Health choices for a long life

How to make choices that will keep you healthy

How to make choices that will keep you healthy

Most of our lives are fast-paced and busy. We work long hours and have trouble finding the time to eat right, exercise, and de-stress. While we may think we are being more productive, in the long run, we are compromising our health, and possibly even cutting our lives shorter. Read on to learn about the health choices you can make to keep yourself healthy and happy.

Eating right

While chocolate cake and potato chips are oh so delicious, they are full of empty calories. Even if you are thin, you still need to make wise health choices and eat foods rich in nutrients and vitamins to keep your body healthy and strong. 

It is important to eat foods with nutritional value, such as fruits and vegetables. It is also better for your body to eat foods rich in fiber, as most Americans don’t get enough. This is a major reason why so many of us have digestive problems, so skip the white bread and white rice. Whole grain bread and brown rice offer the fiber your body needs.

If you are a woman, one very important nutrient you need to maintain strong bones is calcium. Osteoporosis is common in many women, and if you are prone to it, calcium is vital to your health. Calcium can of course be found in dairy products, but it is also in vegetables such as broccoli, collard greens, bok choy, spinach, okra, turnip greens, Brussel sprouts, peas, and okra. You can also find calcium in salmon, sardines, almonds, and certain beans. If you are not getting enough calcium in your diet, you should take a calcium supplement.

Anti-oxidants are also important to your health. This substance is found in certain foods and helps prevent and repair damage done by free radicals, which are released as our cells use oxygen. Too many free radicals can cause cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases that will cut your life short. Nuts like raw almonds, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, whole grains, kale, collard greens, and most other bright-colored fruits and vegetables contain anti-oxidants.

Get moving

If you want to be healthy, you have to get off the couch. Exercise is vital for heart health, which is especially important considering that heart disease is the number one killer in America.

You don’t need to run on a treadmill for an hour every day to get exercise; you just need to engage your muscles more often and get your heart beating a little faster. Start taking a 20-minute walk after dinner every evening. Park far away from the entrance of everywhere you go so you have to walk more. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.

If you are having trouble getting motivated, find a friend who can exercise with you and hold you accountable. You may also want to find a personal trainer; they can show you what type of exercises you should be doing to reach your goals, and they can also help you stay motivated when it gets tough. 


You are what you eat

Obesity is an epidemic in America. Being overweight increase your chances of diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, and other conditions. If you are overweight but want to live a long and healthy life, it’s time to start eating better and moving more.

It’s important to note that recent studies have shown that what you eat has more to do with weight than exercise. While exercise is certainly important to maintain health, if you really want to lose weight, you need to adjust your eating habits. It’s simple math: if you eat more calories than you burn off, you will gain weight. 

Studies also show that after intense exercise, many people negate the burned off calories by eating with a large post-workout meal, by rewarding themselves for working out with splurging on food, or by thinking that they can eat badly because they worked out recently. If you find that working out intensely makes you eat more, try less intense workouts such as walking, which will still give you exercise but make you less likely to ruin your workout with food.

Lose the stress

While stress may be frustrating and annoying, it can also shorten your life. If you are too stressed too often, it will manifest in physical symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms are mild, such as headaches and getting colds more often. But if the stress is chronic, you may find yourself suffering from heart disease, depression, hyperthyroidism, obesity, ulcers, anxiety of obsessive-compulsive disorders, sexual dysfunction, and possibly even cancer.

If you live a very high-stress life, it’s important to realize that it could actually end up cutting your life short. Begin making efforts to eliminate stress wherever you can. Exercising frequently helps reduce stress for many people. Yoga is extremely relaxing to many, partly due to its calming breathing techniques. Meditation is another way that many people find peace. If your job is running your life, you may want to consider cutting back your hours. Stay focused on what is more important in the long run: your health!