fruit juices. This helps the kidneys to flush and stay healthy and reduces urinary tract infections.
· Take vitamin and mineral supplements as a back up only. It is much easier to consume the proper foods and meet the minimum nutrient requirements.
· One of the most important top health tips is to exercise! Exercise thirty minutes a day at least to lower the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and most of all, to combat obesity.
These top health tips covered overall health, but it is important to remember that there are other ways to help our bodies stay healthy. For females, we should look to reduce our risk of osteoporosis. For males, prostate health and heart health are very important. These are the top health tips for bone health:
· Weight control. The bones are the shock absorbers of the body. If the body weighs more than is recommended the bones are under undue stress and can lead to osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and increased blood pressure. Avoid junk foods that are high in fat and cholesterol and have little nutritional value.
· Movement is another important top health tip. This will keep the body from gaining weight and the joints stiffening up from disuse. Low impact for at risk people is best.
· Do weight bearing exercises. As a person ages their bones become less dense and more brittle. Strengthening joints and bones with low impact exercise is optimal; not only does it keep the bones and joints moving, it also keeps the heart and other body systems in shape.
· Flexibility exercises are a top health tip as well; range of motion improves joint health by lubricating the joints and keeping them from becoming stiff.