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5 Healthy Habits

When it comes to your health, your lifestyle choices are much more dominant than your genes. It’s always a good time to adopt new habits to improve your well-being. Here are 5 healthy lifestyle and diet changes that could have the most significant impact on your health, along with a few tips for making them successful:

1. Nourish Yourself

There’s a big difference between being well-fed and well-nourished. You can improve your health and overall quality of life by ditching processed convenience foods and nourishing yourself with a balanced diet of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins, and healthy polyunsaturated fats. The list of potentially cancer-causing foods includes:

  • Red meat and processed meat.

  • Sugar.

  • Alcohol.

  • Processed and packaged foods.

2. Reduce sugar intake

Excessive sugar consumption has been shown to take a toll on health in a variety of ways. Many people consume more than the recommended intake of sugar and may be at risk of impairing their health. A small amount of added sugar can be included in a balanced diet, but excessive sugar intake can affect health in the following ways:

  • sugar promotes chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer and heart disease

  • impairs immune system

  • causes weight gain

3. Manage your stress

Stress causes an increase in cortisol levels. When it becomes excessive or ongoing, this can have a negative impact on your health. Everybody has some form of stress in their lives, but it’s how you deal with it that counts. Healthy ways to cope with stress include:

  • Getting 7–9 hours of sleep per night.

  • Keeping active and eating a nourishing diet

  • Try relaxation techniques like diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, or yoga

  • Unplugging yourself from electronics. Yes, this means putting away your cell phone, tablet, and laptop.

  • Communicating your feelings and needs to family and friends

4. Move more

Living an active life is important to staying healthy. Staying active helps to reduce your risk of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Exercise has also been linked to improved mental health and cognitive function. You don’t have to be a distance runner to improve your health. The most important thing is that you’re staying active. It helps to:

  • give your heart a workout

  • stay strong

  • maintain a healthy weight

The trick to staying active is to find something you enjoy doing. For some, that means having a friend to exercise with. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to the gym, walking around the block, exercising at home using online video, or going out for a quiet bike ride — just get moving.

5. Hydrate

Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.

Dehydration occurs when more water and fluids leave the body than enter it. Even low levels of dehydration can cause headaches, lethargy, and constipation. The proper amount of daily water intake to stay in optimal health is half of your body weight in ounces. Avoid excess alcohol, soda, and caffeine.

It can take time to develop new habits. Be patient with yourself and remember that making healthy lifestyle changes is a long-term commitment to support your health and quality of life.

Author: Katarzyna Augustyn

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

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