Living a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge when you are faced with processed foods, lack of time for exercise and going out with friends. Too many options are available for fast food, poor exercise choices and alcoholic beverages that negate other healthier lifestyle choices you may have made. There are significant benefits to improving the way in which you live so you can have a healthier and longer life.
Common sense dictates that the best diet is one based on foods we’ve been eating the longest in terms of our time on this planet. These are the foods that we’ve evolved to eat and are best adapted to. Studies show that a ‘primal’ diet made up of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as meat, fish and eggs, is best for weight control and improvement in risk markers for illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes. This ‘go primal’ food philosophy will enable you to cut through the marketing hype and dietary misinformation, and allow you to make healthy food choices quickly and confidently.
Water makes up two-thirds of the body and performs a plethora of functions, including acting as a solvent, carrier of nutrients, temperature regulator and body detoxifier. Maintaining hydration can have a profound influence on our vitality and energy levels, including mental alertness. Aim to drink enough water to keep your urine a pale yellow colour throughout the course of the day.
Changing lifestyle choices and eating healthy food are not about being unrealistically thin but rather about having more energy and staying as healthy as possible. According to HelpGuide.org, eating smart is about both what you eat and how you eat. Eating healthy can boost your energy levels and allow you to participate in more activities on a daily basis. According to a study at the University of Georgia, researchers found overwhelming evidence that regular exercise also plays a role in increasing energy levels and reducing fatigue. Researcher Patrick O'Connor, from the exercise physiology laboratory at the University of Georgia, commented that while people may not want to exercise while fatigued, a bit more activity will often help to reduce feelings of fatigue and exhaustion.
In our fast-paced world, there can be a tendency to eat while distracted and shovel in more food than we need and, at the same time, miss out on culinary pleasure. Many of us will benefit from eating mindfully. Some things to think about here are avoiding eating when distracted, eating more slowly, and taking time to taste food properly. One particular thing to focus on is chewing your food thoroughly – not only does this help us savour food, it also assists the digestive process.
Sunlight, and the vitamin D this can make in the skin, is associated with a wide spectrum of benefits for the body including a reduced risk of several forms of cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis, as well as improved immune function. As a rule of thumb, vitamin D is made when our shadow is shorter than our body length, ie when the sun is high in the sky. While burning is to be avoided, get as much sunlight exposure as possible for optimal health.
Sleep has the ability to optimise mental and physical energy, and optimal levels of sleep (about eight hours a night) are linked with reduced risk of chronic disease and improved longevity. One simple strategy that can help ensure you get optimal amounts of sleep is to go to bed earlier. Getting into bed by 10pm or 10.30pm is a potentially useful investment in terms of your short- and long-term health and wellbeing. Shutting down the computer or turning off the TV early in the evening is often all it takes to create the time and space for earlier sleep.
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