The 8 habits of a healthy life
I do not have health insurance, so I am very invested in staying healthy life.
So I did some research today; I found the leading causes of death, and then I created a spreadsheet to list each one’s risk control factors ( spreadsheet ).
Some things are out of your control (your age, your family history, your gender). But others can. And these things are not a big surprise – you already know that you should not smoke, drink too much, or eat badly.
It is interesting, however, to see that all major diseases are caused by the same things: smoking, eating, exercise, alcohol, and stress.
I will list below the best habits you can change, and a simple method to change them.
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The 8 simple rules of a healthy life
1. Stop smoking
This is by far the most important since it affects almost every major cause of death. It is also the most difficult habit to change. It’s far from impossible but you must try to change for your healthy life.
2. Lose weight
If you are overweight. It’s not exactly a habit; the best way to lose weight is to eat less. Or eat more things that do not contain a lot of calories, like fruits and vegetables. Being overweight is, right after the cigarette, the worst risk factor for many diseases.
3. Play sports
You do not need me to tell you to exercise but listen to this: lack of exercise is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, colorectal cancer, diabetes, breast cancer, high blood pressure, and cholesterol. If you do not play sports, you simply ask to have a serious illness. It’s almost a magic pill: do a little sport every day, and you’ll be a healthy life. You do not have to do much; start with 5 minutes in the morning.
4. Drink in moderation
Drinking a lot is one of the worst risk factors for many diseases. That is to say more than 2 glasses of alcohol a day for men, more than one for women. A glass of red wine is a good thing, but drink too much and you greatly increase your risk of illness.
5. Delete red meats and processed meats
Eating red meat, and processed meat like sauces, bacon, canned foods and so on, is a risk factor for colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, and cholesterol, which ultimately is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke. Although it will not be suitable for many people, a growing body of research is advocating it. I recommend you to become a vegetarian.
6. Eat fruits and vegetables
It’s obvious, but it’s amazing to see the few vegetables that people eat. Eating fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of several major diseases, and is one of the easiest habits to take. Eat a salad (without heavy seasoning, bacon or other meats, croutons or cheese), add vegetables to soups or chilies of vegetables, cook vegetables as a side dish for dinner or lunch. Eat fruit for breakfast and snacks.
7. Reduce salt, and saturated/trans fats
Salt and trans or saturated fats are present in a lot of processed or prepared foods, and they increase the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Despite what can be read here or there on the internet, saturated fats are not healthy. Note that this is not controversial in the medical community, but that “the absence of danger” of saturated fats is perpetuated especially by agro-food industries. Cook your own healthy dishes instead of eating or eating processed foods.
8. Reduce stress
Stress is a risk factor for heart disease and high blood pressure, which in itself is a risk factor for stroke. Simplify your workday so that you do not get too stressed, and play sports to relieve stress.
Here’s how to change these habits:
Only change one habit at a time
It does not matter which habit you choose. Choose one. You will want to do more than one, but do not do it.
Create positive habits that you like
Read the last word again; if you like it, the change of habit will be easy. Replace smoking with positive habits that meet the current needs of cigarettes (stress reduction, social lubrication, boredom, etc.). Replace red meats with foods you like.
Start as small as you can
Just do it 5 minutes the first week, and try to be as constant as possible. Then go to 10 minutes. A small change is by far the most effective method I used to change my habits. The slow changes last.
Make it public
Find a partner or group that will change this habit with you, so you’ll have more chances to stick to it.
I have done it many times, and every time I stick to these principles, I change a habit.
Healthy living is not impossible, or even particularly difficult. It’s just slower to get than most people want.