There are so many different diets and health fads out there that it can be hard to know what to believe. How do you sort through all of the noise and figure out what is actually good for you? The answer is simpler than you may think: stick to the basics. These six basic rules for good health will help you sort through all of the conflicting information and make choices that are truly best for your health.
Eat healthy foods
One of the most important things you can do for your health is to eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet includes a variety of foods from all the food groups. Eating a variety of foods helps you get the nutrients you need.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) dietary guidelines recommend that adults eat the following:
Fruits and vegetables: at least half of all the food you eat each day should be fruits and vegetables.
Fiber-rich whole grains: at least 3 ounces (oz) of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta every day.
Protein foods: such as lean meats, poultry, fish, beans and peas, eggs, nuts and seeds.
Dairy: 3 cups (cups) per day for most people.
Oils: including vegetable oils and fish oils.
Limit solid fats: such as butter, margarine, shortening, and lard; choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products; limit saturated and trans fats.
Sugar and Salt: Limit added sugars and salt (sodium).
There are many ways to eat a healthy diet. You can cook at home more often to control what goes into your food. Eating out? Look for healthier options like grilled chicken or fish, salads with dressing on the side, and fruits or vegetables as side dishes. You can also pack your own meals with healthier snacks and drinks to
There are countless benefits to exercise, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases, improving mental health, and increasing lifespan. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can have a significant impact on health. However, starting an exercise routine can be daunting. Here are some tips to get started:
1. Find an activity that you enjoy. There are many different types of exercise, so it’s important to find one that you will actually stick with. If you hate running, don’t force yourself to do it! Instead, try swimming, biking, or even walking.
2. Start slow and build up gradually. If you’re new to exercise, don’t try to do too much too soon. Start with just a few minutes a day and increase the time as you become more comfortable with it.
3. Set realistic goals. Trying to lose 20 pounds in a month is probably not realistic or healthy. Set small goals that you can realistically achieve, such as exercising 3 times a week for 20 minutes each time.
4. Find a workout buddy or join a group class. Having someone to workout with can make it more enjoyable and motivating. It’s also helpful to have someone to keep you accountable if you start skipping workouts.
5. Make it part of your routine. The best way to make sure you stick with your workout plan is to make it part of your daily routine, like taking a walk after
Get enough sleep
There are a lot of benefits to getting enough sleep, including improved mood, better focus and concentration, reduced stress levels, and more. Most people need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night. If you find yourself needing more or less sleep on a regular basis, it’s important to listen to your body and adjust accordingly. To make sure you’re getting enough sleep, create a bedtime routine and stick to it as much as possible. This can include winding down for 30 minutes before bed, reading or taking a hot bath. Avoiding screens and bright lights in the evening will also help you sleep better.
Drink plenty of water
It’s no secret that staying hydrated is important for good health, but how much water should you drink each day? The old advice of eight 8-ounce glasses a day may not be enough. Some experts recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces of water per day (for example, if you weigh 120 pounds, drink 60 ounces). Others suggest adding 64 ounces for every 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise. And still others recommend even more.
The best way to know if you’re drinking enough water is to pay attention to your body. Are you thirsty? Do your lips feel dry? Is your mouth sticky? If you answer yes to any of these questions, drink some water. You should also drink water when your urine is dark yellow or cloudy. Light yellow or clear urine means you’re well hydrated.
Limit alcohol consumption
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. That means no more than one drink a day for women, and no more than two drinks a day for men. Heavy drinking can lead to a host of problems, including liver damage, heart disease, and cancer. If you’re trying to lose weight, give up alcohol altogether or limiting yourself to just a few drinks per week.
Get enough exercise
If you want to be healthy, you need to make sure you’re getting enough exercise. A sedentary lifestyle is bad for your health, so you need to make sure you’re getting up and moving around regularly. Exercise has numerous benefits for your health, including reducing your risk of chronic diseases, improving your mental health, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.
So how much exercise do you need to stay healthy? The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week. You can also do a combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity. If you can’t fit in 150 minutes of exercise each week, try doing some on most days of the week. Even small amounts of exercise can have health benefits, so every little bit counts!
Take care of your mental health
It’s important to take care of your mental health just as much as your physical health. Here are some basic tips:
1. Get enough sleep: Most people need around eight hours of sleep per night. If you’re not getting enough rest, you’ll be more prone to anxiety and depression.
2. Eat healthy: Eating nutritious foods helps your body to function at its best. Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.
3. Exercise regularly: Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. A moderate amount of exercise is the key to maintaining good mental health.
4. Connect with others: Spending time with loved ones or participating in social activities can help reduce stress and promote positive emotions.
5. Take breaks: When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to yourself to relax and rejuvenate. Taking breaks will help you stay focused and prevent burnout.
There are many reasons to avoid smoking cigarettes, and improving your health is one of the most important. Smoking is a leading cause of death and disease in the United States, responsible for more than 480,000 premature deaths each year.1
Cigarette smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases (including emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)), and other health problems. People who smoke have a higher risk of developing these diseases than people who don’t smoke.
Smoking also increases the risk of developing other conditions such as:2
Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
Type 2 diabetes
Osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones)
Smoking is not only harmful to your health, but it is also harmful to those around you. Secondhand smoke exposure can cause stroke, lung cancer, and other health problems in adults and children.3
Quitting smoking has immediate as well as long-term benefits for both men and women of all ages.4 Within minutes after quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate drop. After one year, your risk of heart disease is cut in half.5 Quitting smoking greatly reduces your risk for cancer and other diseases caused by smoking.6
Drink alcohol in moderation
Drinking alcohol in moderation is one of the basic rules for good health. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and can have negative effects on your health if consumed in excess. Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol can actually have some positive health benefits, including reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke.
However, it’s important to remember that the key word here is “moderation.” If you drink too much alcohol, even on occasion, you can negate any potential health benefits and put yourself at risk for a number of problems, including liver damage, cancer, and brain damage. So while a glass of wine with dinner or a beer while watching the game may be enjoyable and pose no threat to your health, binge drinking or drinking to excess on a regular basis is not recommended.
There you have it, six basic rules for good health. Of course, there are many other things you can do to improve your health, but these six rules provide a great foundation. Start with these and then build on them as you see fit. And remember, health is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the ride!