Everyone desires to be healthy. In the quest to obtain good health, many have come up with various diet pills, herbal mixtures, exercise regimens, and medicines to keep their bodies in shape.
We all want a perfect, healthy body. Some ladies want a curvy shape and flat tummy while most men desire a lean body build and the perfect abs. The honest truth is that many individuals do not want to put in the effort to achieve the good health they desire.
The answer is very simple: eat right and exercise regularly.
Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated; you just have to gradually shift to healthier foods, like protein rich meals and beverage choices. What you eat goes a long way in shaping your body, keeping you fit and helping you maintain your health.
Outlined below are some tips that will help anyone live a healthier life:
- Never skip breakfast:
Breakfast is the first meal of the day and the most important meal. Unfortunately, it is also the most skipped meal as people are always in a hurry that they forget to eat in the morning and most people have even made it a habit. Always ensure that you eat something in the morning no matter how light, as eating breakfast helps in weight loss. Good breakfast meals include whole grains with a side of protein e.g., bran, eggs, oats, cereals, etc. In Nigeria, some people eat bread alone, or with tea and that is it for breakfast. Mix it up a little. Eat akara and ogi (pap) for a change. Add a little soy milk to your tea, for a boost to your day.
- Eat proteins, fruits and vegetables:
Proteins, fruits and vegetables are important if you want to live healthy. Proteins are an essential macro nutrient that the body can not do without. The body needs protein to stay healthy and work the way it should. More than 10,000 protein types are found in the body; from the tissues and organs to the muscles and bones, skin, and our hair.
Protein is also a critical part of the processes that fuels the bodies energy and carries oxygen in the bloodstream. It also helps make antibodies that fight off infections and repairs worn out cells.
Fruits and vegetables help in providing vitamins and minerals that are needed in the body and also help in burning excess calories. Regular intake of fruits and vegetables have also been known to prevent diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heartburns.
It is usually a good idea to start small, when an individual plans to eat healthy meals. Health experts recommend eating different fruits, vegetables, legumes, and pulses.
A better approach is to make a few small changes at a time. Keeping your goals modest can help you achieve more in the long term without feeling deprived or overwhelmed by a major diet overhaul. Think of planning a healthy diet as a number of small, simple steps—like adding salad to your diet once a day. As your small changes become a habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices like soybeans, quinoa, etc.
- Adequate intake of water:
Water, they say is life. Without it, we cannot survive. Water helps to flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated which causes tiredness, low energy and headache.
Sometimes, thirst can be mistaken for hunger but ensure at all times that you are always well hydrated as it will also help you make healthier food choices. Make it a point of duty to drink at least 8 tall glasses of water a day.
- Avoid junk foods and snacks:
About 82 percent of people these days live on junk foods and this is the major cause of bloated stomach and excessive weight gains. In Nigeria, many individuals also live on junk food and highly processed carbonated drinks.
With an estimated population of over 240 million individuals, the country consumes a large number of carbonated drinks, which is not a healthy trend. An estimate by Statista reveals that the average volume of soft drinks consumed per person is 57.02 litres in 2021, which amounts to millions of soft drinks per state.
To live healthy, drink fewer carbonated drinks, drink more water, choose foods that are low in fat and have a small number of calories. Intake of heavy pastries should be reduced to a minimum, and healthy snacks, like groundnuts, cashew nuts, kuli kuli, should be consumed regularly.
- Regular Exercises:
If you find out that climbing a short flight of stairs is extremely difficult; then you need to exercise more often. Exercise is defined as any movement that makes the muscles work and requires the body to burn calories. There are many types of exercises, including swimming, running, playing football, jogging, walking, to name a few.
To stay healthy, we need to exercise regularly, as exercises improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure and help with weight loss. There are other benefits as well, including improved moods and stronger muscles.
- Eat a little at a time:
Eat a little at a time, and don’t be a glutton. Don’t always eat till your stomach is very full. Eating in small portions enables easier digestion and keeps you strong without feeling week and sluggish which a heavy meal would cause.
No one says you can not eat a heavy meal, but it should be done in moderation. Eat a balanced diet, and always ensure that fruits are part of your food plate.
So, eat right today for a healthy tomorrow.
Reginald Onabu, Researcher and Public Relations Officer, Writes from Lagos