In Africa, there are a lot of misinformation when it comes to healthy living. Research is showing that the key to lifelong good health is making simple changes in diet, exercise, and stress management. To help you turn that knowledge into results, we’ve put together this manageable list of health and wellness suggestions.
Here are 5 easy steps to live a healthier life:
Avoid Processed Junk Food
All the processed junk foods in the diet are the biggest reason the world is fatter and sicker than ever before. These foods have been engineered to be “hyper-rewarding,” so they trick our brains into eating more than we need, even leading to addiction in some people.
They are also low in fibre, protein and micronutrients (empty calories), but high in unhealthy ingredients like added sugar and refined grains.
Get Enough Sleep
The importance of getting enough quality sleep cannot be overstated.
It may be just as important as diet and exercise, if not more. Poor sleep can drive insulin resistance, throw your appetite hormones out of whack and reduce your physical and mental performance. What’s more, it is one of the strongest individual risk factors for future weight gain and obesity. One study showed that short sleep was linked to 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults.
Drink Some Water
Drinking enough water can have numerous benefits. One important factor, is that it can help boost the amount of calories you burn. According to 2 studies, it can boost metabolism by 24-30% over a period of 1-1.5 hours. This can amount to 96 additional calories burned if you drink 2 litres (67 Oz) of water per day. The best time to drink water is half an hour before meals. One study showed that half a litre of water, 30 minutes before each meal, increased weight loss by 44%.
Avoid Bright Lights before Sleep
When we’re exposed to bright lights in the evening, this disrupts production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Avoiding bright lights before sleep allows melatonin to be produced as if it were completely dark, helping you sleep better.
Back in the day, most people got their vitamin D from the sun. The problem is that most people don’t get much sun these days. They stay inside most of the day or use sunscreen when they go out.
If adequate sun exposure is not an option for you, then supplementing with vitamin D has been shown to have numerous benefits for health. This includes improved bone health, increased strength, reduced symptoms of depression and a lower risk of cancer, to name a few. Vitamin D may also help you live longer. Multivitamins can help you get a balanced diet.
Eat Vegetables and Fruits
Vegetables and fruits are the “default” health foods, and for good reason.
They are loaded with prebiotic fibre, vitamins, minerals and all sorts of antioxidants, some of which have potent biological effects. Studies show that people who eat the most vegetables and fruits live longer, and have a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and all sorts of diseases.