15 Ways to Be Healthier

by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Published on May 27, 2020

Do you feel stressed all the time?  Do you get sick or feel too tired to do anything?  Do you look at the glass half-full or half-empty?  

If you want to take exciting trips and see new places, be an asset at work, have quality time with your loved ones, or just be able to do the things you want to do, then having a healthy lifestyle is very important.  Eating nutritious food, getting exercise, and having a positive outlook in life all contribute to a healthy lifestyle.  When you take care of yourself, your mind and body enable you to be the best you can be.  When this happens, you will have more energy to do the things that you want to do.  

Your body is a system where all organs work together to help you function and stay healthy. The health of one part of your body directly influences the other. Let’s take the heart and brain as an example. If you want your brain to function properly and enhance cognitive functioning, it’s not enough to focus on mind-engaging activities or intake of brain-healthy foods. Heart health matters too. Scientists have theorized that heart and brain influence one another for quite some time, and the latest study confirms it. If you want to have a healthy brain in your 40s, make sure you have a healthy heart in your 20s. Scroll down for more info!

15 Handy Tips on How to Be Healthy

If you really want to figure out how to be healthy, you need to treat your body with respect. The best way to do it is to take proper care of it. Did you know that almost 37% of the entire U.S. population is consuming junk food on a day to day basis?[1) 

If you are doing the same thing to your body, you can’t expect it to get you through life healthy and full of energy. All the chemicals, preservatives, and additives are literally abusing your system, and eventually, they will wear you out. To get back on track, we’ve selected some of the most practical solutions to aid your bodywork in full steam. 

  • Eating right

One of the ways of living a healthy lifestyle is having the best diet plan.  Now the word “diet” here does not mean a smoothie or any combination of the food groups to help you lose weight.  The best diet plan is simply eating food that will make you healthy. 

Good nutrition contributes to a healthy lifestyle because this can limit the risks of you getting diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.  Many people are adopting fad diets like South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers, etc.  because they associate losing weight and having a slimmer body to being healthy.  This is not the case.  Fad diets might make you lose weight quickly, yes.  However, it does not mean that you are starting to live a healthy lifestyle.  A fad diet can result in short-time weight control, reduced athletic performance, ketosis, and other health issues because they force you to eliminate food items that can actually contribute to your well-being.

When you eat right, your body gets the proper nutrition it needs to function right. This will benefit your cardiovascular and nervous system at the same time. 

Protein intake means shiny hair and stronger nails, bones, and muscles.  The fiber and omega 3 fats are excellent for the heart and brain. Besides, the better the heart health, the healthier the brain will be when you get to your 40s. Simply put, you are investing in your own health in the long run. 

According to reports, young adults need to be mindful of the food they eat in their 20s if they want to be proactive in their 40s. In other words, if you want to reduce the possibility of brain shrinkage and heart issues, you might as well start eating healthy sooner than later. [2)

 Include whole carbs like vegetables and whole grains in your diet, and you get the energy to make you sail through your activities.  Having more energy can actually open more doors for you because you will now feel like doing something, instead of feeling too stressed to do anything.

Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about the best diet plan for you.  Not all bodies are alike, and the diet that works for your, say, best friend, may not work for you. Before you add or limit your intake of certain food items, it is best to talk to a health expert to get the right results.

  • Think better

Do you want to pass that test?  Do you want to give a great presentation?  Then start putting on some music and start exercising.  Yes.  Research shows that exercise can actually contribute to improving memory.  Brain experts say that when you exercise, the parts of the brain for memory and attention are increased in some areas, thus making them work better.  

Not only does exercise make you think better, but it also gives you that much-needed energy to go through life.  Exercise or physical activity can improve the quality of your life.  It helps you control your weight, fight health problems, uplifts your spirit, helps you sleep better, and gives you a dose of energy, according to the Mayo Clinic.

  • Drink right

Did you know that drinking water can also contribute to having a healthy lifestyle?  The health benefits of drinking water include improved function of body fluids, controlled caloric intake, energized muscles, clean kidneys and colon, and healthy-looking skin. 

Can you imagine how important water is to your body?  Think of your body as a plant.  When the plant does not get enough water, its leaves turn yellowish, and its whole body starts to sort of crinkle up.  This is the same effect lack of water will have on your body.  When you are not sufficiently hydrated, your body does not function at its best.  It needs water to make the things inside it work “smoothly.” Would you rather drink less water and have grape-looking and dry skin? 

Chucking off alcohol and soda for pure water will give your body a refresh it needs.  Whenever you get tempted to grab a beer or drink your carbonated beverage, think of that wrinkly sad-looking plant.  Without enough water intake, your body will feel like that shriveled plant. 

  • Drop the Bad Habits

Attaining a healthy lifestyle is an active choice because it encourages you to make choices that you might not do otherwise, and that might force you to give up some habits. For instance, smoking, staying up late, binge eating, eating oily food, and not doing any physical activity are all habits that do not promote a healthy lifestyle.  

