The Basics of Good Health

The basics of maintaining a healthy mind and body have changed little over time, while the assault on the immune system has increased. The time to focus on the basics of good health is now.  Despite the ongoing search for magic pills and potions, good health remains tied to eating, exercise, and attitude.

Eat well

Your best chances for healthy meals are generally in your own kitchen where you have control over what goes into your food.

Stock your kitchen with fruits and vegetables in many different colors to benefit from an array of nutrients.  If buying canned or frozen, avoid salt, sugar, corn syrup, and artificial coloring.

Replace white potatoes, white rice, white bread, and white pasta, with sweet potatoes, brown rice, and whole grains.  The less refined the product, the less negative effect the starches have on blood sugar, and the whole grains will benefit the digestive process.  Mix dark with light until your tastes adjust.
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Food Labels

Read food labels.  Look for less sugar, fewer trans and saturated fats, less sodium, and fewer preservatives.  If you cannot pronounce it, do not eat it.  Skip anything with “-ose” in it, indicating sugar, and skip “hydrogenated,” indicating bad fats.  If something questionable is listed in the first five ingredients, leave the product on the shelf.

Replace sweetened beverages with water, unhealthy fats with healthy (such as olive oil), and sugar with natural sweeteners or fruit. Save the fat and sugar for an occasional treat.

Focus on lean protein sources.  Eggs are one of the cheapest and most complete proteins for building muscle and repairing tissue.

Exercise

The expert opinions on exercise vary, but most agree that the body needs cardiovascular exercise

Exerciseand resistance.  The heart rate needs to be elevated, but not stressed, through walking, jogging, swimming, biking, or anything else that gets the blood pumping.  Simple resistance exercises, such as  push-ups or lifting weights, will build muscle, which will then burn more calories at rest.

Exercise contributes to physical health as well as to emotional well-being, with the side benefit of trimming the body, preventing disease, and increasing stamina.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Stress, anger, and negativity can causes harmful changes in behavior and cognitive abilities, even triggering illness or eliciting physical symptoms.  A positive attitude is a must.

Shifting attitudes involves finding humor in the everyday, focusing on helping others, forgiving, looking for the good in every situation, and being grateful in all circumstances. Relaxation techniques as well as seeking a support group or professional help are avenues for reducing stress and anxiety, letting go of anger, and developing a positive attitude.

While change is not always easy, the benefits from adopting a healthy lifestyle are worth the effort. Eat well, exercise regularly, and maintain a positive attitude for a healthier, happier life.