What is healthy living?
“Healthy living” means that both our body and mind are working well together. When we talk about being healthy, it’s not just about our physical health but also our mental health. These two are closely connected, so when one is affected, the other can be too. That’s why it’s important to take care of our emotional and mental well-being along with our physical health. In this way, we can live a healthy and balanced life.
This article aims to provide readers with simple suggestions on how they can make their lives healthier. It won’t cover everything, but it will focus on important aspects that contribute to a good lifestyle and well-being. Along with tips on what people should do for a healthy life, the article will also mention things to avoid (the don’ts) that can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Healthy eating (diet and nutrition)
All people need to eat food to grow and keep their bodies healthy. But different age groups of people, like babies, children, teenagers, young adults, adults, and seniors, have different needs for the nutrients they get from food. For example, babies need to be fed every 4 hours when they are young, and as they grow older, they start eating more solid foods. Eventually, they develop the habit of eating three meals a day like most young kids. However, kids, teenagers, and young adults often eat snacks between meals. Snacking isn’t limited to just these age groups though, because adults and seniors also often have snacks.
Tips for healthy eating every day:
- Eat three balanced meals each day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Keep in mind that dinner doesn’t need to be the largest meal of the day.
- Focus on eating mostly healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
- Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts in your diet, with a special emphasis on beans and nuts.
- Choose foods that are low in unhealthy fats, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugars. Check the labels and remember that the ingredients listed first are present in higher amounts.
- Control your portion sizes by eating enough to satisfy your hunger, but not overeating.
- It’s okay to have healthy snacks in moderation, like fruits, whole grains, or nuts, to satisfy hunger without causing excessive weight gain.
- Avoid sodas and sugary drinks because they have lots of calories. Diet drinks may not be the best choice for some people, as they can make you feel hungrier and lead to more food consumption.
- Avoid eating a large meal right before bed to reduce the chances of acid reflux and weight gain.
- If you’re feeling angry or depressed, turning to food won’t solve those problems and may actually make things worse.
- Don’t use sugary snacks as rewards for children, as this can create unhealthy habits that last a lifetime.
- During hot summer days, avoid heavy meals that can make you feel uncomfortable. Instead, opt for lighter options.
- A vegetarian lifestyle is often recommended for a healthy lifestyle and weight loss. However, vegetarians should consult their doctors to ensure they’re getting enough vitamins, minerals, and iron in their diet.
- Cooking foods at temperatures above 165°F (74°C) helps destroy harmful bacteria and pathogens. If you eat raw foods like fruits or vegetables, make sure to thoroughly wash them with safe-to-drink tap water before consuming them.
Here are some simple tips for specific situations:
- For people with diabetes:
- Follow the tips mentioned above and regularly monitor your glucose levels as instructed.
- Aim to keep your daily blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible.
- For people with unusual work schedules (like night shifts, college students, or military personnel):
- Try to establish a routine for meals with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and avoid excessive snacking.
- For people who cook:
- Avoid using grease or frying foods in grease when preparing meals.
- For people aiming to lose weight:
- Stay away from fatty and sugary foods.
- Focus on consuming vegetables, fruits, and nuts as your main food choices.
- Limit the amount of meat and dairy products you consume.
- If you’re struggling to control your weight, food intake, or if you have diabetes and cannot manage your blood sugar levels, it’s important to seek medical advice early.
Being physically active and exercising regularly is really important for staying healthy. Our bodies are designed to move, so when we don’t use them enough, it can make us unhealthy. This can show up as being overweight, feeling weak, lacking energy, and overall not being in good health, which can make us more prone to getting sick.
Benefits of exercising regularly
Regular physical activity can prevent and reverse the natural decline in muscle mass and strength that happens as we age. It also helps improve our balance, flexibility, and stamina, which reduces the risk of falls, especially among older adults.
Engaging in regular exercise can be beneficial in preventing various health conditions such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. When we do weight-bearing exercises, it can even help make our bones stronger, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
For people with chronic arthritis, regular exercise can improve their ability to perform daily tasks like driving, climbing stairs, and opening jars. It helps manage the symptoms and allows for better mobility.
Regular physical activity has positive effects on our mental well-being. It can boost self-esteem and self-confidence, reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and contribute to overall mental health.
Another advantage of exercising regularly is that it helps maintain healthy body weight and can even lead to fat loss in some individuals.
Here are some easy tips to help you exercise regularly
- Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise, like walking, on 3 to 5 days each week. But remember, the best results come from exercising most days of the week.
- You can break up your exercise into shorter sessions of 10 minutes each if that works better for you.
- Start off slowly and gradually increase your intensity to avoid getting hurt or feeling too tired and sore. Gradually work towards achieving 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each day as time goes on.
- It’s never too late to start exercising, even if you’re older. Even frail and elderly individuals between 70 and 90 years old can improve their strength and balance through exercise.