This is the basic advice you would need to follow if you stick to the Life’s Simple 7. According to the American Health Association, it is possible to improve your lifestyle by simply paying attention to the 7 factors that affect your heart health, one of them is smoking. It’s by far the most important thing when trying to avoid serious respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses. (3) 

When you do choose to lead a healthier life, the impact on your body and overall well-being is very significant.  When you exercise, you get sufficient oxygen inside your body to function well. Your brain, specifically, will start working at the optimum level because regular exercise allows for oxygen to pump blood more frequently to your brain. You will feel lighter but stronger.  You will feel more encouraged to do things that you felt too lethargic to do before.

  • Stay Hydrated 

Water plays a predominant role in a fully-functioning immune system. Not only do our bodies need it to function, but it is also necessary for carrying the oxygen and nutrients all around the system. We all need water to get rid of the toxins and waste. 

However, nearly 80% of adults in the U.S. say they don’t consume the recommended amount of water, survey shows. [4)

Since we are constantly losing water through perspiration, bowels, and urine, we have to replenish our sources every day. To live a long and healthy life, it’s vital to constantly regulate our water intake. [5) For an adult, the advised amount is 1.5l a day. This is the right amount to maintain proper hydration and a fully functioning system.

But, there is more to water than it meets the eye. It can also help shed excess pounds. Based on statistical analysis, water can curb the cravings and makes you less susceptible to overeating. In other words, it could prove beneficial when trying to stay slim. [6)

  • Skip the Refined Carbs

Not all carbohydrates are bad for the body. But, refined carbs are a whole different story. To manufacture food with refined carbs, all the fiber has to be removed. So, not only do you get a food devoid of fiber, but you also get a product low in nutrients. 

All the processing can have a major impact on overall health. If consumed in excessive amounts, there is a high possibility it will result in metabolic diseases, like diabetes, for example. [7) It’s a good idea to watch the food you eat to avoid putting too many unhealthy ingredients in the body. 

  • Get Proper Rest Every Day

The less you sleep, the more you’ll eat. [8) If you don’t get a shut-eye for too long, your body will start to crave foods as an only source of energy. Therefore, you will result in binge-eating and munching on more calories than you expected you’d eat that day. 

But this is not the only reason you should get a good rest. Research shows that sleep is an essential component in optimum physical health. While we sleep, the body is prompting all the important cells to start repairing the system and get the blood pumping. This is a natural rejuvenation process that protects our body from kidney failure, heart issues, diabetes, and more. [9)

  • Add a Bunch of Spices and Herbs to Every Meal

There is no need to add flavor and aroma with artificial sweeteners or dressings. Instead, opt for a healthier alternative. Culinary spices can come in handy. They have incredibly potent medicinal properties that will enhance the aroma and add rich flavor to each meal. 

But, most importantly, they have potent therapeutic properties for managing a series of chronic issues. In fact, most spices, like oregano, turmeric, ginger, and sage, are packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. [10)

These healthy properties can improve the mood and protect the respiratory system from all sorts of invading pathogens. If you are looking to build immunity, you may need to consider adding any of these spices to your meal plan.

  • Don’t Forsake Your Mental Health.

As unlikely as it sounds, you need to pay close attention to your mental health if you want to know how to be healthy. All the anxiety, stress, and depression will take a toll on your eating habits. You will be prone to changing your healthy patterns and choosing healthier food options to calm the mind. 

With poor mental health, people will be prone to making bad decisions, which will hinder their ability to fend off any health problems. The longer this issue remains untreated, the higher the possibility of cardiovascular issues. [11)

  • Don’t Give Yourself Too Many Restrictions

If you are looking to shed a few pounds and be healthy, there is no need to set rigorous rules, like skipping your favorite fast-food restaurant. The key to being healthy is to focus on results for the long-haul. For that, you need dedication and determination. 

The moment you get too restrictive, you will send all your efforts down the drain. You will lose the will to keep up with your rules and quickly go back to where you started. So, adopt a healthy lifestyle without actually going on a diet. Just focus on the good foods and get a cheat day once in a while. [12)

  • Eat the Eggs Whole

Some calorie-restricting diets are recommending you cut back on yolks and eat the whites instead. But, to be healthy, there is no reason to do that. Eggs are a valuable source of all sorts of vitamins – the yolks are no exception. They are excellent for metabolism. (13)

  • Do Some Lifting

Keep your body strong and your muscles stronger. This will help you steer clear of metabolic conditions and other health complications. So, do some lifting or any kind of resistance training to keep the system up and working. (14)

  • Eat Often, But With Smaller Portions

It’s a good idea to implement a bunch of different foods in your meal plan. If you have trouble curbing the cravings and snack time, why don’t you add more meals throughout the day, but in smaller portions? That’s right; it is possible to stay healthy just by revamping the regular meal plans. All you have to do is make a number of smaller meals with all the fruits and veggies you can find. You will be full of energy. [15)

