Sunday, November 13, 2011
Ten Steps Toward Healthy Living
Healthy living is something that every person should take seriously. But so often do we see people who'd rather spend their money on beauty products and cosmetics than worry about their health, which is obviously more important! Because so many people choose to put more effort into their looks than to living a healthy lifestyle, many preventable conditions, specifically heart diseases, are arising much more frequently than they should. It's time some of us take serious measures to protect ourselves, by making an effort to have a healthier diet, exercise regularly, and strive to live an overall healthy life. If you'd like to make a change and start taking care of your body - most importantly, your heart - here are ten proactive steps that you can take to get on the right track to live a healthier life. 1) Adopt a Healthier Diet: You don't have to start crash dieting to start eating healthier! Rather, you should start taking into account what your putting into your body, versus than how much. Some of the healthiest foods you can eat are whole grains and vegetables. There are so many vitamins and nutrients packed into foods like seeds, nuts and leafy greens that aim to help lower your cholesterol. Cultured soy products and citrus fruits are also heavy hitters when it comes to lowering your cholesterol levels. Foods like garlic and onions can also help when it comes to preventing the hardening of your arteries and blood clotting, which can help stop many forms of cardiovascular disease from occurring. All in all, take into account the nutrition of your food, avoid junk food, and have a balanced diet. 2) Exercise, Exercise, Exercise: Okay, you don't need to be a body-builder in order to lead a healthy life. All you need to do is make an effort to exercise daily. Cardiovascular workouts can include all kinds of activities; even a hour walk around the neighborhood, some light jogging, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can add up to become a worthwhile workout! If you haven't been the most active person for a while, consider starting with small workouts, and progressively build up to harder, and more vigorous strength and cardio training. Like any other muscle in your body, your heart needs regular workouts in order to make sure its healthy and strong. 3) Keep Track of Your Sodium Intake: You don't have to completely forsake all salty foods-- in fact, we need some salt in our diets. But if we consume too much, it can have detrimental effects on our heart and cardiovascular system. Too much sodium can increase blood pressure, and even make it harder for your kidneys to flush out harmful toxins in your body. 4) Watch the Fat: Eating healthy requires watching your fat intake. There are essentially two types of fat: The "bad" types of fat are known as saturated fats, which are derived from animal and vegetable oils. These fats can cause your cholesterol to rise because of their saturated nature. Good types of fats, like flaxseed oil, olive oil, and other types of unsaturated fats can keep your cholesterol at a healthy level and help with weight loss, without sacrificing taste. 5) Keep a Healthy Weight: You don't need to be "skinny" in order to have a healthy weight. Being skinny doesn't automatically make you a healthy person. People come in all shapes and sizes, therefore, what constitutes as a healthy weight can be different for everyone. Using such devices as a BMI calculator, or body mass index calculator, you can find your ideal weight range and work on staying within that range. 6) Lose the Junk: As with the previous steps, the key here is moderation. Every once in a while you can give in to your cravings, but regularly eating processed foods like chips, burgers, and fries can lead to detrimental long-term health effects. Fast foods like these are known to raise your cholesterol levels and clog your arteries, and it's no wonder, considering they're packed with sodium, saturated fats, and sugars. Once again, use common sense and make sure your diet isn't loaded with junk. 7) Good-For-Your-Heart Supplements: Taking daily supplements like L-arginine, I-proline, and I-carnitine, which are amino acids, can help unclog your arteries, improve your circulation, and lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, while also strengthening your heart. Taking such supplements can drastically reduce your chance of cardiovascular disorders. 8) Put Out the Cigarette: Quitting smoking may not be easy, but it can have serious benefits for your health. Through pure will and determination, you CAN stomp this addiction out-- plus, you definitely owe it to your body to stop. Smoking can lead to four times the likelihood of a person having a heart attack, not to mention other serious adverse health effects. 9) Get Some Shut-Eye: Sleeping can actually reduce your chances for some serious health effects. Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston recently conducted a study that showed that getting less than five hours of sleep a night develop a 30% greater likelihood of risk for heart attacks. So make sure to get adequate Zzz's! 10) Lay Off the Alcohol: Excessive drinking can lead to an increase in blood pressure, significant weight gain, and serious damage to vital organs in your body such as your heart and liver. Its okay to have an occasional cocktail - just limit yourself to less than two servings per day, and you'll be on your way to a healthier life.