You’ve probably heard the phrase “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and with rising healthcare costs that statement has never been truer. The best way to deal with the many illnesses and disease we may face in our lifetimes is to avoid getting them altogether. Much like many aspects of your life your health is a choice, it doesn’t just happen to you. Your thoughts, actions, and what you expose yourself to on a daily basis all impact your health now and in the future. Incorporating good habits into your life is easier than you think. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your journey to better help, start small. That first step could change everything. Here are five easy ways to boost your health and help prevent future problems.
- Give up or greatly reduce your soda intake. Soda is laden with sugar and provides absolutely no nutritional benefit to your body. It is also highly acidic which can impact your bone density and put you at risk of various diseases including cancer. The high level of sugar puts a huge burden on the pancreas and may contribute to conditions like diabetes overtime. Before you think, well I drink diet soda so I’m okay – think again! Artificial sweeteners are chemicals that your body has no idea how to process. In addition we have very little information about what these chemicals are doing to our bodies both in the short term and the long term. Diet sodas can actually contribute to weight gain as opposed to helping you lose it so kick the habit!
- Drink more water. Not only does your body need water to function but water helps to flush out toxins from your system which keeps your liver, kidney, bladder, and digestive system running more efficiently. Dehydration can cause fatigue, irritability, or headaches. In addition you may confuse the effects of dehydration with hunger which may cause you to eat more than necessary.
- Commit to 30 minutes of exercise each day. No, you don’t have to go to the gym or bust out the workout videos. Take a stroll around the block, walk to work, take the stairs, or park farther away than you normally do. Do squats while you brush your teeth or arm curls in the shower. Finding little ways to add more activity to your day can give you more energy and get your blood flowing.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. A really good diet should be composed of 80% fruits and vegetables which means you should be eating a few servings with each meal. Typical diets are way too high in meats, processed foods, and empty calories. Before you start cutting out your favorite food items just try adding more vegetables or fruits in. You’ll likely stay fuller longer and you may find you require less snacks or other high-calorie or low-nutrient food items with each meal.
- Read labels. We have been trained to look at the top of food labels. Typically the area that tells us how many calories or fat a food has in it. However most of that information is common sense to some degree. Instead look at the ingredients. If there are more than 5 ingredients, ingredients you can’t say, spell or recognize, or are not something you could buy in the grocery store avoid the product. Processed foods are filled with chemicals, fillers, and preservatives that do absolutely nothing to benefit your body and may even contribute to health issues. Avoid ingredients like monosodium glutamate or ingredients with similar names, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners. Beware of foods labeled “Sugar-free”, “No fat” or “low fat”, as we have become accustomed to associating those phrases with healthy. Many times those foods are worse for you than their sugar or fat-included counterparts.
Tell us: What do you do to help boost your health on a regular basis?