- Almost any type of exercise is beneficial for everyone. You can try resistance training, water aerobics, walking, swimming, lifting weights, doing yoga, or other activities that you enjoy.
- Children also need exercise, and playing outside is a great way to start.
- Sports can be a fantastic way for children to get exercise, but be careful not to overdo certain activities. For example, throwing too many pitches in baseball could harm joints like the elbow or shoulder.
- Strenuous exercise can make you feel tired and sore, but if you experience any pain, stop exercising and find out what’s causing it. It’s important to seek medical help and advice before continuing with that exercise.
Important Considerations Before Starting Intense Exercise
Most people can start doing light exercises like walking without needing a medical check-up. But if you fall into any of the following categories, it’s important to talk to a doctor before starting more intense exercise:
- are older than 40 years old in the case of men.
- are older than 50 years old in the case of women.
- have heart or lung diseases, asthma, arthritis, or osteoporosis.
- feel pressure or pain in their chest when they exert themselves or get tired or out of breath easily.
- have conditions that make them more likely to develop coronary heart diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high blood cholesterol, or having family members who had heart attacks at an early age and coronary heart disease.
- are extremely overweight.
The outcomes of not being active and not exercising are
- Not getting enough exercise can lead to heart problems and increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
- Not exercising can make you gain weight.
Living a healthy life isn’t just about taking care of our bodies, it also involves looking after our emotions and mental well-being. Here are a few ways people can help support their mental health and overall well-being.
Tips for improving mental health
It’s important to get enough sleep every day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests the following sleep times based on age groups (including naps):
- Babies from birth to 2 months should sleep for 12-18 hours.
- Babies from 3-11 months should sleep for 14-15 hours.
- Children who are 1 to 3 years old should sleep for around 12 to 18 hours, 3 to 5 years old should try to get 11 to 13 hours of sleep, and 5 and 10 should try to sleep for about 10 to 11 hours each night.
- Teenagers between 10-17 years old should sleep for 8.5-9.5 hours.
- Adults, aged 18 and above, need 7-9 hours of sleep.
- Elderly people also need about 7-9 hours of sleep, but they may not sleep as deeply and might wake up during the night or early in the morning. Taking naps, as children do, can help them reach a total of 7-9 hours of sleep.
- Do some mind exercises.
- Strive to concentrate intensely on a task and accomplish a significant portion of it within a span of 1 to several hours. Afterward, reward yourself with a relaxing break, engaging in activities like walking, exercising, or taking a short nap.
- Include in your schedule some dedicated time for engaging in conversations with others about various topics.
- Ensure you set aside leisure time each week to indulge in activities that captivate your interest, such as hobbies or sports.
- Acquire the skill of assertively saying “no” when faced with situations or requests you don’t want to participate in or be involved with.
- Embrace moments of enjoyment by going on trips with loved ones, indulging in shopping or fishing excursions, and make the most of your vacation time without letting it slip away.
- Allow yourself to take pleasure in your accomplishments, no matter how big or small they may be.
- Cultivate a network of friends, as having a strong social support system leads to a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Additional tips for healthy living
There are many other dangerous things that can prevent a healthy lifestyle, like working with harmful substances, being addicted to drugs, or traveling to places where there are unusual diseases. However, there are too many of these things to talk about in this general article.
Healthy Living Diet: Foods You Should Eat
Here you will find some of the best foods to provide you with healthy living.
Salmon is a type of fish that is really good for your heart. It has something called omega-3 fatty acids that can help keep your heart healthy. These fatty acids can do a few things to help your heart. They can make sure your heart beats normally, lower the amount of a type of fat called triglycerides in your blood, slow down the build-up of a substance called plaque in your arteries, and even slightly lower your blood pressure. To get these benefits, it’s recommended to eat two servings of omega-3-rich foods like salmon each week. The recommended serving size for cooked fish is approximately 3.5 ounces.
Salmon is a great food for healthy living because you can cook it in different ways and use it in many dishes. You can grill it with spices or a special sauce, chop it up and mix it into pasta with a healthy tomato sauce, or even add it to your salads to give them a boost of protein.
Ground flaxseed contains omega-3 fatty acids, as well as types of fiber that dissolve in water and fiber that does not dissolve. It is one of the best sources of lignans, which have properties similar to both plant estrogen and antioxidants.
Adding ground flaxseed to your meals is simple and versatile. You can sprinkle it on your breakfast cereal, add it to low-fat yogurt, mix it into muffin batter, or blend it into your smoothies.
Oatmeal is a yummy breakfast food that is also good for your healthy living. It has special healthy fats called omega-3s and lots of fiber, with 4 grams in every one-cup serving. It also contains important nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and iron.
Eating oatmeal for breakfast will keep you feeling full, and you can make it even healthier by adding fresh berries on top. You can also try making fat-free oatmeal cookies, oat bread, or even mix whole rolled oats into a turkey burger meatloaf.