  • Go Easy on the Salt

Excessive salt intake can cause blood pressure to spike. But, it can also result in various heart issues. It is a good idea to go easy on the salt and choose herbs instead. Of course, you can still eat salt, since it’s super tasty. Just do it in moderation. [16)

  • Make Walking a Habit

Simple, yet efficient – walking will keep the blood pumping and the cardiovascular system up and running. Instead of having to do heavy exercises every single day, opt for regular walking. You will get the physical exercise the body needs without breaking a sweat. (17)

Heart health for better brain health

A strong heart is vital for overall health and wellbeing. This explains why healthcare providers and scientists recommend various measures that can help people improve heart health. One of these measures comes in the form of Life’s Simple 7 (18) developed by the American Heart Association (AHA)

Scientists discovered that young adults with healthy hearts also have larger, healthier brains in midlife. It is highly important to be proactive and have a healthy lifestyle rather than thinking nothing bad can happen. Life’s Simple 7 is an easy plan that promotes a healthy diet and regular physical activity, which is always important.

Life’s Simple 7 contains, as you can guess, seven steps for better cardiovascular health. These steps include: 

  • Be active 
  • Control cholesterol levels
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Lose weight/maintain weight in a healthy range
  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce blood sugar

Why is Life’s Simple 7 so important? Although the plan is created to help you improve heart health, it can do so much more than that. People who follow these simple guidelines can also score better on cognitive tests. 

Life’s Simple 7 for brain health

Improved brain health through the stronger heart just by adhering to Life’s Simple 7 is not a baseless claim. Michael Bancks, Ph.D., and a team of scientists at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago carried out a study whose goal was to investigate the relationship between AHA’s plan and brain structure. For this purpose, they used data the study, which included 518 participants followed for 30 years. 

At the beginning of the study, participants were screened for cholesterol, weight, height, and blood pressure. In addition, they were asked about their diet and level of physical activity. Follow-up examinations were held every 2-5 years. MRI scan was performed 25 years later. 

Participants were given a score based on adherence to Life’s Simple 7 plan for each of the seven parameters. Scores were: 

  • Poor adherence: 0-7
  • Intermediate adherence: 8-11
  • Ideal adherence: 12-14

Findings of this extensive research were published in Neurology (19) and showed that adherence scores changed significantly during the research period. 

Scores at the baseline were as follows: 

  • Poor adherence: 5%
  • Intermediate adherence: 62%
  • Ideal adherence: 33%

During the course of the study, people changed in terms of how likely they were to follow the plan: 

  • Poor adherence: 26%
  • Intermediate: 58%
  • Ideal adherence: 16%

What else did the study find?

The most amazing discovery confirmed what scientists have speculated for years. Participants with better heart health (20) had higher-than-average brain volume in midlife. Basically, people with a healthier heart in their 20s have larger and healthier brains in their 40s. 

These findings are particularly important if you bear in mind that brain volume loss is associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Scientists urge young adults to be more mindful of their heart health. Instead of thinking, “I’m young, and everything I do is OK” or “I’m too young to have heart problems,” you should be proactive and have a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce the risk of heart diseases and brain shrinkage. 

Conclusion

Having a healthy lifestyle is not hard to do, especially when you think of all the wonderful things you can achieve when you are healthier and more active.  When you have more energy, you feel more inclined to do new things like traveling or taking up a sport. 

Start making healthier choices when it comes to food, drinks, and activities.  There are so many resources on the Internet for nutritious recipes as well as workouts for your body type.  It might also be helpful if you have a buddy to take the road to healthy living with you.  Tell a friend or a family member about your plan to start living a healthy lifestyle.  This way, you can get the encouragement and support you need to make the switch. 

References

  1. https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/17784-nearly-37-percent-of-americans-regularly-eat-fast-food-study-shows
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318503
  3. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/my-life-check–lifes-simple-7
  4. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nearly-80-percent-of-working-americans-say-they-dont-drink-enough-water-quench-survey-300668537.html
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19724292/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18787524/
  7. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/103/3/e26.short
  8. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/study-sleeping-less-may-mean-youll-eat-more/
  9. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30651162/
  11. https://onlinedegrees.bradley.edu/blog/how-mental-health-affects-physical-health/
  12. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/27-health-and-nutrition-tips#section25
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6126094/
  14. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743501909090
  15. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-small-frequent-meals-can-help-athletes-keep-energy-high/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5098396/
  17. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/walking-for-good-health
  18. www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/My-Life-Check—Lifes-Simple-7_UCM_471453_Article.jsp%23.WXEPXYiGNdh
  19. www.neurology.org/content/early/2017/07/19/WNL.0000000000004222
  20. www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318503.php

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