We are all so busy these days with family, meals, work and activities that sometimes we can’t figure out exactly what is healthy living. But it really is so important to be healthy – actually even more so because your body is running at its max and needs the maintenance to keep it running well. Just like a car, folks. Learn how to have a healthy lifestyle with a well-balanced diet, healthy relationships, natural health, exercise, vitamins and more!
What is healthy living and how to we do it
Get the low down on healthy living while busy tending to all part of life.
Eating Healthy Now Affects your Body in the Future
A healthy diet means you’re doing the following on a daily, or in some cases weekly, basis:
- Eating a healthy breakfast
- Eating foods rich in folate, as dark leafy greens, carrots, tomatoes, and bell peppers
- Balancing your intake of lean protein and whole-grain carbohydrates
- Cut back on sugar, salt, fats and alcohol
- Eat fish 2 or 3 times a week
- 4 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
- Drink caffeine in moderation
“I would say that the most important thing [in keeping one’s heart healthy] is a well-rounded diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables and whole grains and fiber,” says Sally Barclay, a registered dietician at the Nutrition Clinic for Employee Wellness at Iowa State.
A good trick is to divide your plate. Mentally visualize your plate divided into 4 quarters. One quarter should be lean protein the size of your palm is ideal; one quarter should be complex carbohydrates, as brown rice or pasta; the last 2 quarters should be fruits and/or vegetables. Also, a good point to keep in mind is the more colorful your plate, the healthier it is for you.
Enhancing your emotional state
For a quick pick-me-up, the first thing we crave is pastries or some French fries. Just like this morning when I saw a leftover pop-tart I really wanted to eat it. But I have been feeling so sluggish lately I instead went for the oatmeal with banana for breakfast.
Those quick foods like pastries and fries contain refined carbs which even though they may help the brain produce serotonin, they also cause a quick crash. Serotonin is also known as the “feel good” hormone which your brain secretes when you feel pride after hitting a milestone or reaching a goal. On the healthy side of the spectrum, whole-grain carbohydrates produce a more lasting effect on your mood and sustain the levels of serotonin in your body, so reaching for the oatmeal may not be immediately satisfying but it will pay off in the long run.
Maintaining a healthy weight for health
Staying within your recommended daily caloric intake and eating moderately sized meals are two ways you can be in control of your weight. Having a healthy weight means you’re reducing your risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes just to name a couple.
Boosting your energy levels
Eating foods high in iron sustains your energy levels throughout the day since the mineral iron helps carry oxygen throughout the body. Examples of food sources rich in iron are spinach, Swiss chard, almonds and quinoa. Also, snacking on nuts and fruits, and drinking water helps maintain your energy levels.
This is what happens to your body when you start eating a healthy, nutritious diet:
After 1 day:
- Less hunger pangs
- Boost in metabolism
- Increased focus and clarity
After 1 week:
- Increased energy levels
- Better sleep
- Decreased bloating
- Emotional stability
After 1 month:
- Youthful skin
- Eating healthy becomes a lifestyle choice
- You save money on soft drinks, fatty junk food and snacks
After 6 months:
- Boost in self-confidence
- Better sex
- Lower blood pressure
- Stronger bones
After 1 year:
- You’ve reached your goal weight
- You’re smarter about your food choices
- You feel stronger and more alive
- You get sick less often
- Your concentration and memory have increased
In their book Perspectives in Nutrition (1990) by Gordon M. Wardlaw and Paul M. Insel, they state that “…nutrients are the nourishing substances in food that are essential for the growth, development and maintenance of body functions. The essential meaning is that if a nutrient is not present, aspects of function and therefore human health decline. When nutrient intake does not regularly meet the nutrient needs dictated by the cell activity, the metabolic processes slow down or even stop.”
If you think about it in that perspective, you’ll realize that food is much more than just counting calories or reading food labels. It makes us look at food as the sustenance we need to keep going strong for many years to come.
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