If you are looking for ideas on how to improve your health this post shares 15 easy ways to live a healthy lifestyle, including tips like getting more sleep, learning to cook, drinking less alcohol, getting more exercise, drinking more water, reducing stress and more.
Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to be hard or feel restrictive. Creating a healthy life doesn't just mean eating well, and exercising, it encompasses so many other things including how much sleep you get, your mindset, your mental health, the products you are using in your home and on your body, the relationships you have with others, your outlook on life, your stress levels and more. You really don't need to make drastic changes in your lifestyle to make it healthier. It can be a lot easier than you might think. That is why, in this post I am sharing a roundup of easy and simple habits that you can incorporate into your daily life to help you live healthier.
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15 Easy Ways to Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Get More Sleep
Sleep deprivation is linked to many different health problems and sadly most of us are not getting enough of it. One simple way to improve your overall health is to get more sleep. Adults should aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Children and infants need more sleep, anywhere between 8-16 hours a night depending on their age.
Learn to Cook
It's no secret that making your own food is usually healthier than eating out, ordering food or reaching for the quick processed food fix. It's also much more cost effective. One of the best things you can do for your health is learn to cook and make your own food.
When you cook your own food you can control what ingredients you are using, including how much sugar and salt you use so it becomes so much easier to decrease your sugar intake, especially your refined sugar intake. Preparing your own food makes it so much easier to cook healthy foods and make healthy snacks.
As well, takeout containers can be full of harmful and toxic chemicals like BPA and other hormone disruptors, so by making food at home you are decreasing your exposure to other toxic exposures as well.
Drink More Water
Are you drinking enough water? And no tea, coffee and wine don't count. You should be drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day. Water is necessary for survival, and even just a few days without it can be fatal.
Don't like water? Add some freshly squeezed lemon or lime to give it a bit more flavour. You'll also want to choose water instead of pop or soda which are filled with sugar, mainly refined sugars. Water is also a better choice compared to juice, as most fruit juices are also very high in sugar.
Switch to Non Toxic Skincare and Makeup Products
Your skin is your largest organ and sadly many of the skincare and makeup products on the market are filled with ingredients that are not good for our health. Much of what we put on our skin gets absorbed directly into our bloodstream so it's very important that you are choosing skincare and makeup products that are made with safe, non-toxic ingredients.
This goes for everything you are using on your body including shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, creams and lotions, plus your hair and dental products. Some of my favourite non-toxic skincare and beauty brands include Beautycounter and Primally Pure. And if you're looking for safe product options I've written many reviews on this topic before including The Best Non Toxic Deodorants, Non Toxic Hair Care Products, and Non Toxic Dental Products.
Get Out Of Toxic Relationships
Unhealthy relationships, whether they are with family, friends, coworkers, or significant others can be harmful to both your mental and physical health. And while it might not be possible to distance yourself from every unhealthy relationship, getting out of as many toxic relationships as you can is extremely important for your health and wellbeing.
Switch to Non Toxic Cleaning Products
Sadly, many cleaning products on the market contain ingredients and chemicals that are harmful to our health. Some of the ingredients in conventional cleaning products are linked to various health problems including cancer, respiratory problems, hormone imbalances and more. That's why it's so important to choose cleaning products that are made with non-toxic and safe ingredients. If you're looking for more information on this topic I've done a full review of my favourite non-toxic cleaners here.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants and most of us aren't eating enough. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is a great way to improve your health, help with weight loss (if you need it), help improve blood pressure, help decrease your risk of heart disease, improve your skin and gut health and more.
Move Your Body
Exercise and physical activity is so important for optimal health and most people aren't getting nearly enough exercise. Regular exercise is important for heart health, weight maintenance, blood pressure regulation, decreasing stress and more. The good news is that it doesn't take a lot of exercise or intense exercise to improve your health. Even 30 minutes of movement a day is enough to help improve your health.
Even if you don't have time to dedicate specifically to exercise there are many other ways to get more movement into your routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, take a 10 minute walk on your lunch break, take a family walk after dinner etc. Try to make it a priority to move your body as many times a week as you can.
Switch to Non Toxic Cookware and Bakeware
Sadly, many of the materials used to make cookware and bakeware can be quite harmful to our health, and many brands contain toxic chemicals that are not good for us. In particular, the PFAS chemicals used in non-stick coatings commonly used in cookware and bakeware are linked to many different health problems including cancer, thyroid disease, increased cholesterol, kidney disease, infertility, liver disease, and more.
It’s important to do your research before purchasing cookware and bakeware so that you can avoid toxic cookware brands and bakeware brands and choose the safest cookware possible. For more information on how to choose safe cookware and bakeware refer to this post.
Reduce Your Screen Time
I know this one is hard. Most of us rely on our computers for work and find joy in watching television and movies, but too much screen time can be really bad for our health. Too much screen time is linked to obesity, eye strain, neck pain or strain, decreased cognitive ability, impaired social skills, poor emotional judgement and more.
Screen time is especially dangerous for kids, leading to lower cognitive development, lower language and thinking abilities, and thinning of the brain’s cortex, the area of the brain related to critical thinking and reasoning.
Some simple tips for reducing your screen time include swapping tv and movie time for board games, reading books, going for walks or exercising, doing crosswords or other puzzles, making crafts and more.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. Here are just a few things you can do to help improve your mental health:
- Journal - writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a good outlet for pent-up emotions and feelings.
- Practice mindfulness
- Meditate - practicing meditation can help reduce stress and is beneficial for emotional and physical health.
