Healthy living is a long-term commitment and is within our reach. A lot of people believe that they need to change everything to lead a healthy life but in reality small changes to our diet can make a huge difference. Following a healthy lifestyle is good for people to lead a healthy life. We may need to make only some changes to our diet and lifestyle to help us live a healthier and longer life. These steps that we will take now will make today healthier than yesterday and also pave the way for a healthy living for tomorrow. Lifestyle changes including healthy eating patterns, increased physical activity, and weight management often improve the risk factors associated with various lifestyle related disorders/diseases. Some of the changes that we can make in our diet and lifestyle to lead a healthy life could be:
- Keep blood pressure levels under control: One should aim to keep blood pressure at normal levels of 120/80. For that salt intake should be in moderation approx 6 gms a day.
- For diabetes patients, maintain blood glucose levels under normal range: Good blood glucose control, both fasting and post prandial, may help prevent or delay diabetes complications, including kidney disease.
- Keep your blood cholesterol levels in normal range: Diet, physical activity, maintaining healthy weight and medicines can all help control blood cholesterol level
- Take medicines the way doctor instructs to take.
- If you smoke, take steps to quit: Cigarette smoking can make kidney damage worse.
- Become more active: Physical activity is good for blood pressure as well as blood glucose and blood cholesterol levels. Increase physical activity and set a goal to build confidence.
- Lose weight if overweight: Being overweight makes kidneys work harder. Losing weight helps kidneys last longer. Losing weight is also a preventive measure for a lot of other medical conditions
- Say no to Soda: Every diet soft drink consumed each day could increase risk of being overweight. Artificial sweeteners may stimulate appetite, causing one to overeat. Instead, sip plain water with lemon added for flavour.
- Eat small frequent meals: People who eat only a few meals in a day consume more calories and burn them less quickly than those who have six regular small meals each day. Don’t go more than three or four hours without eating something.
- Become a Tea-Totaler: Green tea not only has about half the caffeine of coffee but also contains catechins, which helps in boosting our metabolism.
- Increase proteins in diet: Increasing proteins in diet could help to eat less without feeling hungry as proteins gives satiety (feeling of fullness).
- Go for fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables: Always store fresh fruits and vegetables at home that are seasonal.
- Shop from a List: Never go to the grocery store without a shopping list which will help in preventing impulsive buys. And never, ever shop when hungry.
- Avoid refined and processed foods: Instead of refined and processed white foods, aim to have whole-grain starches such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat breads and bran cereal. In most of the foods, the browner the food, the higher the fibre. Increasing consumption of dietary fibre is critical to losing weight because it helps to feel fuller and decreases absorption of calories from other food sources.
- Eat slowly and chew food properly: Don’t watch TV, work or drive while eating. Sit down, chew your food properly and enjoy every meal. One can feel much more psychologically satisfied if we don’t multitask while we’re eating.
- Manage stress: Develop positive coping skills, such as meditation and visualization, and look for activities, such as yoga or exercise, to keep stress level in control. Also, find ways to handle stressful situations that come up without any warnings. Helping to meet other peoples’ needs may make our own problems seem smaller.
- Sleep better: Take proper sleep. People who sleep seven to eight hours per night are leaner than those who sleep only five to six hours. If you have trouble sleeping, no watching TV or working on computer two hours before bedtime not just because the TV and computer are stimulating; it’s also because of their light, no heavy exercise close to bedtime as vigorous activity will heat up body’s core temperature which makes it harder to sleep, take a hot bath that will heat up core body temperature but when you get out of the bath your core temperature will fall which may help you get to sleep. Also, bath relaxes mentally. Also, set a regular sleep schedule.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthier diet may be difficult at first. But once we see for our self how good it makes us feel and how good healthy food can taste, we have a better chance of succeeding. Over time, preferences changes and cravings for unhealthy foods fade away.
These are easy to do activities that can be easily incorporated in everyday life. If these changes can be done in our daily routine today, they can be followed tomorrow also. Creating a healthy lifestyle does require consistency.