What's the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Many habits can help us reduce illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, and heart attacks so we can live full, vibrant lives!
Who doesn't want to be mentally fit and physically healthy as they get older? But, in today's world, achieving a high level of health and wellness can be easier said than done.
In the western world, "lifestyle diseases" such as Type 2 Diabetes (diabetes mellitus), high blood pressure, and arteriosclerosis (too much plaque in arteries) increase rapidly in old age. But are these just a consequence of getting older, or is it possible to stay healthy throughout our lives?
When you consider the lifestyle and eating patterns of people worldwide, they don't all follow this pattern. Some indigenous people, like the Tsimane in Bolivia, remain healthy into old age.
Researchers have found that even 90-year-olds have virtually no calcified coronary vessels. They also don't have inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis, chronic inflammation of the large intestine. They also have a low sugar diet with no trans fat and lots of unprocessed complex carbohydrates.
Many Mediterranean residents also exemplify the link between a healthy diet and fewer diseases. They tend to eat a lot of healthy olive oil, vegetables, and fish. They also have fewer cancers and heart attacks than in Western Europe or the USA.
Science backs this up, too. A PREDIMED study on healthy living conducted an experiment with three groups. Two groups ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts. A control group had a low-fat diet. Five years later, the two Mediterranean diet groups had a 30% lower rate of heart attacks and strokes than a control group. They also had lower rates of breast and genital cancer.
Today, science assumes that our behavior may cause about 80 percent of all diseases and as much as 40 percent of all cancer. In addition to diet and nutrition, factors like physical activity, smoking, and stress management can also contribute to these complications
So how can we adjust our lifestyle to ensure a healthy and happy life? Here are some healthy eating and lifestyle tips.
Eat what nature has to offer, which often means a plant-based diet. The menu includes lots of vegetables, fruit, and nuts. This type of diet will be a bit lower in simple carbohydrates but has more fiber and phytonutrients than the typical Western diet. Nutrients from a plant-based diet can help ward off:
Secondary plant substances give a plant its typical aroma, bright color, or bitter taste. So, aim to get eat a variety of colors for optimal nutrients. These phytonutrients have so many healthy benefits and help to reduce cancer, inflammation, and hypertension.
Supplement your vegetables and fruits with moderate protein intake. These sources of protein can be meat, beans, dairy products, eggs, legumes, or nuts.
Even lactose-intolerant people can usually enjoy certain healthy dairy products without problems. These quality proteins include matured cheese, ghee, or specially developed lactose-free products. As cheese ripens, the lactic acid bacteria break down lactose. The end product only has small amounts of lactose. With specially produced lactose-free products such as cream, yogurt, or sour cream, the lactose is broken down into its two individual components. As a result, the lactose-free product usually tastes slightly sweeter, because the two individual sugar molecules have a higher sweetening power than the lactose.
Too much red meat might lead to certain types of cancer. Processed meat, such as bacon or cured sausages, can increase the risk of colon cancer. Poultry, preferably in high organic quality, is the healthier choice.
Fish is also a good, healthy alternative to meat. Fatty fish also supplies valuable omega-3 fatty acids and the trace element iodine. Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and are particularly recommended for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids also improve the flow properties of blood and protect us from heart attacks and strokes.
For years, people were advised to eat a low-fat diet, so many food manufacturers took advantage of various ways to create everything from low-fat cookies to low-fat peanut butter. Since low-fat foods often lack taste, manufacturers use plenty of sugar and flavorings that can contribute to obesity and heart disease. These additives promote obesity far more than foods in their more natural state. So don't be afraid of food with natural fats, even if they have more calories! You'll end up feeling fuller longer.
Healthy fats, especially those from plant-based substances like legumes, avocados, coconut, and nuts, don't actually make you fat. Like all food, enjoy them in moderation.
In the past, people thought that fats can cause weight gain and promote the development of cardiovascular diseases. However, the recent PURE study found no connection between fat consumption and an increased risk of disease.
The study interviewed and monitored 135,335 people from 18 countries regarding their eating habits using standardized questionnaires. Surprisingly, the study concluded that high fat intake was associated with low mortality. This applies to saturated as well as unsaturated fatty acids. Moreover, the risk of death increased significantly with the number of carbohydrates consumed. This meant that a healthy diet should contain more fats such as high-quality olive oil and fewer carbohydrates such as white flour products.
The microbiome of our intestines is incredibly complex. It not only helps us digest food but also influences our immune system and the development of diseases. The composition of bacteria varies from person to person and is significantly influenced by diet and lifestyle.
The more diverse the composition of the intestinal microbiome, the better indication of good health. A varied diet rich in fruit and vegetables provides valuable dietary fibers and has a positive effect on our intestinal flora. Good intestinal bacteria multiply! This ensures a healthier metabolism and an improved immune system. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, Kombucha, and Kefir also promote the growth of "good" intestinal bacteria. A probiotic can also be a great dietary supplement.
In addition to a clean diet, exercise is also an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise and sports promote blood circulation and boost oxygen uptake into the body’s cells. They also help you remain flexible and prevent injuries, lower blood sugar, and stress hormone levels. Exercising with the family is not only healthy, it’s fun and offers variety. This can include climbing, hiking, swimming, or even playing table tennis. With so many possibilities, everyone can find the ideal activity for their family that suits their lifestyle.
Maintaining a healthy body weight has many overall benefits. Normal weight is that which is in the BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9. In certain cases, elite athletes with significant muscle mass might have a low body fat percentage, but high BMI. The BMI scale does not take into account many factors. So talk to your doctor about what is a healthy weight for you.
The American Cancer Society recommends that normal body weight (apart from when pregnant) is important for overall health and wellness. The best way to achieve good body weight is to consume a healthy diet and get sufficient exercise.
Whether you're looking to feel good in the present, or trying to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle for many years to come, we hope these tips help. Do you have any tips for physically and mentally feeling your best? Share them with the ones you love on FamilyApp!