- Exercise - any form of activity can be helpful for your mental heath. Physical activity increases your endorphins and other natural neural chemicals that enhance your sense of well-being.
- Eat well - the food we eat impacts the neurotransmitters in our brain and our cognitive function, so eating well not only helps your physical health, but your mental health as well.
- See a therapist - if you are struggling to cope you may need the help of a therapist, psychologist or counsellor to help. Therapy also may be a good idea if you feel overwhelmed or trapped, if you worry excessively, or if you have trouble carrying out daily routines or meeting responsibilities at work, home or school.
- Listen to music or get creative - listening to or playing music is a good stress reliever because it provides a mental distraction, reduces muscle tension and decreases stress hormones. If music isn't your thing, choose another activity you enjoy such as gardening, drawing, sewing, sketching etc.
- Practice gratitude
Reduce Alcohol Intake
Sadly, coping with stress through alcohol has become more and more normalized. It's all over television, social media and in movies. But drinking too much alcohol is one of the worst things you can do for your health. Too much alcohol can cause numerous health problems including anxiety, depression, liver disease, certain cancers like colon cancer and breast cancer, dementia, increased infection risk and more. One of the best things you can do for your health is drink less alcohol.
The most recent guidelines on alcohol recommend drinking two or less alcoholic drinks per week to help reduce your risk of health problems related to alcohol intake.
Smoking cigarettes is one of the worst things you can do for your health. Smoking cigarettes can increase your risk of heart disease, strokes, rheumatoid arthritis, lung cancer, bladder cancer, dental disease, COPD, diabetes, and more.
If you do smoke and are interested in quitting there are many things that can help. If you're contemplating quitting, your doctor is a great resource to help you and will be able to go over the various options available to help you quit. Your wallet will thank you too!
Reducing stress is very important for optimal health. Increased stress is linked to numerous health issues including depression, anxiety, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, chronic pain and more. Now, reducing stress isn't always easy to do, but some tips for reducing stress include:
- Learn to say no and stand up for yourself - if there are certain people, events, obligations etc that are causing you stress that you don't have to be a part of, learn to say no and get out of those situations
- Exercise regularly
- Practice deep breathing
- Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself
- Take baths
- Laugh more
- Make time for activities or things that you enjoy
- Learn to delegate and realize that you can't do everything yourself
- Ask for help when you need it
Eat Real Food
Once of my best pieces of advice when it comes to improving your health is to focus on eating real food. No matter what kind of eating style you are following, whether it's vegan, Mediterranean, paleo, keto, vegetarian, Whole30, gluten free etc, it's important that the foods you are choosing are unprocessed and as natural as possible.
A good rule of thumb, if you can't pronounce it, you probably shouldn't eat it. Real food doesn't require a dictionary for you to figure out what it is. Processed ingredients have become very common and many refined chemicals, artificial flavours, and refined sugars end up in a lot of the food items on shelves these days. Food companies have become very good at convincing us that these chemicals and refined ingredients are healthier than eating actual food. Don't fall for their marketing tactics. Choosing real food is always the healthiest option.
I hope you found this helpful! If you have any other tips to add please let me know.
Other information you will want to read:
- Natural alternatives to botox
- Is there mercury in your mascara?
- Is mineral or chemical sunscreen better?
- Are candles toxic?
- Sleep deprivation and its association with diseases- a review
- Cardiovascular, Inflammatory, and Metabolic Consequences of Sleep Deprivation
- Frequency of eating home cooked meals and potential benefits for diet and health: cross-sectional analysis of a population-based cohort study
- Bisphenol A release from food and beverage containers – A review
- Water, Hydration and Health
- Chemical Exposures: The Ugly Side of Beauty Products
- Hazardous substances in frequently used professional cleaning products
- Volatile organic compounds emitted by conventional and “green” cleaning products in the U.S. market
- Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
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- Design, methods, and population for a study of PFOA health effects among highly exposed mid-Ohio valley community residents and workers.
- Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) Exposures and Incident Cancers among Adults Living Near a Chemical Plant
- Inverse association of colorectal cancer prevalence to serum levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) in a large Appalachian population
- The Navigation Guide – evidence-based medicine meets environmental health: integration of animal and human evidence for PFOA effects on fetal growth.
- Exposure to Polyfluoroalkyl Chemicals and Cholesterol, Body Weight, and Insulin Resistance in the General U.S. Population
- Association between Serum Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Thyroid Disease in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
- Exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances and thyroid function in pregnant women and children: A systematic review of epidemiologic studies.
- Polyfluoroalkyl chemicals in the U.S. population: data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2004 and comparisons with NHANES 1999-2000
- Exposure to polyfluoroalkyl chemicals and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in U.S. children 12-15 years of age
- Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substance Toxicity and Human Health Review: Current State of Knowledge and Strategies for Informing Future Research
- Effects of Excessive Screen Time on Child Development: An Updated Review and Strategies for Management
- Screen Time, Other Sedentary Behaviours, and Obesity Risk in Adults: A Review of Reviews
- The Ubiquity of the Screen: An Overview of the Risks and Benefits of Screen Time in Our Modern World
- Meditation: Process and effects
- Music, mental health, and immunity
- Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health: Final Report
- Alcohol consumption as a cause of cancer
- Alcohol and Health Outcomes: An Umbrella Review of Meta-Analyses Base on Prospective Cohort Studies
- Harmful health effects of cigarette smoking
- The impact of stress on body function: A review