We all want to live as long a life as possible, and a healthy life at that, but in order for that to happen we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to address body needs and to take care of our bodies both physically and mentally.
As a family physician and an advocate for healthy eating, Dr. Ali Ghahary cannot stress enough the importance of healthy eating. In order to stay healthy, we need to provide our bodies with good quality, nutrient-rich foods. The most important nutrients necessary to achieve that include certain:
Without these 5 essential nutrients, or bodies simply wouldn’t survive.
In order to get these nutrients, you also need to have a well-balanced diet. The best way to do this is to take a look at Canada’s Food Guide. Per day (and depending on age), you should have anywhere from 4 to 7 servings of vegetables, 3 to 7 servings of grain products, 2 to 3 servings of milk and/or alternatives, and 1 to 3 servings of meat and/or alternatives.
Along with healthy eating, the body also needs water. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it also helps to circulate nutrients throughout your body, and even helps with digestion. You can learn more about the health benefits of drinking water here.
Part of staying healthy also means staying fit. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, or aren’t getting enough exercise, you’re more likely to develop health problems, including poor circulation, an increased risk of heart disease, and you will also gain weight.
Physical activity often goes hand in hand with good nutrition. Regular exercise will not only help you maintain a healthy body weight, but it will also help reduce the risk of the aforementioned problems, as well as maintain bone mass, and decrease blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
Studies have also shown exercise to improve your quality of sleep (but it’s recommended that you don’t exercise at least 2 hours before bedtime, as it might actually keep you up at night and leave you tossing and turning.)
In order to stay as healthy as possible, your exercise routine should consist of the following:
- Cardiovascular exercises
- Flexibility and balance exercises
- Agility exercises
- Strength training: this includes walking, running, bike riding, yoga, swimming, and weight lifting.
You might not think it, but how much sleep you get plays an integral role in your overall health and well-being. It’s recommended that you get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, though that number may vary based on the individual as well as their age group.
Lack of sleep can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and can even contribute to an increased chance of motor vehicle accidents. The less sleep you have, the less likely you are to be able to concentrate on certain projects, i.e. school assignments or work, meaning your school and/or work performance could suffer as a result.
To make sure you’re getting a good night’s rest, try to go to sleep around the same time each day and make sure you’re in a relaxing sleeping environment, as well as sleeping on a comfortable mattress and using comfortable pillows.
It’s not uncommon to feel stressed out from time to time, especially given the challenges and demands that life sometimes throws our way. However, to be as healthy as you can possibly be, you should try to reduce your stress level as much as possible.
Knowing what triggers your stress is key. Once you have discovered those triggers, you can work at eliminating them. Failure to address the stress in your life can lead to more severe mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression.
If you are feeling anxious, stressed or depressed, you should reach out to a trusted individual such as a friend, family member to let them know how you’re feeling, and also seek out medical care if necessary.