Health Guidelines For Healthy Living

“Health is Wealth” is a cliche, but it’s oft-repeated for a reason. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who prefers being sick over enjoying health. On a small scale, good health is an essential ingredient for human happiness. To a large extent, it contributes to economic development because a healthy population is more productive.

Many factors figure in good health, such as a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and adequate sleep. It might seem daunting to have to check off all factors in the list to maintain health in this busy, fast-paced modern world, but fitness is a pleasurable concern that gives more than it takes. And the longer you stay on track, the easier it gets.

What we mentioned, though, is practically the textbook approach to maintaining health. Exercise, taking things in moderation, a balanced diet, and enough sleep are the usual and rather common recommendations to healthy living. In this article, we’ll explore the ones that aren’t too common but makes sense if you want to keep yourself at the pink of health. Keep in mind the following guidelines on your pink brick road to a healthier and happier you.

Eat Food Without Pesticides

Nowadays, pesticides are ubiquitous in mass farming and agriculture. While they protect produce against insects, bacteria, molds, and other pests, various reports suggest that they may cause harm to human health.

The five produce contaminated the most with pesticides, according to a 2018 list by the Environmental Working Group, are strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, and grapes. Nonetheless, the report does not imply we have avoided these products, but rather, consumers should take great care to clean and wash the produce before eating them.2

A simple rinse, rub, and scrub is all it takes to remove pesticides. You should also soak farm produce in a solution of water and baking soda. Two cups of water, a teaspoon of baking soda and two minutes of soaking is all it takes.3 

Of course, organic crops are always a safer bet. Instead of synthetic pesticides, produce is grown using natural means to ward off pests. While buying organic is, unfortunately, a pricier option these days, you wouldn’t have to bother with removing pesticides from your food.4

Find Out Your Personal Diet

Popular diet plans crop up every now and then, and everyone seems to shift from one diet fad to another. While some rave about the success of these diet plans, the majority fail in the long run because the diet is not specifically tailored to them. The term diet does not necessarily mean a meal plan that helps lose weight. It means the usual groups of foods consumed by a person regularly.

Diets should be individualized5, tailored to fit each person, and it makes sense. Our lifestyles practically dictate the foods we eat. In the urban setting, we have no time to prepare food from scratch; our diets are adapted to what is available regardless of quality. Foods high in sugar, salt, and food preservatives are widely available and convenient. 

A proper diet is a large part of a healthy lifestyle but it has to fit your unique circumstances –work schedule, family, preferred exercise, body type, target weight loss/gain, and other considerations while making sure the diet meets the nutritional requirements the body needs. We recommend getting a meal plan tailored to your lifestyle. Nutrition or dietitian should be able to help. 

Take Needed Supplements

A varied diet rich in vitamins and minerals provides all the essential nutrients the body needs. However, it can be challenging to know if there are nutritional gaps in our diet unless signs and symptoms of deficiency manifest. Our hectic lifestyles make things complicated.

Supplements can address this problem by providing nutrients that could be missing. We advise that you consult a doctor first before using supplements.6

Take note that vitamin and mineral supplements are not the same as herbal supplements. Doctors would recommend vitamin or mineral supplementation since these are necessary for the proper functioning of the body. The same cannot be said with herbal supplements; however, since the organic components that make those supplements beneficial cannot be considered as essential to proper human function.7

Shilajit for Boosting Your Health

Some supplements offer more than just herbal compounds. Shilajit, for example, contains nutrients and trace minerals, all necessary for the proper functioning of health. Thus it can be used as a nutrient supplement just like multivitamins. If shilajit piqued your interest, we highly recommend PürblackTM for authentic, all-natural shilajit. 

Do note that supplements can enhance health, but not reverse any chronic disease or ailment. Too much can also be harmful, and with herbal supplements, dependency or tolerance may result, so bear in mind how much your body needs.  

Reduce Salt and Sugar Intake

The general population consumes too much salt and sugar. It does not even matter if we cite a source for this one since a short trip to the grocery store is enough for you to see all the processed foods filled with sugar and canned goods filled with salt. These products are the cause of the ever-rising incidence of heart disease and the lifestyle associated with diabetes.8 These are modern epidemics that are a result of our ultra-consumerist and sedentary lifestyle. As expected, studies reveal that the processed sugars and salt in processed foods are mainly responsible for the rise of disease and not the sugars found at home. 

  • Sugar

The maximum daily recommended by the American Heart Association is 24 grams of added sugars (Those added to the sugar naturally occuring in food) for a woman consuming 1600 calories a day. These usually refer to refined sugars and not sugars naturally occuring from carbohydrate sources, although you might want to cut down on those too as excess carbohydrates are stored as fat by the body, which is the primary reason leading to obesity.9

To cut down on sugar, remember to check the labels of packaged food as these contain a lot of added sugars. Sweetened drinks like soda and artificial fruit juices are also sugar bombs; it is better to rely on fresh fruits for your sweet tooth fix. Fruits contain naturally occuring sugar that is better assimilated by the body plus the bonus of other nutrients and fiber.

  • Salt

The Association recommends no more than 2300mg, or about a teaspoon of salt every day.10

Restaurant food and commercially prepared food naturally contains a lot of salt. MSG or monosodium glutamate is heavily used in the restaurant industry for flavor. To cut down from salts is to avoid consuming those foods or at the very least, look for better, healthier options. Choose the Olive Garden instead of McDonald’s or Burger King on your next trip. It is the same thing with processed foods. They naturally contain a lot of sugar acting as preservatives. Look for low-sugar options instead, and while you are at it, look for low – fat, processed foods too.

