There’s a lot of conflicting advice in the world when it comes to what we should and shouldn’t do to stay healthy. Eat this, not that, don’t binge-drink alcohol but drink in moderation, exercise a little bit or exercise a lot…We are often pulled in different directions and it can be difficult to know what to do for the best. Right?
That said, if you’re already making an effort to instil healthy habits, you’re halfway there to improving your overall health and wellbeing. After all, the findings of a recent study indicate that healthy habits can extend life expectancy and inhibit chronic diseases, such as cancer and diabetes.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 healthy habits you could try and adopt today.
1. Eat a Plant-Based Diet
Firstly, the aforementioned study found that including healthy foods in your daily diet is essential to improve longevity.
The advice is to prioritise vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats. On the other hand, avoid red and processed meats, trans fat, excess sodium, fast food, sweets and sugary beverages.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day has been shown to have positive effects on your energy levels, metabolism, brain function and mood. It can also help with the prevention and management of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
3. Exercise Regularly
The World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week to keep hearts, bodies and minds healthy. This works out to be at least 30 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity, such as brisk walking, with two days off per week.
4. Don’t Smoke
Quit smoking or vaping to prevent the risk of developing chronic conditions. After all, 7 in 10 cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking. It can damage your heart and blood circulation and also increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and more.
5. Drink Alcohol in Moderation
It was concluded from the earlier study that low-risk alcohol intake is measured as between 5 and 15 grams per day for women. The magic number for men is between 5 to 30 grams per day.
Given that one drink contains approximately 14 grams of pure alcohol, the recommended limit is one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men to stay healthy.
6. Eat Breakfast
Kickstarting the day with a healthy breakfast is essential to boost your metabolism and help you to feel fuller for longer throughout the day.
If your breakfast is high in fibre and includes protein, even better. This can reduce brain fog, lower your risk of diabetes and improve heart health — a triple win!
7. Get Outside
Human beings weren’t meant to stay indoors. Spend between 10 and 30 minutes in the sun several times per week to get your vitamin D fix. Not only is vitamin D great for your bones, heart and immune system, but it’s also an instant mood-booster.
Bonus point: opt for nature rather than busy city streets to help you feel calmer.
8. Sleep Well
Sleeping for at least 7 to 9 hours a night can have a significant effect on your mood, memory and focus in the short term. In the long term, it can lower your risk of heart disease and help you to maintain a healthy weight.
In other words, get those zzz’s in.
9. Go Offline
Constantly being attached to our phones can be detrimental to our physical and mental health. Being sat inside online stops us from going out and living our offline lives. Not to mention, we are constantly distracted, affecting our focus and concentration levels.
That’s why it’s important to have a digital detox every once in a while and remember that our ancestors survived without phones so we can too!
10. Practise Mindfulness
Lastly, being mindful can be incredibly beneficial for your mental wellbeing. It helps us to regulate emotions and focus our attention, as well as decrease stress, anxiety and depression.
If you want to practise mindfulness, start to notice the everyday, meditate, try something new and be grateful for who and what you’ve got in your life.
Achieving Optimal Health
Adopting all 10 of the above habits is your best bet for living a longer, healthier and happier life. Just keep in mind that it takes 21 days to instil a habit so be patient and consistent initially so that it pays off in the long run.