I am not a health expert, but I have read books written by health experts like . In fact, almost all of the statistics and recommendations you will see below are based on this fantastic book.
My thoughts are, if you can’t trust 30+ years of Harvard medical research, who can you trust?
Every recommendation on this page may not turn out to be 100% accurate. However, as of this decade, this is about the best that we humans know so far about eating right and being healthy.
If you follow the advice on this page, you will be way ahead of about 99.99% of the people on this planet as far as maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Take these suggestions to heart. Apply as many of them as possible into your daily life, and I promise you will be on the road to a much longer and healthier life…
1. Exercise And Maintain A Healthy Weight
The absolute, most important thing you need to do to be healthy is to exercise and maintain a healthy weight. What is a healthy weight?
That, of course, depends on how tall you are. The best way to determine if you are at a good weight for your size is to calculate your Body Mass Index (opens new window). I highly encourage you to click on the link and do a quick five second calculation of where you currently stand.
Eating the right things is very important, but your top priority should be getting your Body Mass Index under 25. If yours happens to be over 25, make it your goal today to get your weight into this “healthy range.”
It’s so important that you get your weight under control...
I am going to present a diet plan to help you out. Follow this plan and also an exercise plan if you currently aren’t on one. Speaking of exercise…
It’s essential that you add some sort of physical activity into your life.
Even if you are at a healthy weight, you still need exercise in your life. Not only will your heart thank you, but it will also help…
- protect you from certain cancers
- prevent diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis
- reduce your risk of falling
- relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety
- maintain your healthy weight!
I hope I have brought home the importantance of maintaining a healthy weight. But let me ease your mind a little about daily exercise…
A brisk walk is nearly as effective as a morning jog. You don’t have to make exercise painful and excruciating. What you need to do is get into the habit of doing a little bit every day. My workout routine is nothing elaborate. I jog a mile every day when I first get up. I also occasionally do some push ups and sit ups. And that’s about it.
I could go on and on about the benefits I have received from my morning jog. Here are just a few…
- a better mood throughout the day
- a decrease in anxiety and stress
- much more energy throughout the day
- the disappearance of that after lunch slump
The benefits truly do go on and on. But I’ll let you experience them first-hand and find out for yourself!
As far as what type of exercise is best, I’ll only give you one piece of advice. And that is to have an exercise routine that works all of your muscles. For example, I jog every morning. But that does very little for my arms and shoulders, which is why I also do some push ups and some weight training a couple times a week. You must give all of your muscles a workout. Otherwise, you are going to experience problems down the road with the areas of your body that you aren’t giving it’s proper exercise.
So, have a little variety in your exercise routine. This will help all of your bones stay healthy. And…
Maintain a healthy weight. Get started exercising. Now, let’s bring on the food…
2. Start Eating Good Fats
Easily, the biggest myth when it comes to eating is that fats are bad. This is completely false! Some fats are tremendously healthy for you.
So many diets out there consist of eliminating all types of fats from your diets. Not only does this give you nothing good to eat, it’s also very unhealthy.
Here’s a good rule of thumb:
“The more people eliminate fats, the fatter they get!”
You need to have certain fats to live a healthy lifestyle. So, what are good fats and what are bad fats?
The bad fats are saturated fats and trans fats. You can live with some saturated fats in your life. However, trans fats should be completely removed from your diet. These fats, typically found in many things that you order at restaurants, are contributing significantly to the obesity that is currently in the world today.
Saturated fats can be found in things such as butter, chocolate, margarine, chips, and french fries. These fats are solid at room temperature.
The good fats are unsaturated fats. Whether they're polyunsaturated fats or monounsaturated fats, these fats are very good for your heart. You need to include these fats in your diet.
Unsaturated fats can be found in foods such as corn, nuts, fish, vegetable oil, and olive oil. These fats are liquid at room temperature.
The number one thing you should do when it comes to eating is to eat less saturated/trans fats and replace them with good, heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Here are some tips to help you do that…
- replace red meats with healthier meats such as chicken or fish
- make nuts your favorite snack
- when choosing meat, get the leanest cut possible
- replace butter when cooking with olive oil or vegetable oil
- cut back on milk and other dairy products as much as possible
I cannot even begin to tell you how important it is to start eating healthier fats. Besides healthy weight and exercise, it’s the most important thing you can do to become healthy. Use the suggestions above and your heart will thank you.
3. Load Up On Whole Wheat
The second most important healthy eating tip is to eat plenty of whole wheat. The best way to explain the benefits of eating whole wheats is “almost every benefit imaginable.”
