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Healthy lifestyle for all

TrafficSwarm member since August 2011

I shall share my ideas and thoughts on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle. It is the basis of remaing well and healthy.

Basic concept of disease: it is the result of interaction between gene and environment.

By adopting a healthy lifestyle, you create the foundation for healthy body and a healthy mind. This creates a favourable environemt for you. Even if you have the abnormal gene, the disease may be avoided, delayed or at least the impact will be less severe than would otherwise have been.

You need a healthy body and a healthy mind to survive and enjoy life in this modern stressful world.

As I mentioned earlier that illnesses are the results of interaction between genes and environment. We cannot alter our genes. We are born with it and we shall have to live with it. We can alter our environment if we wish to. I shall tell you about it.

By adopting healthy lifestyle we create a favourable environment. For example, someone has a family history of diabetes. If he adopts a healthy lifestyle he may be able to prevent or delay the emergence of diabetes.

It is not easy to adopt a healthy lifestyle, but practice will make it perfect. If you cannot follow it completely, try to adopt some of it. Benefit is expected to be proportional.

Everything in moderation is acceptable except smoking. It is so damaging to health that if I had the power, I would have banned smoking altogther!

Effects of smoking : It damages lungs and blood vessels. Blood vessels are everywhere in our body, so all the organs are affected. These blood vessels take nutrition and oxygen to the tissues and bring back carbon dioxide and waste products. Blood's oxygen carrying capacity is reduced due to the presence of carbon monoxide in it. Blood vessels narrow down due to furring of the lining of arteries(atherosclerosis) and muscle spasm of the lining of the vessels.  Lungs are damaged directly by tar. Net effect of all these are difficulty in breathing, chest pains(angina, heart attack), pain in the legs(claudication), stroke, lung cancer etc, the list is endless. Best not to start smoking at all. If started, stop it. See your doctors' surgery for help with quitting cigarette. Giving up smoking reverses the damage to some extent. Cutting down smoking is not good enough. A man smoking 40 cigarettes per day is like jumping from 40 storey building. If he cuts it down to 20 per day, it is like jumping from 20 storey building. Outcome remains almost same.

Alcohol in moderation is ok. However, if possible, try to avoid it because, social drinkers and health drinkers can sleepwalk into becoming an alcohol addict which can be devastating for his health and social life.

Healthy lifestyle involves the following:

1. Diet: High fibre, low fat, low salt, low sugar diet.

2. Exercise

3. Adequate sleep


Dietary fibre : Part of the plant food which cannot be digested.

Benefits of high fibre diet : It increases the bulk of the food, so that stomach fills up with less amount of absobable food thereby helping to cut down the calorie intake. It slows down digestion and absorption of absorbable food. There will be slow rise in blood sugar, particularly good for diabetics.

It increases the bulk of stool and regularises the bowel habit. This will prevent diverticulosis, colon cancer etc.

It interferes with absorption of fat, so less rise in cholesterol.

Examples of high fibre diet are : wholemeal bread, Chapati made from wholemeal flour,lentils, peas, dahl, wholemeal pasta, oats, fruits taken with skin, potatoes with skin, Fruit and fibre breakfast cereal

Those who like to finish with some kind of sweet dish, they can prepare a rather healthy sweet dish with some fruit and fibre, some semi-skimmed milk and a little honey. It is a better option than taking ice cream or cake. Chewing some fruit and fibre directly from the pack can also be satisfying.

Low fat diet : avoid butter, whole milk. Use low fat spread like Flora margarine. Take semi-skimmed milk. Use little oil in cooking, like sunflower oil, rapeseed oil.

Exercise : Exercise is good for health. It helps blood reach all the parts of the body. Unless you are trying to lose weght, vigorous exercise is not necessary. Join a gym if you can afford. Otherwise play games in the back garden, take up gardening, jogging etc.

Sleep: good sleep ensures rest to the whole system and you wake up fresh in the morning ready to take on the world. Amount of sleep needed decreases with advancing years. Usually 6 to 8 hours' sleep is needed. Elderly can manage with about 4-6 hrs of sleep.

Bowel habit: Don't be obssessed with bowel action. Normal ranges from opening bowels once a day to once a week! As long as you don't feel unwell, frequency of bowel action does not matter.

Water intake: 1 to 1.5 litres per day (about 8 cups of water) should be enough. If you are sweating a lot, exercising and if you are thirsty, drink more. Tap water is the best. If you don't like it then go for low calorie drinks like Diet-coke, Diet-pepsi. Do not try to 'flush out' your system by drinking too much water (rarely can lead to water intoxication manifested by feeling unwell, headache, nausea, vomiting etc).

Foods to choose : should at least include wholemeal bread, Fruit and fibre, semi-skimmed milk, Fruit and vegetable, Low fat spread like Flora margarine, sunflower oil, chicken or fish.

Sleep : You need 6 to 8 hours of sleep per day. Do not take any day time nap. Avoid late nights. Go to bed around 10'o clock. Do not read any interesting novels or watch telly after going to bed. Watch telly beforehand sat down. Go to bed physically tired, and you will fall asleep soon and wake up in the morning recharged and fresh, ready to take on the world. As we age, amount of sleep needed decreases.

Don't lose your sense of humour.

Smile, it does not cost anything and makes the world a better place for all around us.

Good health!

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