Living a healthy lifestyle is essential for preventing chronic diseases and maintaining good health. Eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking alcohol are all important steps to take. Vaccines, health screenings, and preventive medications can also help reduce the risk of developing serious health problems. In this article, we'll discuss eight healthy habits that can help you stay healthy and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases.
Eating a balanced diet is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent chronic diseases. Eating healthy helps control cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and prevent type 2 diabetes. Your doctor or nutritionist can help you create a meal plan that meets your individual needs. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats is key to maintaining a healthy diet.
Maintain a Healthy Weight.
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, respiratory problems, and certain types of cancer. Losing even a small amount of weight (5-10%) can have beneficial effects on your health. Eating a balanced diet and avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Get Enough Sleep. Sleep is essential for restoring our bodies and minds.
Establishing a regular sleep routine can help you get the rest you need. Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, avoiding heavy meals and alcohol before bedtime, and limiting screen time two hours before bedtime are all important steps to take.
Practice Good Hygiene. Practicing good hygiene is essential for preventing the spread of germs and illnesses. Wash your hands frequently when preparing food, especially raw meat.
Cook food to the proper temperature and refrigerate it quickly after eating. Clean utensils and surfaces regularly.
Take Preventive Medications. Your healthcare provider may recommend preventive medications to reduce your risk of developing certain diseases or to control conditions you already have. Statins may be recommended if you have high cholesterol, diabetes, are over 40 years old, or have other risk factors.
Medications may also be used to control blood pressure.
Get Vaccinated. Vaccines aren't just for children! Everyone over 6 months old should get a flu shot every year and the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough) vaccine should be given every 10 years. Other vaccines are given when you reach a certain age such as the shingles vaccine or the pneumococcal vaccine.
Stop Smoking. Smoking increases your risk of developing many types of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other serious health conditions.
Talk to your healthcare provider about quitting smoking and ask about FDA-approved smoking cessation medications.
Limit Alcohol Consumption. Drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing six different types of cancer. Even moderate alcohol consumption can increase your risk of breast cancer and colon cancer. The healthiest option is to avoid alcohol altogether. These eight healthy habits can go a long way towards improving your health and reducing your risk of many types of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Talk to your healthcare provider about what tests you should undergo and when to ensure that you stay in good health.