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How can I improve my chances of staying healthy and living longer?

Posted by Be Well

How can I improve my chances of staying healthy and living longer?
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Step one: stop smoking

Giving up smoking can be hard, but it's well worth the effort. Ditching the cigarettes means you could live on average ten years longer. If you want to give up smoking, there is a lot of help available to support you and make the process more manageable.

Everyone knows that smoking causes heart disease and cancer, but because we don't see what's happening on our insides, it's easy to avoid the issue. Giving up smoking, at any age, greatly improves your chances of avoiding smoking-related conditions and dying early.

Plus you'll look and feel better in the long run. Quitting can put a stop to premature aging, yellow teeth, bad breath, and smelling of stale tobacco. Being free of nicotine also makes you feel great emotionally and mentally, once the withdrawal symptoms have passed. It's a misconception that smoking actually calms you down; in reality it's your body craving a nicotine hit that makes you feel stressed.

Step two: eat well

In the busy world we live in, it's easy to eat too much of the wrong foods because they are convenient and seemingly cheaper. A healthy balanced diet can be enjoyable, cheap and easy. You just have to try it, and you'll see and feel the difference.

Eating too much saturated fat (fat from meat and dairy products, for example, butter and cheese), red meat, salt and sugar can lead to a long list of diseases and early death. Research shows, for example, that eating two portions of red or processed meat every day makes you a third more likely to develop bowel cancer. Coronary heart disease, strokes, cancer, and obesity are all less likely to affect you if you control your diet, which means keeping red meat, salt, sugar and saturated fat to a minimum, and eating more fruit and vegetables - at least five portions a day.

Eating healthily will also help you shift a few pounds if you're overweight, and you'll feel fantastic because your energy levels will soar. False highs from caffeine and sugar leave you feeling low afterwards. Following our top tips will help you feel great all day:

  • Aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables a day (try a variety).
  • Eat what you enjoy, but in moderation (you need a combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat).
  • Eat regularly but control your portion size (don't pile up your plate) and stop eating when you're full.
  • Swap white rice, pasta and bread for the wholegrain variety to increase your fiber intake and make you feel more full.
  • Keep an eye on how much salt is in your food (an adult should have no more than 6g per day).
  • Swap saturated fat for unsaturated fat (try olive oil instead of butter).
  • Eat fish instead of red meat (keep red meat to once or twice a week if possible).

Step three: drink right

Drinking right means making sure you drink enough water, and keep tea, coffee and alcohol at healthy levels.

Conditions brought on by drinking too much include liver disease, cancer, strokes, heart problems, high blood pressure, fertility problems and erectile dysfunction.

It's fine to have a drink now and then, but try to keep within your recommended limit to stay healthy. This means no more than 2-3 units of alcohol each day for women, and no more than 3-4 units a day for men. Remember that one unit is roughly the same as a small glass of wine, or half a pint of beer.

Alcohol also affects your physical appearance and mental health. Watching what you drink can prevent weight gain, bloodshot eyes and drinker's nose, and help you avoid depression and anxiety.

Although your morning cup won't do you any harm, drinking too much tea and coffee and not enough water can lead to dehydration. Dehydration affects your ability to concentrate and remember things, as well drying out your skin and making it look older than it is. Drinking enough water (6-8 glasses a day) helps your entire body function properly, so you will feel and look better.

Step four: exercise enough

As well as helping you lose weight and look great, exercise has loads of health benefits. Not getting enough exercise doubles your risk of getting coronary heart disease. Regular exercise about 30 minutes a day decreases your risk of stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

So make the effort to include exercise in your daily life. When you exercise, endorphins (a type of hormone) are released that make us feel fantastic, so exercise can be great for tackling depression. Try starting gradually, by having a game of football at the park or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Work up to 30 minutes a day of exercise that gets your heart rate up and makes you break a sweat. Don't forget to drink more water to avoid dehydration.

I have tons of free information about healthy living, eating, and exercise, including free videos that involve NO equiptment.... check it out if you'd like! 

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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