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What is healthy living lifestyle? Review

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This is a thorough review of what is healthy living lifestyle, one thing is certain, it is not the end of the journey but the journey itself, that is why you will always have to be working on improving your physical, psychological, spiritual and environmental health, and it will result in a better life.

We all would like to live a healthier lifestyle, maybe for some people that means loosing weight or doing more exercise or quitting a bad habit, but how do we get started? You will learn some useful and easy tips that will help you to make small easy changes every day that will result in starting living healthier.

What is healthy living lifestyle

What is healthy living lifestyle

Get enough sleep

Studies have shown that when people sleep less, they gain weight because they compensate by eating more. If you are not sleeping well, you are going to get tired and cranky, and you are going to eat junk food because you are tired and cranky. You have to sleep well in order to eat well.

Adults need 7-9 hrs of sleep per night. Children and teens need even more sleep 8-14 hrs every night. Lack of sleep also causes premature aging and the development of some diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome and depression.

Exercise

Walking is one of the best exercises and it´s easy to do. The important thing is to get moving, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park your car a title further away from the entrance to your office or the mall, walk the dog or play and go cycling with your kids instead of watching TV, even title things during the day add up.

Pick exercises you enjoy and work out different parts of your body. It could be jogging, swimming, aerobics, basketball, football, soccer, dance class, or maybe you could join a gym a combine aerobics exercises with strength exercises. It´s about being healthy and having fun.

Your goal must be 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week, you would exercise 30 minutes 5 times a week. Also do strength exercises at least twice a week. If you’re overweight, just a 10% drop in weight will help you to reduce your blood pressure, cholesterol and improve your well-being. According to some studies, people who work out almost daily can add nearly four years to their life spans.

ChooseMyPlate.gov. United States Department of Agriculture.

The half plate rule filled with fruits and vegetables

For a healthy weight loss or maintain a healthy weight, you can fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal, that will allow you to keep calories under control and it will provide the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber that you need for a healthy body.

Pick different colored fruits and vegetables, the ones with bright colors are usually high in anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are good for our health because they remove free radicals that damage our cells. Following the half plate rule, you will keep under control risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer and premature aging.

The United States Department of Agriculture has created My Plate Rule. It is a healthy and balanced way of eating every meal.  One quarter of the plate is for lean proteins, one quarter is for whole grains, one quarter is for vegetables and one quarter is for whole fruits. Always accompany your meal with low fat milk or yogurt.

Drink plenty of water

Water is necessary for our bodies to work properly because over 60% of our body is made out of water. Besides, drinking more water also helps in loosing weight because it fills up your stomach making you less likely to over eat.

The general recommendation is to drink 8 glasses of water every day, but it will depend on your age, the amount of physical activities you practice, how thirsty you are and some conditions that might require more or less water intake.

Eat enough macro nutrients

Macro nutrients are needed to ensure normal growth, metabolism and well-being of our bodies. That´s why we need carbohydrates to give us inmediate energy. We also need proteins to help repair tissue, heal wounds, and create enzymes and hormones. Fat is needed to build cell membranes, for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation; and to absorb certain vitamins and minerals.

Eat a diet with a well balance of macro-nutrients (40% carbs, 30% proteins, 30% fats, vs. just eating one particular group). Be careful of fad diets. To eat a well-balanced diet, you should divide your plate in 4 quarters: 1 piece is for proteins (in general, the amount of protein you need is about the size of your palm), another quarter is for carbohydrates and the last 2 quarters (or half the plate) is for fruits and vegetables. Some studies have shown remission of pre-diabetes in obese adults with high protein versus high carbohydrate diet.

  • Highly recommended proteins are: salmon, sardines, chicken, lean meat, low fat dairy, seafood, nuts, eggs, seeds, beans and lentils.
  • Best source of carbohydrates are: grains, rice, potato, veggies, fruits, beans, lentils, legumes and peas.
  • Good fats are: avocado, olives, olive oil, canola oil, flax seed, dairy, eggs, salmon, nuts and seeds.

 

Choose healthy fats

We need healthy fats which are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are good for our body. Common sources of Monounsaturated fats are: olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts and sunflower oils.

Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats because your body can’t make them, so you must get them from food.  These fats lower LDL and triglycerides, and improve cholesterol levels.  Main sources are: salmon, sardines, flax seeds, walnuts, canola oil, unhydrogenated soybean oil. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, decrease the risk of coronary artery disease.

French fries

Avoid bad fats

Avoid trans fats which are partially hydrogenated oil in food ingredients. They increase harmful LDL cholesterol and reduce beneficial HDL cholesterol. An elevated LDL cholesterol level in the blood increases your risk of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death in men and women in the U.S.