Black or Kidney Beans
You know that rhyme we often hear: “Beans, beans, good for your heart.” Well, it turns out it’s true! Beans are really good for your health & healthy living because they contain a lot of soluble fiber, B-complex vitamins, niacin, folate, magnesium, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Beans possess remarkable versatility, lending themselves to a multitude of applications and culinary creations. You can add them to soups, stews, or salads, or even make a whole meal out of them.
For example, you can try using black beans on a toasted whole-grain pita with avocado, or mix them with corn and onions to stuff bell peppers. Another idea is to include canned kidney beans in a salad with cucumber, fresh corn, onions, and peppers, and then dress it with olive oil and apple cider vinegar. You can also combine black beans and kidney beans to make a tasty and nutritious vegetarian chili.
Nuts can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, and almonds are a good choice for keeping your heart healthy. Almonds contain healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are good for healthy living.
Almonds are very convenient to eat. You can sprinkle almond slivers on top of your yogurt or salad, or enjoy them as a part of a healthy trail mix. Incorporating almonds into your cooking is another delightful option. Add them to a rice or quinoa dish for extra flavor and crunch, or use them to top salmon. Make sure to choose unsalted almonds for more heart protection.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that almonds should be eaten in moderation. They are high in fat, including saturated fat, even though it’s the healthy kind. Like other nuts, almonds are also calorie-dense, so a small amount can satisfy your cravings. Incorporate them into your meals for a well-rounded and balanced diet.
Walnuts offer similar health benefits as almonds and other types of nuts. They contain good fats like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, folate, fiber, and substances called phytosterols that are good for healthy living.
Just like almonds, walnuts add a satisfying crunch to salads. They also taste delicious when added to muffins and pancakes for breakfast.
Although walnuts are good for the heart, they are also high in fat and calories, so it’s important to eat them in moderation. Remember to be mindful of the portion size when eating walnuts. A single serving of walnuts should fit comfortably in the palm of your hand and provide around 200 calories.
Red wine has special substances called catechins and resveratrol that are good for your heart. Catechins are a type of flavonoid that can keep your blood vessels healthy and help prevent blood clots. Resveratrol is an antioxidant that protects your heart and for healthy living, it’s also a good thing.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of wine without too many calories, you can have a glass of wine with dinner or mix it with sparkling water to make a wine spritzer.
However, it’s important to know that the American Heart Association doesn’t recommend starting to drink alcohol just to prevent heart disease. Drinking alcohol can be risky and may lead to alcoholism, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, breast cancer, suicide, and car accidents. It’s best to enjoy red wine in moderation, like having one glass with a meal.
Tuna fish has something called omega-3 fatty acids in it. It doesn’t have as many omega-3s as salmon, but it still has a good amount. When you eat a serving of tuna, it also gives you about half of the niacin your body needs in a day. Niacin is a nutrient that can help improve the chances of survival for people who have had a heart attack.
If you make a tuna salad with just a little bit of mayonnaise, it can be a simple and satisfying lunch. Tuna is great to put on top of a salad, and you can also grill it to make a delicious dinner. so it’s also called healthy living food.
Tofu is a type of food that is very good for you & also for your healthy living. It has a lot of protein, which is important for your body. The special thing about tofu is that it is made from plants, so it is a good choice for vegetarians. It also contains many nutrients that are good for your heart, like niacin, folate, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Sometimes people call tofu “bean curd” because it is made from soybeans that have been pressed together. You can cook tofu in many different ways, and it can be a part of almost any meal.
One way to cook tofu is to cut it into thin slices, let it soak in a tasty sauce for a few hours, and then cook it on a grill or add it to a stir-fry with vegetables. You can also make a sandwich with tofu, lettuce, and tomato on bread made from whole grains. Instead of using meat in dishes like pasta, you can use tofu instead. You can even add slices or small pieces of tofu to salads to give them extra protein.
Brown rice is not only delicious, but it’s also good for healthy living. It has vitamins that are good for your body, like B-complex vitamins, magnesium, and fiber.
You can add brown rice to almost any meal and it will taste great. If you want a quick and easy lunch, you can microwave some brown rice and add chopped vegetables. You can also mix it with black beans or tofu, make a stir-fry, add it to soups, or even try it cold in an avocado salad.
Soy milk is a healthy beverage that has special substances called isoflavones, which are good for your body & healthy living. It is packed with important nutrients like B-complex vitamins, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phytoestrogens. The protein in soy milk is different from the protein in animal milk, and it can help reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood. This can be good for your heart and overall cardiovascular health.
You can enjoy soy milk in different ways, such as pouring it over your whole-grain breakfast cereal or blending it into a tasty smoothie. You can also use soy milk instead of regular milk in any recipe you like.