Five rules for achieving optimal health

young   woman woke up in the morning in the bedroom by the window with her backNo other time in history have we experienced widespread prosperity like we do today, especially in the Western World. Global famine seems to be a thing of the past. What’s more, our understanding of medicine has developed to a point where several devastating diseases have been defeated. Little wonder the average lifespan has increased over the years.

But with all these updates, we seem to be combating many new challenges that pose unique threats to our well-being. Over-eating has led to the obesity epidemic in the United States. Our fast-paced lives have led to the proliferation of junk food and increased levels of stress.

In this post, we’re going to take a step back to explore five simple rules you need to remember to achieve optimal health and well-being.

Rule 1: Do Not Put Toxins Into Your Body

That’s right! Many of the things we take into our bodies are outright bad! Common examples include alcohol, hard drugs, and cigarettes.

While taking alcohol in moderation may be alright (if your body can tolerate it), it is very easy to become addicted. When that happens, you need ever-increasing bottles to sustain the pleasure you derive.

Excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other problems like liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even cancer.

Smoking damages almost every organ in the body, negatively impacting the health of your brain, heart, and immune system. Do you know that smoking is the leading preventable cause of early disease and death in the United States? That’s how bad smoking is!

Drug abuse is also a rising problem in the US. Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and meth are some of the most commonly abused drugs. Even normal prescription and over-the-counter drugs like pain relievers, depressants, and stimulants can also be abused.

These substances are highly addictive. So if you get started, it becomes worse and very difficult to break. That’s why it’s best not to even get started on them!

Rule 2: Eat Healthy Foods

We are in the age of fast food, and we take in lots of junk! While they may be tasty, they have long-term negative impacts. For starters, most breakfast cereals, pizzas, mayonnaise, french fries, hot dogs, and sugary drinks are unhealthy. Eating junk food regularly can lead to an increased risk of obesity and chronic diseases. Therefore, minimize their intake if you cannot curb them entirely from your diet.

On the other hand, a healthy diet will help you achieve optimal nutrition and well-being.

Just like your “mama” told you, make sure you eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Vegetables provide essential minerals, and other nutrients, such as fiber and antioxidants.

Foods on lean protein sources like chicken breasts, tofu, eggs, and fish are good for you. Similarly, ensure that more than half of the grains you eat are whole grains. Because whole grains are not severely refined, they still retain many of their nutrients.

When it comes to eating healthy, most people know what’s good and what’s bad. That’s why it’s important to develop the discipline to always choose what’s good for your health!

Rule 3: Exercise Regularly

I know you’ve heard this a million times. But it’s so important that it’s worth mentioning repeatedly. There is strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life.

People who exercise regularly are at a lower risk of developing many long-term conditions like stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

Exercise also helps your body, brain and hormones function optimally day in, day out. What’s more, exercise is a great way to increase your body’s metabolism, reduce excess fat, and lose weight.

The great thing about exercise is you do not need to lift heavy weight or “live in the gym” to benefit from it.

Simple aerobic training exercises like walking, hiking, jogging, swimming, rowing, and biking improves cardiovascular conditioning, controls blood sugar levels, improves lung function, lowers blood pressure, and more.

The right kinds of exercise can also help you improve your physique, making you feel better about yourself.

Rule 4: Stay Away From Excess Stress

Although we live in a fast-paced world, it’s important you properly manage your stress to prevent eventual breakdown.

Excessive stress increases your cortisol levels (which is the stress hormone). This, in turn, impairs your metabolism. You begin to crave junk food, which is bad for you.

Over time, continued strain on your body from stress may lead to severe health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and even mental disorders like anxiety and depression.

That’s why it’s very important to always take a break! Remember, if you break down because of stress, you won’t be able to do the things you’re currently killing yourself for.

Rule 5: Get Enough Sleep

Health experts recommend that adults get anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily. Sleep is the avenue for your body to rejuvenate itself. Consistent bad sleep will lead to an eventual breakdown of your body.

However, getting enough sleep in today’s world requires conscientious efforts. But here are some tips to help with that:

1) Do not drink coffee late in the day.

2) Have a sleeping routine and stick with it!

3) Sleeping in complete darkness is ideal

4) Do not binge-watch movies late into the night.

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