While there is no guarantee for a perfectly happy and healthy life, if you follow the listed thirteen steps, you improve your chances of boosting your quality of life. Disregard them, and you may well be taking a big gamble with your mental and emotional well being.
#1: Eat Breakfast Every Morning
Research shows people who have a morning meal tend to take in more vitamins and minerals, and less fat and cholesterol. The result is often a leaner body, lower cholesterol count and less chance of overeating.
To get the full benefits of breakfast, the Mayo Clinic recommends a meal with carbohydrates, protein and a small amount of fat. They say that because no single food gives you all of the nutrients you need, eating a variety of foods is essential to good health.
#2: Add Fish & Omega-3 Fatty Acids To Your Diet
The American Heart Association recommends a serving of fish two times per week.
Besides being a good source of protein and a food relatively low in the bad type of dietary fat called saturated fat, fish has omega-3 fatty acids – which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Eat fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon, and foods such as tofu, soybeans, canola, walnuts and flaxseed. In addition to their heart-health benefits, there is some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may also soothe an overactive immune system. There appears to be a link between getting more omega-3s in your diet and reducing allergies, asthma, eczema and autoimmune disorders.
#3: Get Enough Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than two-thirds of older adults suffer from sleep problems and many American adults don’t get the minimum amount of sleep needed to stay alert.
Sleep is vital to good health and to mental and emotional well-being. The NSF reports that people who don’t get enough slumber are more likely than others to develop psychiatric problems and to use health care services. Plus, sleep deprivation can negatively affect memory, learning and logical reasoning.
#4: Make Social Connections
Group activities can help keep the mind active and maintain desirable levels of serotonin – the brain chemical associated with mood. Social ties have many benefits, including providing information, instrumental help, emotional support and offering a sense of belonging.
#5: Exercise For Better Health
According to the National Cancer Institute, exercising helps control weight, maintains healthy bones, muscles and joints, reduces risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes, promotes psychological well-being, reduces risk of death from heart disease and reduces risk of premature death.
The excuses that people often give to not exercise are the precise reasons to exercise. People who say they are too tired or don’t have time to workout don’t realize that exercise gives people more energy and allows them to be more productive with the rest of their time.
#6: Practice Dental Hygiene
Flossing your teeth every day could add 6.4 years to your life. Flossing, along with exercise and quitting smoking, could extend life span.
Researchers suspect that the bacteria that produce dental plaque enter the bloodstream. They say these bacteria are somehow associated with the inflammation that occurs with plaque that blocks blood vessels and causes heart disease. Other researches have found links between oral bacteria and stroke, diabetes and the birth of preterm babies and those that have low birth weight.
#7: Take Up A Hobby
Since they are relaxing activities, hobbies are usually enjoyable. Some people find joy in craftwork, bird watching, sports, going to flea markets, walking in the park or playing cards.
The joy may help people live healthier and recover better from illness. For one thing, taking part in hobbies can burn calories, more so than just sitting in front of the TV.
#8: Protect Your Skin
Our skin starts to age as soon as we are born and, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, the best way to protect it and look younger is to stay out of the sun. The sun has harmful ultraviolet rays that can cause wrinkles, dryness and age spots. Overexposure can cause sunburn, skin texture changes, dilated blood vessels and skin cancers.
Always wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, wear a hat with a brim and other protective clothing, don’t deliberately sunbathe and try to avoid sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM.
#9: Snack The Healthy Way
The ADA recommends five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day as part of a healthy diet. These plant foods can do many things to boost good health, including reducing the risk of some cancers, beating the signs of aging, improving memory, promoting heart health and enhancing the immune system.
One way to incorporate fruits and veggies into your diet is to have them as snacks. The best time to snack is when you are hungry between meals.
#10: Drink Water & Eat Dairy
Water and milk are essential fluids for good health, but they can also help with shedding pounds.
The body needs water to keep properly hydrated and individuals vary widely in how much water they need. Joints need it to stay in motion, and vital organs such as the heart, brain, kidney and liver need it to work properly.
The calcium in dairy is known to be important for strong bones and teeth. Studies have also shown it can help prevent high blood pressure, kidney stones, heart disease and colon cancer.
#11: Drink Tea
There is some evidence that tea may help in improving memory, and in preventing cavities, cancer and heart disease.
There’s no doubt that a cool iced tea can be a refreshing treat during hot days. Try flavoring your tea with juices, fruits, cinnamon sticks, ginger and other condiments.
#12: Take A Daily Walk
An eight-year study of 13,000 people showed that people who walked 30 minutes daily had a significantly reduced change of premature death compared with those who rarely exercised, reports the American Council on Exercise. And there are plenty of opportunities to move those legs, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to the store, window shopping at the mall, leaving your desk and visiting your co-worker and walking and talking with friends instead of meeting for a meal.
Planning goes a long way in incorporating healthy habits into your everyday life. To eat healthy, for example, it would help to set aside time to draft a menu, make a grocery list, go to the store, prepare meals and pack breakfast and lunch.