Get your full eight hours. Just as a healthy diet and regular exercise are necessary and important for good health, so is sleep. Cutting back on snooze-time can lead to an out-of-control appetite (some studies show that people who sleep less are more likely to be overweight), a greater risk for coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Rise and shine — and eat. Breakfast gets your body’s metabolism going again after a night of sleeping, and gives you the gradual and adequate energy you need to get through the morning.
Wash your hands. From banishing cold and flu germs to preventing food borne illnesses, frequent hand-washing is one of the smartest preventive habits you can adopt. A thorough hand-washing should take about 20 seconds.
Know your family health history. Your family’s medical history can give you important information about your own health. Many diseases, such as heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes, and depression, can have a genetic component. The more you know about the health of your relatives, the better informed you’ll be about your own risk factors and how to manage them.
Eat mindfully. One of the significant differences between people who successfully manage their weight and people who constantly struggle is mindful eating. Turn off the TV or computer, sit down at a table with your food on a plate, and focus on eating. Put your fork down between bites, and take time to really enjoy your meal. Chances are you will eat less and feel more satisfied.
Add variety to your diet. Wild salmon and sardines are just a couple of the fish that provide heart-healthy fats such as omega-3, which lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and help preserve your cognitive function. Aim for two servings a week; more than that may add too much mercury to your system. On occasion, indulge in a bite of dark chocolate that contains at least 75% cocoa-both contain antioxidants that can benefit your heart. Try to eat 5-7 servings a day of fruits and vegetables, and minimize your intake of carbohydrates.
Volunteer. In addition to helping others, volunteers themselves often benefit from “giving back” to the communities in which they live and work, and enjoy a rewarding sense of doing something good for someone else.
Maintain strong family and social networks. Research has shown that people who have family and friends they can turn to for support and companionship may be healthier and less likely to experience depression than those who spend most of their time alone.
Take a time out. At least once a day, close your eyes and focus on taking 10 deep, full breaths. Inhale through your nose, feel your diaphragm expand, and exhale through your mouth. Deep, focused breathing slows your heart rate, calms the body and, as a result, calms your mind and reduces stress. Mix in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week as well… You needn’t do it all at once; two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minutes blocks work equally well.
Drink more water to prevent constipation, dehydration and other related diseases. Whether you drink bottled, filtered or tap, water helps keep your cells hydrated, flushes out toxins, and prevents dehydration. Tea, juices and sports drinks count, too, but watch out for added sugar, artificial flavorings and caffeine, all of which can detract from the benefits.