The more important questions are, how do we add whole wheat to our diet? And also, how can we tell if the whole wheat in food is real or fake?
The first place to get started is obviously in your bread selection. Look for the term “100% Whole Wheat.” Do not purchase any alternatives to this term. For example, terms such as…
- made with whole wheat
- 100% wheat
- contains whole grain
…simply do not cut it! These are impostors to the healthy “100% whole wheat” label. This is the only thing you should look for when it comes to bread.
As far as other products go, look for “whole wheat” in the title. Whole wheat buns, whole wheat rolls, whole wheat cereal, etc., etc.! And speaking of cereal…
Cereal is another excellent source of adding whole wheat to your diet. Don’t think that eating healthy cereals is going to taste bad either. Here are a few that are loaded with whole wheat…
- General Mills Total
- Wheat Chex
Kick-start your morning with one of these cereals and one or two slices of whole wheat bread. It will make all of the difference in the world!
4. A Variety Of Fruits And Vegetables
This probably won’t come as a shocker, but eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is very important when it comes to healthy eating. It’s the third most important step behind good fats and whole wheat.
When it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, there are two words that are essential. Those two words are more and different.
Try to eat as many different colors of each. With vegetables, have some green lettuce, orange carrots, red tomatoes, yellow corn and brown beans. Each vegetable has its own unique health benefit. SO, if you want to get all of the benefits from eating vegetables, start eating as many different kinds as possible.
The same goes with fruits. Have a yellow banana, a red apple, an orange, and a purple plum. I’ve yet to figure out why fruits aren’t more popular than what they are. They are very delicious and healthy at the same time!
Here are the top three benefits of having a diet rich in fruits and vegetables:
- It decreases the chance of a heart attack or stroke
- It protects against cancers
- It lowers your blood pressure
Try to have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Don’t count potatoes because there are some negative side-effects with potatoes. Also, uncooked fruits and vegetables are better because cooking them destroys some of the phytochemicals (benefits).
I will discuss in a little bit the use of common sense when it comes to your diet. Fruits and vegetables could easily be included in that section. Be smart and eat an abundance and variety of fruits and vegetables.
5. A Multivitamin Life Insurance Policy
No matter how perfect your diet is, it’s nearly impossible to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need. And since your body doesn’t naturally make these things for you, taking multivitamin supplements are the perfect way to make sure your body gets them.
You may have heard some negative things about multivitamins such as that your body doesn’t use 90% of what’s in the pill. And that statement may very well be true. But that other 10% that your body does use is extremely important!
Some of the vitamins that you likely have a hard time getting enough of on a daily basis are vitamins B6, B12, D, and Folic Acid.
The daily use of a multivitamin makes sure you get all of these essential vitamins!
6. Alcohol In Moderation
Of all of the seven health tips, this one is probably the least important. However, study after study shows that drinking one alcoholic drink a day adds great benefits to your health. More specifically…
Men who have one or two alcoholic drinks a day are 30-40% less likely to have heart attacks. For women, this number is slightly less but still very significant.
If you are young (under 50), it’s not the end of the world if you haven’t been drinking one or two glasses of wine everyday. However, I would highly encourage anyone over 50 to start having a glass of wine at dinner. Or, as some people like to do, a “shot and a beer” at lunch time.
For women, I should mention another important statistic. Anything more than one drink a day for women increases the chance of breast cancer by 20%. So keep it to just one glass a day ladies.
As I mentioned before, drinking alcohol in moderation isn’t the most important thing you can do. But it’s just another piece to the puzzle towards living a healthy lifestyle.
7. A Final Touch Of Common Sense
The more I study nutrition, the more I realize that most of it comes down to common sense.
Don’t get me wrong though. I still learn new things when I study nutrition. For example, I had no idea how important whole wheat was. Or that small doses of alcohol each day was actually good for you!
But when you study nutrition as much as I have, the more often you'll see the same things being mentioned time and time again. Eat fruits and vegetables. Avoid butter as much as possible. Don’t put so much salt on your food.
These things we already know. It’s just that we forget about how important they are and why we are doing them. I’m sure that it’s your plan to live a long and healthy life isn’t it? Just remember, your diet and exercise plan are extremely important. Never forget how important they truly are.
When you are out shopping at the grocery store, try to go for the healthy stuff as much as possible. You already have a good idea of what is good and bad. For example, pizza is bad. Fish is good. Ice cream is bad. Apples are good.
When all else fails, please, use your common sense. It will lead you to making healthier eating decisions a majority of the time.
If one box of cereal lists several health benefits on the front cover and another one says “chocolate fudge”, you know which one you should choose!