As a result of today’s difficult financial climate, increased stress levels at work or having to cope with redundancy and unemployment are all taking a serious toll on both physical and mental health. Having to work longer hours with less job security and often no over-time revenue leaves little time for getting daily exercise and eating healthy nutritious meals.
Simple Ways to Stay Healthy and Live Longer
In Super Immunity Foods, Goulart (2009) highlights four simple ways to stay healthy and live as much as 14 years longer, as follows:
- Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.
- Do not smoke.
- Get plenty of regular exercise.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
Rather than worrying about all the other various lifestyle factors making an impact upon health and well-being, simply focus on these four to significantly increase one’s lifespan. A really easy way to exercise and eat better involves walking to buy fresh fruit and vegetables each day.
Eat Lots of Fruit and Vegetables
It has long since been proven that eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (at least five a day) will make a significant difference to both life span and health. According to Goulart (2009), key “super immunity foods” to eat regularly include:
- tomatoes, which have natural antibiotic and cancer preventing properties
- berries, which protect the heart, prevent cancer growth and boost energy
- apples, which halt cancer cell growth, increase neurotransmitters and have high fibre
- figs, which strengthen bones and the heart and are a wound healer
- citrus fruits, which fight infection, boost mood and have anti-cancer properties
- broccoli, which slows ageing and lowers cholesterol
- mushrooms, which promote healthy skin and healthy nerves and fight cancer
- carrots, which strengthen bones and reduce cancer risks
Do Not Smoke
One of the best ways to ensure one remains as unhealthy as possible, increases the likelihood of suffering from cancer, multiple chest infections and shorten life span is to be a smoker. Thankfully, there is now more help available to quit smoking than ever before, with quit-line telephone/text support, quit smoking courses and a whole range of nicotine replacement patches, gums and nicotine-free cigarettes.
Further ways to help give up this antisocial and expensive habit is to try a course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), replace smoking with exercise or quit with the support of friends and family. Putting aside each day the money one would have spent on cigarettes would also provide an incentive, as this could be put towards a holiday or day out with the family.
In addition to eating a balanced nutritious diet, getting regular (ideally daily) forms of exercise is an essential way to remain as healthy as possible for longer. Those who exercise regularly tend to be of a healthy body mass index (BMI 20-25) and suffer less from bugs and infections going round. Exercise has also been proven to significantly improve mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, as it releases feel-good chemicals known as endorphins which boost mood.
Even walking the dog for just half an hour each day can make a real difference to physical health and emotional well-being. A great way to save money and get fit is to cycle to work – this also helps to reduce stress levels and arrive at work feeling more positive about the day ahead.
Drink Alcohol in Moderation
Drinking alcohol in moderation means one is less likely to end up with liver damage, unwanted pregnancy and even life-threatening sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The link between alcoholism or binge-drinking and crime is very well-known, especially in terms of drink-driving. However, there are some benefits: for example, drinking red wine (in moderate amounts) has long since been proven to have a positive impact in terms of reducing heart disease risks.
In countries where a glass of red wine is considered a very normal addition to a meal, such as in France, there are recognised to be far lower levels of heart disease. Although it is important to point out that drinking red wine in excess will completely outweigh any potential benefits.
As highlighted above, four key ways to improve health and live longer, include eating plenty of super immunity foods (berries, broccoli, carrots), giving up smoking, taking regular exercise and drinking alcohol in moderation. It is also well worth taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement until one is eating a fully balanced diet.