1. Avoid processed foods and artificial sweeteners
The Canadian Medical Association journal warns, “Artificial sweeteners may be associated with long term weight gain, increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.“ Processed foods and artificial sweeteners can be hard to avoid when living a fast paced lifestyle, but reading labels and prepping your meals at home is the best way to prevent unknowingly consuming artificial sweeteners, sugar, and excess salt.
2. Drink water
Drinking plenty of water is one of the easiest ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Without proper hydration, your kidneys will have a difficult time filtering toxins from your body. Furthermore, ample hydration gives you more energy, clearer skin, and improve cognitive performance. Aim to consume half your body weight in ounces of water a day, and always keep a bottle handy.
3. Get more sleep
The average adult requires 7 to 10 hours of sleep each night to maintain optimal performance. Sleep is as important to your body as food and water, so make sure to make it a priority! Ample sleep improves brain performance, reaction time, and even your metabolic rate. Sleep also gives your body the opportunity to repair any damage done to your body throughout the day. Think of sleep like your own personal mechanic. Avoid electronics two hours before bed, and keep your bedroom at a cooler temperature for productive sleep.
Even just five minutes a day of meditation reduces stress, and increases patience and mindfulness. A consistent meditation practice has even been proven to alter your brain. Long-term meditators have more gray matter in their brains, resulting in improved memory, decision-making, and even sensory enhancement.
5. Have a morning routine
The path to healthy living is building good habits, and a morning routine accomplishes exactly that. When you follow a consistent pattern, such as meditation upon waking, breakfast, and morning reflection, it prevents decision fatigue and allows an easier start to your day. An unhurried morning will reduce stress, increase positivity, and improve your performance for the rest of the day.
Along with diet, exercise is the best weapon against risks such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. However, don’t be intimidated. Even a brisk 30 minute walk three times a week will improve your cardiovascular and respiratory health and keep you limber. Exercise also releases endorphins, which significantly improve your mood.
7. Choose friends wisely
A positive atmosphere will lead to a positive you. Be selective with who you spend your time with, because they have a profound ability to influence your mood and your decisions. Friends who make good choices will inspire you to do the same, and those friends who always complain may cause you to eventually do the same. Your friends reflect who you are.
Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for healthy organs, and if you fear that you are not consuming enough through regular food, you can simply take a supplement. Omega-3s benefit heart health and lower your triglyceride levels. Aside from cardiovascular health, omega-3s improve your memory and your mood. Don’t want to take a supplement? Grill some salmon and eat a Mediterranean style diet.
9. Go outside
We’re not just talking about the benefits of Vitamin D from the sun. Spending time in nature increases energy and lowers stress. A study even shown that time spent in nature can reduce inflammation and ease hypertension. A Japanese practice known as shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing” takes advantage of these benefits, and is an important component of Japanese medicine. Walk through the woods once in a while. You’ll enjoy it!
10. Eat vegetables
Finally, the most basic practice of all. Vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy diet and help combat or prevent numerous chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. Eating vegetables rich in potassium helps lower blood pressure and prevent kidney stones. Aim for half a plate’s worth at dinner, and buy frozen for convenience and ease of preparation.
While these tips on how to be healthy are easy, do not be afraid to take small steps each day in order to foster good habits and consistency. Attaining one goal a day is better than not achieving one at all, so don’t give up when you have a bad day! Remember that you are capable of achieving anything if you take it one day at a time.