Make Today The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Healthy Life
Can Healthy Eating Habits Really Create A Healthy Life?
Healthy living can both make your life more enjoyable and help you live 12 to 14 years longer. Yet some of the most recent (deeply disturbing) research on Americans’ daily habits suggests that fewer than 3% of us actually lead a totally healthy life, and fewer than two-out-of-five of us have good healthy eating habits (based on the USDA’s Healthy Eating Index).
There are many different elements of healthy living besides healthy eating (like activity levels, smoking and substance use, sleep habits, and social connectedness). Yet healthy eating — and its connection to obesity and obesity-related health risks — has some of the strongest correlations with living a healthy life of any of those factors.
Healthy Eating Tip #1: The First Step To Healthy Eating Is To Learn The Basic Rules
The basic rules for healthy eating are simple:
- Eat more vegetables and fewer processed (sugar- and refined-grain-filled) foods;
- Drink more water and fewer non-water drinks (though coffee is still ok as long as you skip the added sugar);
- Learn which foods contain good fats (like fish, nuts, avocado, and olive oil).
Eating healthy isn’t all black and white — there are good and bad fats, good and bad ways to prepare meat, and good and bad sugars — so it can be confusing figuring out how to live a healthy life without being hyper-focused on food. Obsessing over what you’re eating isn’t healthy living, so it’s good to start by just keeping a general best-practice for healthy eating in mind: “real” foods are almost always the best option, since processed (junk) foods tend to be high in unhealthy additives that boost cravings and foster food addictions.
Healthy Eating Tip #2: Spend A Little Time Tracking Your Food Intake To Visualize How To Live A Healthy Life
When it comes right down to it, a healthy life is fueled by protein (with little extra sugar, refined carbs, or trans fats). That’s because protein doesn’t just help build a stronger body — it also helps people maintain a healthy body by reducing the risk of injury and speeding healing after any injury. That does happen
Moreover, people who eat enough protein as a part of their healthy eating habits achieve a healthy weight fairly quickly, since protein plays an essential role in regulating appetite and controlling cravings. Eating sufficient protein can also reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels, two major indicators of healthy living.
That said, talking about nutrients in this way is Greek to most of us, so learning how to live a healthy life requires finding tools to teach you how to put together nutritionally balanced meals and how to recognize what foods fit into your healthy eating plan. So casual use of a good food tracker can help you reach your healthy eating goals.
Healthy Eating Tip #3: Supplement Appropriately With Vitamins, Probiotics, & Fiber
Sometimes you just can’t quite get everything you need, nutrition-wise, from your daily diet. That’s why an important part of healthy living is recognizing when, why, and how to effectively make up for gaps in any healthy eating plan. It’s important to recognize that not everyone (or even most people) needs to take a multivitamin (or any other kind of supplement) to lead a healthy life. But some folks — especially those who struggle to eat enough vegetables or who have underlying deficiencies like iron or vitamin B — can support their other healthy eating choices with nutritionist-recommended supplements.
What’s more, imbalanced gut bacteria has been empirically linked to a lot of chronic health conditions, including allergies, obesity, and digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel disease (IBS). As a result, taking probiotics and fiber supplements (both of which support a healthy gut biome and ease digestion) can be an important part of the preventive care that’s necessary for a healthy life.
Healthy Eating Tip #4: Try Not To Confuse Losing Weight With Living A Healthy Life
Losing weight (if you’re overweight) can be a good reason for healthy eating. That’s because, as you learn how to live a healthy life, you’ll lose or gain weight depending on what your body needs.
Yet weight isn’t actually a reliable metric to judge whether or not you’re leading a healthy lifestyle. That’s because you can often more easily (and quickly) lose weight following a diet that’s not aligned with healthy living (like starvation diets, laxative diets, and other non-nutritionally balanced diets) than you can by eating healthy.
Losing weight in these ways can endanger your health by putting you at a higher risk of becoming obese in the future, developing heart disease, breaking bones, getting sick, and developing an eating disorder. What’s more, health professionals today agree that BMI (a measure of your body fat percentage based on your weight and height) isn’t the best indicator of your overall health or your healthy living habits. If you’re looking for some better signs of a healthy life and successful healthy eating habits, try belly fat/waist size and other non-scale-centric measures.
The Best Healthy Life Advice Comes From Professionals Who Know You
The best advice anyone can give you for how to live a healthy life is to work with and listen to your doctor and other healthcare professionals who know your body and your health history. Though there are plenty of best practices for healthy eating (as we’ve discussed here), there is no one-size-fits-all protocol for how to live a healthy life. So talk to a healthcare provider today to find out how to live a healthy life based on your body, health history, and needs!
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