Main sources are: solid margarine, cookies and pastries, fried food typically found in fast food restaurants (such as French fries, fried chicken, and doughnuts)

Limit a diet rich in saturated fat because it can drive up total cholesterol and more harmful LDL cholesterol, blocking arteries. Common sources are: red meat, whole milk and other whole-milk dairy foods, cheese, coconut oil and many commercially prepared baked goods.

Choose white meat

The best choice is to eat white meat such as chicken and fish because some studies have reported association between red meat consumption and increased risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, bladder cancer, and breast cancer.  Therefore, limit your consumption of red meat (beef, pork, lamb and goat).

Instead, eat more fish which is plenty of healthy fats and a great source of omega-3, protein and vitamin D. Fish seems to be protective against cancer. Besides, diets low in meat have been related to increased life expectancy. You don’t have to give up at all red meat to be healthy, but it would be prudent to limit your meat consumption. Think of veggies and grains as the main dish and meat as the side dish.

Go for less sugary and processed food

Processed food is not good because it has less nutritional value, also the high salt content and added preservatives are bad for our health. Choose a fresh fruit over a canned fruit, a baked potato over chips, steamed fish over canned fish, and choose organic products over food with preservatives.

Much processed food also have artificial trans fat including: Baked goods (cookies, cakes, pies, and crackers), Ready-to-use frostings, snack food (such as potato chips and microwave popcorn), refrigerated dough products (such as biscuits, cinnamon rolls, and frozen pizza), vegetable shortening, stick margarine and coffee creamer. Processed meat includes hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausage, and some deli meats. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified processed meat as a carcinogen.

Avoid trigger foods

High sugar foods increase your levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite and increases cravings. Trigger foods are sugary, fatty or carbohydrate rich foods that cause binge eating behavior in some people because they produce a blood sugar imbalance. Some studies link blood sugar imbalance with increased appetite. If you would like to know more about why some people gain weight so easily, read my article about why people get obesity.

Cut down on sugary food, soda and sugary drinks. Generally trigger foods are candy bars, chocolate, confectionery, chips, cookies, or anything with a high level of refined sugar, salt, or flour. They are unhealthy, identify them and remove them from your diet, specially if you have had binge eating disorder.

Those who want to control their appetite should eat low sugar foods in their diets.  This can help you to lose or maintain a healthy weight, which in turn will reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, high levels of cholesterol or triglycerides and diabetes.

Have healthy snacks and stay away from sugary food. If you are struggling with overweight or obesity, read my article on how to lose weight and keep it off forever.

Quit smoking

Smoking severely increases the risk of lung cancer, kidney cancer, esophageal cancer and heart attack. It produces COPD chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. If you’re a smoker, quit not just for yourself, but for your family and friends.

Avoid passive smoking because breathing in air from smokers causes the same long-term diseases as direct smoking. Passive smoking harms children and adults, and the only way to fully protect nonsmokers is to eliminate smoking in home, work, and public places.  Protect yourself and your family by making your home and vehicles smoke free.

Quit smoking because this change will benefit you and your family´s health and well-being.

Schedule your doctor´s appointment

Every year you should do your check ups with your doctors and dentist. For example: blood tests, urine test, mammograms, PAP smear, etc. Regular physical exams and health screening tests are a very important part of preventive health care. You should also check that you have all your immunizations complete. Be aware that many diseases don’t show up any symptoms until it is too late.

Have a meaning in your life

I want you to ask yourself a question: are you the best you could be right now? How do you feel now, today? Do you feel healthy enough to enjoy every day for the rest of your life? I think it´s worth it, to keep trying to achieve every day that 90-100% the best you can be. Make a family goal living a healthier lifestyle.

Have a purpose in your life, one that makes you excited to get up every morning, one that you can share with your loved ones: family and friends. You have to feel good about your life and your goal in your life. We all need love in our lives to feel plenty. When we have good self-esteem we are more likely to eat well and take good care of ourselves and others.

Health is not just about one thing we do, it´s about everything we do. Many things nourish us in our lives, not just eating well or sleeping enough time, but also having a purpose in our lives, love and be loved by our family and friends.

What is healthy living lifestyle? Video

If you would like to lose weight with a program that will change your bad habits into a healthy living sustainable lifestyle, read my review of the Mayo Clinic Diet here.

If you have any question, please don´t hesitate to leave your comments bellow.  I hope you find your way through a healthy living lifestyle.

Your friend,

Dr. Verónica

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Dr. Verónica Giannoni

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