Whether you are trying to maintain a healthy body weight or improve your general health and wellness, you need to closely monitor your diet and nutrition habits as well as practice eating healthy. Of course, eating healthy does not mean that you have to deprive yourself of food; on the contrary, it means choosing a diet and nutrition philosophies and practices that are more likely to boost your energy levels and improve your overall health. With that in mind, here are some of the basic factors that you need to take into consideration in order to realize your dream of living healthy particularly in terms of nutrition.

Instead of Making Drastic Changes, Take Small Manageable Steps

Once you make a commitment to improve your wellness by making positive changes to your diet and nutrition plan, ensure you implement these changes gradually. It may not be realistic to try to change your diet overnight since you probably have developed certain eating habits over the years. Instead, start with small steps such as adding a healthy vegetable salad to your diet once a day or using healthy oil such as olive oil instead of butter to cook your meals. In the short term, such small changes may seem negligible. However, eventually, these small changes will set the foundation for a new healthy eating habit and you can incorporate other healthy food choices to your diet.

dinner salad

Moderation and Balance are Vital

In order to achieve your goal of eating healthy foods and ultimately healthy living, ensure that you do not go to any nutrition extremes. Arguably, the key behind any successful healthy diet plan is balance. Even if you need to reduce your food portions in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, ensure that you always eat a balanced diet. Such a diet should be rich in minerals, vitamin, proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. One of the benefits of a moderated and well balanced diet is that it is easy to sustain for months or years. This means that, with commitment, you would be able to to achieve your healthy eating goals.

Develop Positive Attitudes towards Food

It is important to bear in mind that healthy eating generally entails a lot more than just portions. In other words, it is also about the quality of food you eat, when you eat, how you eat. Therefore, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you need to start thinking of food as a source of nourishment that affects your health and wellness instead of regarding food as something you consume several times a day to fill your stomach. You can take several measures to improve your attitude towards food.

For instance, you can start by rediscovering the joy of eating by taking time to chew you food and savor the flavors of various foods. This will inspire you to try new different varieties of food instead of sticking to your favorite foods that may not be healthy. You should also learn to listen to your body and eat or drink only when you are thirsty or hungry. This will enable you to avoid health problems that occur due to overeating such as obesity and kidney disease.

Diet and Exercise

Increase Your Daily Servings of Fruits and Vegetables

One of the most important steps you can take in your journey to a healthy lifestyle is to incorporate more fruits and vegetable into your diet. These foods are low in calories and yet they are rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber. It is important to include a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet since different colored veggies and fruits have different benefits. For instance, while green vegetables are rich in iron, potassium and vitamins most colorful fruits are rich in fiber and antioxidants. Another reason to include at least five portions of green vegetables and fruits in your diet is most of them are naturally sweet and as such, they will reduce your craving for sweet foods that are unhealthy.

Conclusion

Living a healthy lifestyle does not necessarily have to be a challenge. By making simple steps such as eating a balanced diet and eating more fruits, you can improve your health greatly. You also need to remain committed to making healthy food choices on a day-to-day basis and avoid physical inactivity.

Sedentary lifestyles in most of the developed world have increased the likelihood of developing diseases such as type II diabetes and heart disease. To keep such diseases at bay, it would be wise to adopt a holistic health lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should engage in physical activity at least two and a half hours every week because doing so strengthens muscles, bones, minimizes the risk of developing high blood pressure, and improves heart rate. Read on to learn how physical activity can help you stay healthy.

Walking

Walking is a great exercise that typically increases heart rate and improves elasticity in the blood vessels. Although the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends starting with a third of a mile every day and then doubling up the distance every week, setting aside three days every week to take a brisk walk will help you stay healthy. If you are not used to walking, it is probably worth mentioning that you are likely to experience sore limbs and some pain in your legs, which is normal during the early days. For the elderly, walking can help reduce joint pain associated with arthritis or disability according to the CDC.

Swimming

Many people love lounging around the pool while others take part in swimming laps. Whether you are a competitive swimmer or not, participating in water based activities will increase your heart rate and overall fitness significantly. Unlike other physical activities, swimming is safe for people with joint problems that may become aggravated by walking or jogging. A report published by the CDC shows that swimming could help improve mental wellness in men and women as well. For pregnant women and people with fibromyalgia, water-based physical activity can help reduce anxiety.

Cycling

Cycling is another low impact physical activity that does not place a lot of stress on the joints. As you cycle, you will be toning the lower body and core muscles. According to a study carried out in the San Francisco Bay Area, increasing cycling time from four to 24 minutes could potentially reduce the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease by a whopping 14%. This is in addition to reducing greenhouse emissions by the same percentage. Another study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology found that women who cycle for at least 30 minutes every day are less likely to develop breast cancer in comparison to women who do not cycle at all.

Circuit Training

Circuit training is a form of physical activity that has gained a lot of popularity among health conscious people in recent years. Unlike brisk walking, jogging, or swimming, this physical activity involves short bursts of exercise using frequent repetitions and moderate weights to target a particular group of muscles. Because the training targets one group of muscles at a time, you can go through the entire exercise routine without stopping to rest. Research published by the University of New Mexico shows that circuit training increases the cross sectional area range of muscle fibers by between 20% and 45%. The same research also found that resistance training reduces diastolic and systolic blood pressure, lowers concentrations of blood triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), better self-esteem, lower anxiety levels, and improves glucose tolerance.

Jogging

Regular jogging can increase life expectancy in men by 6.2 years and 5.6 years in women according to a study published by ScienceDaily. The study involved 20,000 men and women between the ages of 20 and 93 years. Some of the top health benefits associated with jogging include lowering triglycerides, improving HDL levels, better bone density, improved cardiac function, better psychological function, improved oxygen uptake, increased insulin insensitivity, boosts the body’s immune function, and reduces inflammation markers. Even if you do not jog outdoors, using a treadmill to exercise at home reduces stress levels through the release of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. This is according to findings of a study carried out at the University of California — San Francisco.

Forest Bathing

This practice is quite popular in Japan and involves staying in a forest for at least four hours and walking for five kilometers. A researcher from the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo found that people who indulge in forest bathing have higher levels of natural killer (NK) cells, which play a big role in fighting cancer. Other health benefits include lower risk of developing depression and anxiety.

If you have to juggle work and family life, you might be unable to find time to engage in physical activity. Some of the best exercises that you can undertake to increase your wellness include swimming, jogging, walking, forest bathing, circuit training, and cycling. Other health benefits of exercising on a regular basis include healthy blood pressure levels, keeps joints healthy, boost the body’s immune system, mental health, better glucose tolerance, and oxygen uptake.

Bonus

While Juicing certainly isn’t an exercise per se, it is a great part of an overall wellness plan. Be sure to check out Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, the Oscar nominated health documentary by Joe Cross.