Your health is one of the most important things that you can focus on throughout your life. Unfortunately, not everyone takes it very seriously and many people live much of their lives feeling lethargic and in full of pain. Despite the fact that food and medicine is more readily available than at any time in history, the quality is typically questionable at best. In a world filled with toxins and more ways than ever to avoid exercise, the biggest health question becomes not how to cure disease, but how to prevent it while living a productive, healthy life.
If you’re looking to improve your health and in turn improve your quality of life, try following these 8 easy steps.
1. Eat Complete Proteins
It’s fairly easy to fall into the trap of getting poor nutrition. With the way that the food system has established itself in America, finding someone who gets enough vitamins and trace minerals is hard to come by, but less so due to a rising demand for health-conscious foods.
First of all, try as best you can to make sure that you’re getting enough complete proteins. If you’re vegan or vegetarian then you’re going to need to get all of your amino acids from foods like quinoa, hummus, Bragg’s, hemp seed/milk, or a combination of beans and rice. For non-vegans, milk, eggs, and meats also offer complete proteins. Without proper protein consumption, your body will not be able to build and repair tissue properly or produce hormones, enzymes, or certain other body chemicals the way that it should.
2. Make Sure to Get Enough Vitamins
Vitamins are important for a variety of reasons. Depending on which one you’re deficient in, you could feel tired, suffer from a loss of appetite, mood swings, or chapped lips (amongst other things). A balanced diet will usually supply you with enough vitamins, but many people can benefit from taking supplements as well.
The two most common vitamin deficiencies are B-12 and D3. B-12 is needed for the formation of DNA in the body as well as the manufacturing of red blood cells and the normal function of nerve cells. D3 is essential to aid in bone growth as well as regulate your mood. Vitamin D is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight, but can also be obtained through milk and fish.
3. Avoid Pharmaceutical “Medicine”
Much of what has been discovered in the world of medicine over the past hundred years has ultimately led to longer lifespans and new treatments for diseases which could have only been dreamed of before. However, a lot of what we get from the sphere of modern medicine is quite unsafe.
One study from the Journal of American Medical Association shows us that 1 in 3 drugs which were approved by the FDA from 2001 to 2010 were found to be associated with significant safety issues after being tested on patients. As alarming as this statistic is, you don’t have to play that game of Russian roulette if you don’t want to. Research is increasingly showing that a variety of medicinal herbs such as cannabis, turmeric, and more are actually highly beneficial when used as medicine.
4. Quit Smoking and Stay Off Cigarettes
If you care about staying alive then you probably don’t want to be smoking cigarettes. But if you already do, then quitting could be one of the single biggest achievements in your quest for lifelong health and overall well-being.
According to the CDC, cigarettes cause over 480,000 deaths per year just in the United States, which accounts for nearly 1 in 5 overall deaths. That’s more than all vehicle, gun, alcohol, drug, and HIV related deaths combined. The consequences from smoking cigarettes can include heart and lung disease, yellow teeth and nails, lowered fertility (even in men), birth defects, type 2 diabetes, lowered immune function, and cancer.
Also, cigarettes are loaded with heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and cadmium, which cause everything from kidney damage, to fragile bones, behavior problems, and even lowered IQ. Needless to say, if you smoke, then quitting should be number one of your to-do list, and if you don’t, then to stay off of them should be.
5. Start Exercising
Exercise can be hard to do, especially if you don’t have the motivation. However, just doing a small amount exercise a day can give you the inspiration to keep improving.
Although exercising can be difficult to start, the benefits are well worth it. In addition to reducing excess fat, exercise can tone muscle, lower your chance of heart disease, improve energy and mood as well as promote more restful sleep. Even simply walking in nature can help the body and mind rejuvenate. People who are prone to depression should make it an even greater priority as science is beginning to call exercise an “elixir for depression.” Running is a great way to get some exercise while also not spending much money.
6. Reduce Screen Time
Science is beginning to show us the effect that too much screen time has on our health. One large population-based study from 2013 shows us that every 1.2 hours of television time for children of 29 months resulted in poorer social, vocabulary, math and motor skills, as well as an increase in the likelihood of being bullied. According to research from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, screen time before bed impacts not only your ability to fall asleep, but how tired you are the next day. Research also points to the notion that too much screen time damages parts of the brain associated with attention, decision-making, cognitive control and more.
“Taken together, internet addiction is associated with structural and functional changes in brain regions involving emotional processing, executive attention, decision-making, and cognitive control.” — Lin & Zhou, research authors summarizing neuro-imaging findings in internet and gaming addiction
7. Avoid GMO’s and Artificial Foods
Although some pundits in the scientific arena like to defend GMO’s as “no different from conventional breeding,” they are in fact one of the most insidious scientific advancements of the 20th and 21st centuries thus far.
As more than 40 rodent feeding studies have shown us, GMO’s are highly dangerous to us and our bodies. As clean food activist Jeffery Smith’s Institute for Responsible Technology puts it, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) food,’ including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.”
In fact, GMO’s are so new that almost no long-term studies exist to show us whether or not they are safe. The best that can be done is to declare, as a group of scientists from Environmental Sciences Europe have, that there is “no scientific consensus on GMO safety.” However, if you aren’t eating organic you’re likely to be eating GMO’s on a daily basis, not knowing what side effects may arise.
“The perception that everything is totally straightforward and safe is utterly naive. I don’t think we fully understand the dimensions of what we’re getting into.” – Professor Philip James, Rowett Research Institute
Other artificial foods such as fake sugars are also being found to be dangerous. Try getting back to a natural, organic diet as much as possible and avoid anything fake or artificially “low fat.” Remember that the organic label is regulated and must follow certain guidelines, while the label “all natural” is basically meaningless as it has no regulatory backing.
8. Get a Regular Sleeping Pattern Down
Getting enough sleep is important, but it is equally important to be on a regular sleeping schedule. Because your sleep schedule helps regulate the nervous system, it in turn regulates mood as well. Studies have even shown that establishing solid sleeping and eating patterns can aid people with bipolar disorder. Studies also show that going to bed at the same time every day and getting up at the same time helps regulate your internal clock.
“We see patients with bipolar disorder as having exquisitely sensitive and fragile body clocks…They need to be more attentive than the rest of us to things like when they get up and go to bed and when they eat their meals.” – Ellen Frank, PhD
Your health is essential to your own well-being and productivity, as well as your ability to fend off disease. It doesn’t take a lot of money or even time to achieve higher levels of health, but it does take the knowledge of how to do it. Americans tend to have a deficiency in their health which is why self-help and weight loss gurus have come and gone throughout the past few decades (and made a fortune). However, you can avoid all of that by following a few common-sense guidelines that everyone can do without dieting fads or expensive fitness equipment and the payout is well worth it. Remember your health lies in your hands, not those of big corporations or health gurus who claim that all the answers lie in their products.
About the Author
This article (8 Inspiring Steps to Live a Healthier Life and Naturally Avoid Disease) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Phillip Schneider and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.