8 Make-or-Break Health Habits
We all know that food is our fuel, but it can be so much more than that! If you can whip yourself up a little enthusiasm, add a cup of variety, perhaps a few sprigs of preparation, and accept a handful of helpful tips, then your diet can quickly become an exciting, creative outlet.
I like to think of eating as an experimental adventure. You may not even realise just how easy and enjoyable it can be to eat food that’s both healthy and well-balanced, without having to go to the Jamie Oliver school of cookery.
And remember, your diet it so much more than simply what you choose to eat – think about what you consume more broadly, and consider how each facet of your day-to-day life contributes to the overall health of your lifestyle. Healthy habits may begin with your diet, but a holistic approach to your wellbeing is critical to its achievement.
Let’s walk through some of the findings from the American Journal of Cardiology. Their 2014 research suggests – as we at Flourish have always found – that even the smallest of changes to your diet and lifestyle can reap some pretty sizable rewards. According to their study, the “best” diet consists of the following:
- 2 servings of vegetables per day
- 6 servings of fruit per day
- 3 servings of legumes per day
- 3 servings of wholegrains per day
- 3 servings of fish per week
If we add up the calories from the food mentioned above, this diet equates to approximately 975 calories per day. Based on a 2,900 calorie daily allowance, this leaves 2,000 calories free for consumption.
Note another factor in their recommended diet is the minimisation of red and processed meat in your daily eating plan. Ultimately it calls for moderation when it comes to eating fatty food, dairy, refined cereals or breads, sugary food and cakes.
Following this diet was found to have reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20%. Throw-in the decision to quit smoking and alcohol consumption, and the risk dropped by 64%. Furthermore, the inclusion of 40 minutes of daily walking plus one hour of vigorous exercise per week, and the risk plummeted by 76%. In fact, the study demonstrated that if you keep your waist under 95cm, you lower the risk by an astounding 84%.
Astonishing results, right? And all achieved with simple lifestyle changes. Simple changes, for significant long-term health benefits.
Finally, the study identified eight make-or-break health habits that can be incorporated into your daily life.
We think you’ll know a few of these already…
Eat Healthy: It doesn’t have to mean counting calories, nor the excruciation of portion control. It means eating good food until your heart’s content.
Be Active: Get a move on, get your groove on. Walk the dog. Do yoga after work. Join a gym. Just do things that keep you moving! 40 minutes a day plus one big exercise session per week is all it takes.
Enjoy the Sun: Produce that Vitamin D! Not too many rays, but enough to feel a healthy glow. Just remember to equip yourself with quality UV protection and lots of water to stay hydrated.
Reduce Medications: Work towards creating a healthy immune system. When possible, seek natural medications over artificial ones.
Engage in positive social behaviours: Practice kindness. Socialise regularly. Participate in activities that keep your mood and spirits up. It will benefit you and yours.
Sleep and Restore: Make sure to get at least 6 hours of rest, minimum. Your organs need this time to regenerate and restore! Your productivity will skyrocket with adequate sleep.
Seek joy and balance: Find your zen. Make time to meditate and relax. Create the space in your mind to be reminded of what’s important.
Minimise deprivation: This is a big one, and a common hurdle. Will power will never be enough to sustain a long-term health regime. Focus on being reflective, and remember to be kind to yourself.