Monday, November 5, 2012

How to Eat & Live for a Healthy Lifestyle

Maybe you're ready to kick some not-so-healthy habits. Or maybe you've always led a relatively healthy life but figure there's always room for improvement. Whatever your circumstances, if you're wondering how to eat more nutritiously and maintain a healthier lifestyle, be assured that the basics of healthy living really aren't that complicated. Good health comes down to some basic guidelines that address your physical and emotional well-being. You can live a healthy life, enjoy good nutrition and feel vibrant and energetic with attention to these strategies.

Diet and Exercise

Step 1


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Step 2

Cut down on saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and added sugar. Foods high in these substances are typically detrimental to heart health, high in calories and low in nutrients. Unfortunately, many of them -- such as red meat, fast food, soda, fried foods and sweets -- have become staples of the American diet. Decreasing your consumption of these unhealthy foods, or eliminating them from your diet altogether, will go a long way in improving your diet and your health.

Step 3

Emphasize plant-based, whole foods rather than processed foods. In general, whole, unprocessed foods will always deliver better nutrition -- and thus better support a healthy lifestyle -- than their processed counterparts. The University of Minnesota recommends basing the bulk of your diet around whole, plant-based foods for good nutrition. This means choosing whole-grain bread and oatmeal over white bread and corn flakes, and beans or lentils for protein instead of ground beef or pork.

Step 4

Be as active as possible. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign notes that exercise is key to good health, decreasing risk of many diseases and helping you stay fit and healthy as you age. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week, and include frequent movement in your other daily activities as well, such as taking the stairs rather than the elevator and walking or biking rather than driving whenever possible.


Other Healthy Behaviors

Step 1

Avoid tobacco use. Most people know that tobacco use is strongly associated with serious health concerns such as cancer, heart disease and stroke. A healthy lifestyle requires avoidance of this killer substance. If you don't currently smoke, don't start. If you are a smoker, take steps to quit. MayoClinic.com notes that most smokers need more than one attempt at quitting before they are successful, but there are many different options for stop-smoking treatment these days.

Step 2

Get adequate sleep. It's common to skimp on sleep to make more time for work, leisure or family obligations. But sleep deprivation is bad for your health, potentially leading to lowered concentration, poor mood and even obesity. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night for optimal health.

Step 3

Make time for social pursuits. Social activities with friends, pleasurable hobbies and time for relaxation all play an important role in relieving stress, enhancing mood and increasing your quality of life. In striving for a physically healthy lifestyle, don't neglect these aspects of emotional health. Living a healthy life requires attention to both physical and psychological health.



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