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HOW TO BE HEALTHY
- Above all, don't smoke. Cigarette smoke is a toxic cocktail of around 70 cancer-causing chemicals and hundreds of other poisons. Smoking is the single biggest cause of cancer in the world. In the UK, smoking accounts for one in four cancer deaths and kills five times more people than road accidents, overdoses, murder, suicide and HIV all put together.
- Eat at roughly the same times each day. This might be two, three or more times but a routine encourages a reasonable weight.
- Watch your portions. Don't heap food on your plate (except for vegetables) and think twice before having second helpings.
- Try to have five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. A portion is about 80g of fruit or vegetables. This is roughly equal to an apple, orange, banana, or similarly-sized fruit or two serving spoons of cooked vegetables such as broccoli or carrots.
- Eat foods with reduced fat. Choose reduced fat versions of foods such as dairy products, spreads and salad dressings. Cut fat off meat.
- Eat foods with reduced salt. Too much salt can increase your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Eat healthier snacks. If you're hungry between meals, choose a healthy option such as fresh fruit or low calorie yogurts instead of chocolate or crisps.
- Look at food labels. Choose food with less fat, sugar and salt content.
- Think about how you eat. Eat your meals at the table and it will help you focus on the amount of food you eat. Eat slowly because it takes time for your body to register how much food you've eaten and how full you are. Don't eat while walking, but wait until you reach your destination and take time to concentrate on what you are eating.
- Think about what you drink. Water is good (but lots of it is not necessary - for discussion click here). Semi-skimmed milk is good too. Moderate amounts of tea and coffee are fine - for evidence click here. Many soft drinks (including fizzy and sweetened soft drinks) contain a lot of sugar. Alcohol is high in calories.
- Don't bother with vitamin supplements. If you enjoy normal health and are not sensitive to healthy foods, you probably don't need them and there is no real evidence that they do any good. Don't believe me? - then check out the evidence: click here.
- Don't bother with detox. There's no such thing. The healthy body has kidneys, a liver, skin, even lungs that are detoxifying all the time. There is no known way to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better. Don't believe me? - then check out this article click here.
- Walk every day. The aim should be to do around 10,000 steps which equates to around 60-90 minutes of walking. Using a pedometer on a belt or a health band on your wrist or an app on your smartphone are good ways to monitor this. On the way to or from work, shops, or meetings, leave the car or public transport a bit short of your destination. In the office, use stairs rather than the lift (or elevator, for my American readers).
- Don't sit around too long. Break up your sitting time by walking around at regular intervals (say, every hour). At home, do a chore. At work, visit a colleague.
- Limit exposure to the sun. Between 11 am and 3 pm, it's better to be in the shade, especially in hotter countries. When in the sun, wear sensible clothing and use appropriate sun factor lotion. Never burn.
- Get enough sleep. The amount varies by individual and age, but most people need seven or eight hours a night. It's important to go to bed at a regular time and get up at a regular time. There is some evidence that people who take a short nap during the day lower the risk of heart disease.
- Be happy. Happiness helps healthiness, especially mental health. For many tips on how to be happy click here
Last modified on 30 January 2016
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