1. Eat a balanced diet
- Add variety to your meals. Eat a variety of foods that includes fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Aim to eat at least 5 servings (400 grams) of fruits and vegetables every day, especially fresh, seasonal ones. If you aren’t vegetarian, include fatty fish in your diet, since omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent inflammatory diseases such as heart diseases.
- Cut back on salt. Your daily salt consumption should not exceed 1 gram (or 1 teaspoon). Add less salt when preparing your meal, limit the amount of high-sodium condiments like soy sauce you add to your foods, and avoid salty snacks. Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet decreases your risk for high blood pressure.
- Limit your sugar intake. Limit your sugar intake to 50 grams or about 12 teaspoons a day. You can achieve this by avoiding snacks, candies, and sweetened drinks, such as fruit juices and sodas. Reducing your sugar intake reduces your likelihood of developing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.
- Avoid unhealthy fats. Fats should only make up 30% of your total energy intake. Stick to unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Avoid saturated fats, such as red meat, butter, and cheese, as well as trans fats, such as baked foods and prepackaged, ready-to-eat items.
2. Stay well hydrated
Remember to drink 8 glasses of water a day. Your body is made up of 80% water, and water is necessary for regular bowel function, optimal muscle performance, and immune and skin health. Not drinking enough water can cause dehydration, fatigue, headache, dry skin, and weakened immunity.
3. Exercise regularly
Try to get at least 150 minutes of exercises a week or 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week. Whether it’s walking, jogging, swimming, or doing an at-home Pilates workout, the goal is to stay physically active. Exercise not only helps you maintain a healthy weight, but also decreases your risk of developing diseases as a result of a sedentary lifestyle.
4. Get enough good sleep
There is a strong link between sleep and the immune system. Getting seven to nine hours of sleep heals and strengthens your body while you are asleep. Good sleep is vital for your physical and mental health.
5. Limit your alcohol intake
Drinking alcohol in excess can lead to liver diseases and even liver cancer in the long run. Alcohol abuse can also cause impaired judgment and even lead to accidents and injuries.
Men should limit alcoholic drinks to 2 a day, while women should limit alcohol drinks to 1 drink a day.
6. Do not smoke
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer across the globe. Apart from lung cancer, smoking contributes to the development of other organ cancers as well. It also increases your risk for heart disease.
In addition to being harmful to your own health, smoking is also harmful to the people around you. Secondhand smoking damages the airways and the lungs and is also a leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
7. Protect yourself from the sun
Frequent and long-term sun exposure is associated with a greater risk of skin cancer. Avoid staying out in the sun for long, and make sure to protect yourself from the sun’s rays with sunscreen and long sleeved clothing when you are outdoors.
8. Wash your hands
Washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using an alcohol-based sanitizer is a simple but effective way to stop the spread of infection. Always remember to follow this practice before making or eating food, after handling waste products, after using the bathroom, and while caring for a sick person.
9. Manage your stress
Stress is a known trigger for many illnesses from migraines to heart problems. Find ways to relieve stress, whether it’s watching a funny movie, painting, going for long walks, working in the garden, listening to music, or soaking in a bubble bath.
Another effective way to get out negative thoughts is to talk to your friends and family members. Sharing how you feel with people you trust can provide immediate stress relief and help you let go of tension.
10. Practice safe sex
Taking care of your sexual health is important for your overall health. Practice safe sex by using condoms to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea and syphilis.
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