Fresh foods that you prepare yourself are a better alternative because you can control the amount of salt that goes into the food. Adding herbs and spices to your dish is also a great way to better the flavor without introducing too much salt. 

We agree, however, that this may not be the best-followed advice in our fast-paced lifestyle. The healthy food alternative revolution is in full swing; thus, healthier options can be had. It also helps if you understand the different kinds of food groups and have at least a basic grasp of nutrition. When you go to your local grocery, you already know what foods to add to your cart.

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking water is crucial to health because it replaces the fluids lost each day from physical activity and normal involuntary processes like breathing, urination, and skin evaporation. It is a nutrient Afterall with a higher significance than food. Man can live without food for three straight weeks but only takes around four days for a man to die from dehydration. Our body is 60% water, which makes it an essential component not just for health but for survival. Bodily fluids maintain fundamental physiological functions like transportation of nutrients, circulation, absorption, and digestion. Inadequate intake of water presents a whole host of problems like dry skin, constipation, fatigue, kidney stones, and in extreme cases, death.11

The usual recommendation is to take eight glasses of water a day. No doubt, eight glasses everyday help, and it is easy to remember, but what is not accounted for in this advice is the fact that each person has his unique lifestyle and physical activity vary. A more active person will likely need more water since he or she will lose more.12 The same may not apply to someone with a sedentary lifestyle. What we recommend is simple. Thirsty? Drink water.

Eight glasses then should only serve as a guideline. In reality, each person needs to tailor his water needs according to his lifestyle, physical activity, or if he has diseases and ailments. When you feel thirsty, drink water, and avoid beverages when you can.

Keep Your Mind In Balance

The physical body cannot be placed in a vacuum, disconnected from the mind and environment. All these components are interconnected and inseparable and should be considered when talking about holistic approaches to health. The common misconception is that only folk medicine sees the mind as an essential part of health. However, even Western Medicine talks about stress and its debilitating effects on the physical body. All traditions are, therefore, unanimous in the notion that mind matters.

In this light, illnesses can be viewed as a manifestation of misalignment within our whole being and not just our physical selves. Of course, there are some diseases not caused by negative thoughts or a toxic environment, such as congenital ones. However, this does not discount the fact that many illnesses are a result of mental toxicity. Even empirical minds can believe this because negative thinking can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle, ultimately resulting in physical diseases.13

Meditation is one of the most effective practices to achieve a healthy and balanced mind. Meditation brings peace into our minds, a place of refuge away from all the noise and distractions of society. Negative patterns of thinking are also changed by meditation, as all the negative chatter your brain is used to falls away gradually. A study by the Massachusetts General Hospital found that the brain could be rewired positively with only eight weeks of regular meditation. Areas of the brain managing stress regulation, memory, sense of self, and empathy were all improved.14

Good, restful sleep is also essential for mental wellness, as it replenishes our energy for cognitive and physical activities and stress regulation. The generally recommended amount of sleep is 6 to 8 hours each night.15 

Other enjoyable forms of stress release include humor, journaling for self-reflection and catharsis, and constant gratitude. Doing what makes you genuinely happy also helps. If traveling relieves your stress, then you should go out there and hit the road.16

Engage in Sports Activities

Exercise and other forms of physical activity trigger brain chemicals that fight off stress and make you happier and more relaxed, such as endorphins. They condition our muscles, our bones, and joints and help in weight loss, leading to a fitter, healthier body. It makes us happier too.17

There is no shortage of options for exercise and other physical activities. This is a component of health where you can have free reign to choose whichever activity matches your lifestyle, schedule, environment, natural preferences, and goals.

Change Bad Habits Into Healthy Ones

Changing bad habits and replacing them with healthy ones is quite simple. It’s not easy, but it’s simple. First, it helps to get inspired by many people who have gotten over that wall and led themselves to better health.18

Next, cultivate good habits first instead of removing the negative ones. The logic behind this is that bad habits are almost always triggered by something stressful, such as forced socialization, bad news, or work. Stopping yourself from a bad habit never works for long, because as soon as the stressful event occurs, it’s almost automatic that you’ll find comfort in the bad practice. For instance, going for a smoke whenever a little stress is felt is virtually instantaneous in many who like tobacco. Instead, what works is defining your triggers, and consciously practicing good “replacement” habit every time the trigger occurs. If you do this for long enough, it starts to become more natural and automatic. 

A man’s greatest treasure is his health. No amount of money can ever buy good health. As our lifestyles continue to change, adherence to the simple rules that keep us healthy gets more complicated. It is a growing concern too that lifestyle diseases continue to rise, including depression among young people. However, prevention is still better than cure. We need to remember that being healthy in both mind and body is achievable and will not cost us too much money. All we need to do is be consistent in following the rules that keep us fit not only physically but also mentally. 

REFERENCES:

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150999.php#types
  2. https://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/environmental-working-group-2018-shoppers-guide-to-produce-zm0z180onzsphe
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/11/a-personalized-diet-better-suited-to-you/
  6. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/08/should-you-take-dietary-supplements
  7. https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/supplements-remedies/taking-a-break-from-supplements/
  8. https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/news/treacherous-salt-leaves-sugar-in-dust
  9. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/added-sugars
  10. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sodium/how-much-sodium-should-i-eat-per-day
  11. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/why-is-water-important#saliva
  12. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
  13. https://www.health.com/heart-disease/can-negative-thinking-make-you-sick
  14. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation#section3
  15. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health
  16. https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-to-reduce-stress-3145195
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4061837/
  18. https://jamesclear.com/how-to-break-a-bad-habit