Keys to Good Health
1. Become a flexitarian
Numerous studies have shown that a plant-based diet is healthiest, but you can still get many of the benefits even if you don't go full-on vegetarian. Following a semi-vegetarian diet that includes fewer animal products but doesn't completely cut them out may help you keep your weight in check as well as lower your chances of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Expand your palate's palette.
Dietary guidelines recommend that half of what's on your plate at any meal be vegetables or fruits. But it's also important to mix things up. While all fruits and veggies are healthy, they don't all have the same nutrients. Give yourself the widest range of benefits by eating different-colored produce throughout the day.
Less sugar, more water.
It's a good idea to avoid added sugar in whatever you eat, yet soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks may be a bigger source than you realize. Some studies show that just a soft drink or two a day makes you 26% more likely to get type 2 diabetes. Sugary drinks have also been tied to heart attacks, gout, and obesity. Stay hydrated with water or, if you miss the fizz and taste, naturally flavored seltzer.
Get enough rest.
Sleep is often low on the list in our nonstop society, but it's a must for good health. Chronic sleep deprivation raises the odds for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and many other sicknesses. Getting your ZZZs also helps keep you safe: Driving while sleepy is just as bad as driving drunk. If you don't usually wake up feeling refreshed, try slipping into bed 15 minutes earlier every week until you do.
Tame your stress.
Everyone has stress; it's how you react to it that matters. When you often explode in anger, get stomachaches because you're nervous, or have trouble sleeping because you're anxious, it's time to make a change. Find a way to blow off steam, whether that's through exercise, meditation, or laughing with good friends. Still feeling overwhelmed? Make an appointment with a counselor or other mental health professional.
Move more, sit less
That's the physical activity guidelines in a nutshell. While at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise is ideal, experts say that any movement is better than nothing. So make it a point to stand up more often and stretch, park a bit farther from your destination for extra steps, and explore new pastimes that will help put you in motion.
Stay up to date on vaccines
Grownups need shots, too. You should get a flu shot every year, but you may also be due for a tetanus booster, a shingles vaccine, or a shot to protect against pneumonia. Ask your doctor what you might be missing and when you should get it.
Map your family tree of health
A history with a disease doesn't guarantee your fate, but your genes do offer a clue about the health issues you might face. You may need to be screened more often or earlier for conditions that run in the family, especially when close relatives developed them at unusually young ages or several family members had them. Let your doctor know about any serious ailments your parents, siblings, and children have been diagnosed with.
Limit junk food
Let’s face it, we live in a society where we are surrounded by junk food, and trying to resist it all the time, including when we go out with friends and family is likely to drive you nuts. So once in a while your little indulgence will not kill you. In fact, many experts claim that if 80% of your calories are clean, then you can have some fun with the remaining 20%.
Laugh and smile more often
I know this sounds a little too simple and childish, but somehow a lot of us as adults, often forget to have a good laugh and smile. We become so obsessed with negative emotions that we think that enjoying ourselves and having a good time is almost like a crime. Relax, and try to enjoy life in the company of your friends and family regularly. A good laugh can go a long way to relieve stress, improve mood, and make you healthier.