How To Improve Your Health Quickly
1. Eat fresh foods
Concentrate on eating “real” food—whole, fresh foods that people have been enjoying for millenniums—rather than modern processed foods. Commercially prepackaged foods and fast food from chain restaurants usually contain high levels of sugar, salt, and fat, which are associated with heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other serious illnesses. When cooking, try steaming, baking, and broiling instead of frying. Try using more herbs and spices to cut down on salt. Make sure meats are properly cooked, and never eat spoiled food.
2. Eat mostly plants.
A balanced plate favors a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains over meats and starches. Once or twice a week, try substituting fish for meat. Reduce refined foods such as pasta, white bread, and white rice, which have been stripped of much of their nutritional value. But avoid potentially dangerous fad diets. Parents, protect your children’s health by helping them to acquire a taste for foods that are healthful. For example, give them nuts and thoroughly washed fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks instead of chips or candy.
3. Do not eat too much.
The World Health Organization reports a dangerous worldwide increase in overweight and obese people, often the result of overeating. One study found that in parts of Africa, “there are more children who are overweight than malnourished.” Obese children are at risk of present as well as future health problems, including diabetes. Parents, set a good example for your children by limiting your own portions.
4. Drink plenty of fluids.
Adults and children need to drink plenty of water and other unsweetened liquids every day. Drink more of these during hot weather and when doing heavy physical work and exercise. Such liquids aid digestion, cleanse your body of poisons, make for healthier skin, and promote weight loss. They help you to feel and look your best. Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and too many sweetened drinks. One soft drink a day can add 15 pounds (6.8 kg) to your weight in a year.
5. Exercise regularly
Exert yourself. Leading a physically active life can help us feel happier, think more clearly, have more energy, be more productive and, along with proper diet, control our weight. Exercise need not be painful or extreme to be effective. Regular periods of moderate exercise several times a week can be very beneficial.
Use your feet. Exercise is beneficial for people of all ages, and membership in a gym is not required to get it. Simply using your feet instead of a car, bus, or elevator is a good start.
Why wait for a ride when you can walk to your destination, perhaps even arriving there faster? Parents, encourage your children to participate in physical play, outdoors whenever possible. Such activity strengthens their bodies and helps them to develop whole-body coordination in ways that sedentary entertainment, such as video games, cannot.
Jogging, brisk walking, biking, and taking part in active sports—enough both to get your heart beating faster and to cause you to break a sweat—can improve your endurance and help to prevent heart attack and stroke. Combining such aerobic exercise with moderate weight training and calisthenics helps to strengthen your bones, internal muscles, and limbs. These activities also contribute to maintaining a higher metabolism, which automatically helps to control your weight.
6. Keep your home clean.
Make whatever extra effort is needed to keep your home tidy and clean, inside and out. Eliminate any places where water can collect and mosquitoes can breed. Litter, filth, and uncovered foods and garbage attract insects and vermin, all of which can bring in microbes and cause disease. If there is no toilet, build a simple latrine rather than just relieving yourself in a field. Cover the latrine to keep out flies, which transmit eye infection and other diseases.
7. Keep yourself clean.
“Hand washing is the single most important thing that you can do to help prevent the spread of infection and to stay healthy and well,” reports the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As many as 80 percent of infections are said to be passed on by unclean hands. So wash them often throughout the day.
Do so especially before eating, preparing food, or dressing or even touching a wound, and do so after touching an animal, using the toilet, or changing a baby’s diaper.
Washing with soap and water is more effective than using alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Children stay healthier when parents train them to wash their hands and to keep them away from their mouth and eyes. Bathing every day and keeping your clothes and bed linens fresh and clean also contribute to better health.
8. Keep learning.
Public and private institutions in many lands provide educational programs and literature on a wide range of health topics. Take advantage of them, and educate yourself about basic ways to improve your health and to avoid endangering it. Keep an open mind, and be willing to make simple adjustments.
The good habits you learn and put into practice may well benefit your children and their children after them. When parents set a good example in regard to healthful nutrition, cleanliness, sleep habits, exercise, and disease prevention, their offspring are likely to benefit.
Do not give up! Whatever adjustments you need to make, you may experience more success by starting gradually and not setting unreachable goals for yourself. For example, try cutting down on less-healthful foods, rather than cutting them out. Try going to bed a little earlier and getting a little more exercise. Doing something is better than doing nothing. It normally takes time—weeks or months—before a new good habit becomes second nature. In the meantime, if you do not see immediate benefits from your extra efforts, do not despair. If you persist, despite setbacks, your health is likely to improve.