7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Everyday Health

While many weight loss foods such as eggs, avocados, salmon and chicken breasts have become more and more popular in recent years, obesity is still a major problem among Americans of all ages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 93 million U.S. adults struggled with obesity from 2015 to 2016. Not only can obesity result in premature death, but it also increases your chance of developing other medical conditions such as heart disease, certain types of cancers and type 2 diabetes.

Moreover, more than 100 million Americans are diabetic or prediabetic, another serious medical condition that can lead to:

  • Heart disease.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Stroke.  
  • The amputation of legs, feet or toes in extreme cases.

Smoking cigarettes, avoiding healthy diet plans and living a sedentary lifestyle can all lead to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

While many low sugar desserts and healthy recipes are available to assist diabetics in controlling their symptoms and managing their weight, most individuals can reduce their chances of developing diabetes by changing their eating and exercise habits as early in life as possible.

According to the CDC, if you modify your lifestyle you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent, or as much as 71 percent if you are 60 years of age or older. The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention healthy living program can assist you if you wish to make these important changes to your lifestyle, as this program is available in many communities throughout the U.S.

By using exercise bands to gain strength, getting plenty of physical activity and consuming a healthy diet, nearly anyone can improve their health and reduce their risk of developing a serious disease in the future.

Tip 1) Try to exercise 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week

When starting any healthy living program, exercise should be near the top of your list of priorities. Along with the types of foods you eat, the amount of exercise you obtain can affect you both physically and psychologically.

According to MedlinePlus, most adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. To achieve this goal, aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes per workout session, five days a week. Moderate-intensity physical activity includes walking, biking, swimming and jogging.

In addition to getting at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week, MedlinePlus recommends participating in at least two strengthening sessions per week, such as lifting weights or practicing push-ups. Exercise bands are especially useful when strength training at home.

Tip 2) Reduce the amount of sodium you are eating

Eating healthy recipes and limiting the amount of sodium in your foods can help you to reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, as consuming excess sodium can elevate your blood pressure. For optimal health, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) recommends consuming less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. However, most Americans consume more than 3,400 mg of sodium each day, as sodium is found in many processed or prepared foods.

Tip 3) Cut out sugary or processed foods from your diet

As part of a healthy diet plan, it is important to eat as few processed foods as possible. While processed foods are especially helpful when you are short on time and cannot cook a proper meal, many lack basic nutrients and contain high levels of added fats, sugar and sodium.

If you are in a bind and need to consume a processed food item, look for packaged foods with shorter lists of ingredients. Additionally, you should be able to pronounce the listed ingredients, as food items containing hard-to-pronounce ingredients are typically highly processed and not worth the health risk of consuming them.

Tip 4) Start a small vegetable garden

You can grow many weight loss foods with plenty of nutrients from the comfort of your home just by starting a small vegetable garden. Not only is gardening an enjoyable pastime, but it keeps you active and provides you with plenty of fresh and nutritious foods. As another benefit to you, garden-ripened vegetables contain more nutrients than produce found in a grocery store.  

Tip 5) Stop smoking cigarettes and limit your alcohol intake

As part of your healthy living program, it is important to quit smoking cigarettes and reduce the amount of alcohol you consume, as alcohol and tobacco use greatly increase your risk of developing heart disease, several types of cancers and lung disease. However, quitting smoking and limiting your alcohol consumption are some of the most important steps you can take to reduce your risk of early death.

As part of a healthy diet plan, you should only consume alcoholic beverages in moderation. As per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, this means one alcoholic beverage per day for women and as many as two per day for men.  

Tip 6) Meditate for 10 minutes a day to clear your mind

To help you sleep better, feel calmer and develop a better sense of emotional well-being, incorporate 10 minutes of meditation into your daily life. This free and natural practice can help to reduce blood pressure and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anxiety, depression and insomnia.  

As you learn how to meditate for the first time, several smartphone apps are available to guide you through your practice. Not all meditation apps are free to use, but many will be well worth the small cost you need to pay. Apps that promote better sleep and a greater sense of calmness include the following:

  • 10% Happier
  • Insight Timer
  • Stop, Breath & Think
  • Meditation Studio
  • Calm
  • Buddhify
  • Omvana
  • Headspace
  • Simply Being
  • The Breathing App

As part of a healthy living program, just 10 minutes of meditation each day can help you to slow your thoughts, calm your mind and improve your focus.

Tip 7) Keep a journal to record your daily progress and mental state

In addition to following a healthy diet plan that includes plenty of fresh produce and physical activity, journaling can help to reduce feelings of stress, clear your thoughts and track your progress as you make changes to your lifestyle. Some studies show that journaling can even strengthen your immune system.

To experience the many health benefits of journaling, set aside 20 minutes per day to write freely and without censor.