A large part of what you’ve heard about nutrition and health is nonsense.
In some cases you have been intentionally lied to by greedy people trying to sell you something.
In other cases though, people (including some health professionals) are simply misinformed about how to be healthy.
Guidelines are often crafted based on “policy” instead of science, the ridiculous war on saturated fat being a prime example of that.
Lifestyle Diseases Are Preventable
If you are willing to look past the advice that is constantly given by these misguided people, such as “food doesn’t matter, only calories” then you will discover that some of the most common diseases we face today are preventable.
They are called lifestyle diseases for a reason, because our unhealthy lifestyle causes or contributes to them.
In this category falls everything related to the metabolic dysfunction that happens with a western diet and sedentary life. This includes obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, some types of cancer, and many, many others.
If you follow the directions outlined below (for life), chances are that you will avoid these diseases, and possibly even reverse their progression if they have already started developing.
Don’t Smoke, Drink or Do Drugs
First of all, if you’re a smoker, alcoholic or a drug addict, then diet and exercise are the least of your worries.
I know that giving up these addictions is extremely difficult (believe me, I do). If you can’t stop on your own, seek professional help or go to rehab. It works.
Nutrition can get pretty complicated at times, but eating healthy is actually really simple.
What is important is to eat real, unprocessed foods, while avoiding junk foods and harmful ingredients.
Eat: Meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and oils. If you can tolerate them, then full-fat dairy and some non-gluten grains are okay as well.
If you are overweight, then the best thing you can do to improve your health is to lose weight. For that, low-carb diets are very effective although there are also other approaches that work well for some people.
The best eating plan for YOU, is the one YOU can follow in the long term.
Skipping meals from time to time (intermittent fasting) and eating a bit less (calorie restriction) are methods that are very likely to increase longevity. In fact, these are two of the main tactics employed by immortalists.
If you don’t get much sun, then you might want to consider Vitamin D supplementation. A Vitamin D deficiency is associated with many diseases, and avoiding it may prolong your health. To know if you need this or not, ask your doctor to measure blood levels of 25(OH)D.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important, and if you don’t eat much fish or grass-fed animals then you should consider a fish oil supplement.
The importance of exercise can not be overstated. It is one of the foundations of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise makes you feel better, and helps prevent a massive range of diseases.
If you have a desk job, then you need to consciously make time for exercise, at least 3 times per week.
There are certain activities that are more efficient than others, but in my opinion just doing something is critical.
If you like going to the gym, go to the gym. If you like walking, walk. If you like swimming, well.. you get the picture.
Instead of focusing on calories, aim to improve your physical fitness. The calories are negligible anyway, and exercise helps you lose weight by other means.
Optimally, you would do both weight training and some type of cardiovascular exercise. Some sports and group activities incorporate this automatically.
It is incredibly important to do something you enjoy!
In the busy western society, sleep often suffers. We tend to be too busy and distracted to get the sleep that we need.
If you suspect you might have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, which is fairly common, then see a doctor. It is treatable.
Some tips to improve sleep:
- Don’t eat or drink in the last few hours before bed.
- Go to sleep and wake up at a similar time each day, including the weekends.
- Sleep in a dark room, with no lighting.
- Dampen your lights a few hours before bedtime.
- Expose yourself to bright lights in the morning, preferably from the sun.
- Do not ingest caffeine after 2-3PM.
- Eat healthy, and do regular physical exercise.
Like sleep, stress is something that comes with our lifestyles.
Avoiding unnecessary obligations is very important. In other words, simplify your life as much as possible. Be organized, and avoid procrastination.
Meditation can be very effective to relieve stress. If you are a stressed person, then that is something you should definitely look into.
As with other aspects of life, eating healthy and exercising can work wonders for stress.
Take Care of your Personal Life
Be close to your family and friends. Take good care of your hobbies. Set new goals and achieve them. Have fun.
Having a sense of purpose in life is incredibly important to stay happy and healthy.
If you follow these methods, your chances of living a long and healthy life will be greatly improved.
These are all things you have probably heard of before, but it can help to have them all in one place.