Everyone wants to know how to lead a healthy lifestyle. Setting goals and making new year resolutions for physical exercise and eating healthy, can feel inspiring as well as intimidating. Instead of setting huge goals for yourself, try to adopt small healthy habits in your daily life and see the difference!
- Eat a variety of food: No single food can provide you with complete nutrition. Eating a balanced diet comprising of all the food groups, like milk and milk products, fruits and vegetables, pulses and legumes, cereals and fats and oils can provide you with all the nutrients required by the body.
- Enjoy plenty of fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are among the most important foods for giving us enough vitamins, minerals and fiber. Include atleast 3-4 different colored fruits and vegetables in your diet to get maximum benefits. Try to eat whole fruits, instead of juices to get fiber in the diet.
- Avoid Trans fats and limit Saturated fats: Fats are important for good health and proper functioning of the body. However, too much of it can negatively impact our weight and cardiovascular health. Limit the consumption of packaged foods, as they contain trans fats and hydrogenated oil. Cook meals in unsaturated fats like olive oil, mustard oil, sesame oil, rice bran oil, sunflower oil, etc. When cooking one should boil, steam, grill and bake, instead of frying to avoid extra calories.
- Reduce salt and sugar intake: A high salt intake in the diet can result in high blood pressure, and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Sugary foods and drinks are rich in energy and too much consumption can lead to obesity, diabetes, etc.
- Eat regularly and control the portion size: Eating a variety of foods, at intervals of 2-3 hours, does not lead to overeating and helps control hunger. Control the portion size of each food, in order to not consume too many calories and it will allow us to enjoy all the foods, without having to eliminate any.
You can follow these steps to control the portion size:
- Cooking the right amount makes it easier to not overeat.
- Using smaller plates helps with smaller servings.
- If eating out, you could share a portion with a friend.
- Include complex carbohydrates instead of refined carbohydrates: Include complex carbohydrates like whole wheat, multigrain bread, whole wheat pasta, oats, barley, jowar, etc. instead of refined carbohydrates like refined wheat flour (maida), cookies, white bread, and pasta in your diet. Wholegrain cereals increase the fiber intake of your diet and provide satiety.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Adults need to drink at least 2.5- 3 liters of liquid daily. Mineral water is the best liquid to keep yourself hydrated and avoid hunger pangs in between meals. Liquids such as green tea, coconut water, clear vegetable soups, broths, milk, etc. are some other healthy liquids that can be included in your diet and help us to keep a check on weight.
- Maintain a healthy body weight: The ideal body weight for each person depends on factors like age, gender, height, and genes. Being overweight increases the risk of various diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol, hypertension, etc. In order to maintain a healthy weight, you need to eat right and be more active.
- Get on the move, make it a habit: Physical activity is important for people of all weight ranges and health conditions. It helps us burn off excess calories, good for heart and circulatory system, strengthens bones and muscles, relieves stress and improves overall health. Include 30- 45 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine.
- Get a good night sleep: Insomnia and lack of sound sleep can affect your health adversely and have an impact on your quality of life. Healthy sleep helps you to balance your mood and emotions, maintains healthy weight and avoid diseases like heart disease, diabetes type- 2 and improves your memory and focus. Adults need at least 7 hours of quality sleep for optimal health and productivity.
- Limit alcohol intake and avoid smoking: Limit the consumption of alcohol. Moderate alcohol consumption for healthy men (upto 65 years of age) is 2 drinks per day and for women and men (older than 65 years) is 1 drink per day. Avoid smoking and use of tobacco in order to avoid lifestyle-related diseases like cholesterol, asthma, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer.
Make small and gradual changes in your lifestyle as they are easier to maintain than major changes introduced all at once.
Eat Right! Stay Fit!