More and more Americans are catching on to the importance of a healthy lifestyle. According to Business Wire, 57% of U.S. adults described health and wellness as one of their top priorities in 2020 compared to just 51% in 2019. No matter what your reasons are for adopting a healthier lifestyle, now is the time to do it. Remember taking small steps can be the driving force of big change. For a new, healthier you, follow these simple tips for creating a healthy lifestyle this summer.
Don’t Use Pesticides
As the weather warms up, it is only natural to spend more time outside. To fit time spent outdoors into your new, healthy lifestyle, limit the use of pesticides in and around your home. Remember, using pesticides packs very real risks, including:
- Exposure to or the consumption of carcinogens. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes pesticides as intrinsically toxic. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and other top organizations agree that pesticides cause cancer and may lead to other chronic health conditions, like asthma and Parkinson’s Disease. Individuals may be exposed to pesticides in the air after topical application or consume pesticides on the skin or peels of fruits and vegetables. It is even possible for pesticides to end up in drinking water after rinsing fresh produce treated with caustic chemicals.
- Skin or eye irritation. Pesticide use is a hotly debated topic, and the United States is markedly more lenient about pesticide use than other countries. Glyphosate, atrazine, and paraquat are widely used in the U.S. even though they are currently banned in Europe — and have been for some time. These pesticides and others can cause red, itchy eyes and skin.
- Hormonal changes and lasting effects on your endocrine system. Pesticides may permanently impact your hormones and endocrine system. Regular exposure to pesticides is linked with hormonal imbalances, thyroid problems, reduced fertility, and birth defects.
Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives to traditional pesticides. If you hire a professional tree and shrub spraying service, ask them about their green, non-toxic options. If you prefer to tackle pest control on your own, you can treat plants, trees, and bushes with several natural insecticides, like Neem oil, soapy water, chili pepper spray, and certain essential oils, including citrus oil, eucalyptus oil, and peppermint oil.
A list of tips for creating a healthy lifestyle would be remiss without a discussion about getting fresh air in your backyard — and how to do it as safely as possible.
Eat More Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are rich in essential vitamins and minerals. They are a critical part of a balanced and nutritious diet. Unfortunately, the average American does not eat enough fresh produce — not even close. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 10% of adults eat the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables. It is never too late to rectify that and, in fact, it is one of the best and most actionable tips for creating a healthy lifestyle. To incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet:
- Limit takeout and order the right kind of takeout for the occasional treat. Unfortunately, too many adults opt for the most convenient option. More often than not, that means ordering takeout. What’s more, it is most common to order entrees with starchy sides, like potatoes and fries — not healthier alternatives, like vegetables or a side salad. If you do order in, choose healthier takeout options. For example, you will find plenty of vegetables and lean proteins in authentic Mexican food and authentic Greek food. Choose colorful dishes with a variety of vegetables and healthy protein, like beans, tofu, chicken, or fish.
- Keep track. It may sound simple (and it is!), but keeping track of your daily servings of fruits and vegetables can make a tremendous difference. Having a log holds us accountable and reminds us to get in that extra serving… or three.
- Display fruit in plain sight. Out of sight out of mind applies to your produce, too. To encourage snacking on fruit, keep a fruit bowl out on the counter. Wash any fruits you put in the bowl so they are ready to eat. At the beginning of each week, cut up some fruits and vegetables, pack them in snack-sized containers, and put them on the middle shelf of the refrigerator, easily within reach.
- Remember frozen produce is a perfectly valid option. Frozen fruits and vegetables are flash-frozen. They are just as nutritious — and just as packed with vitamins and minerals — as fresh produce. Plus, frozen food items will last considerably longer. Use frozen fruits to make smoothies, or let it thaw and put it on top of oatmeal or yogurt. Frozen vegetables make the perfect side to just about any meal.
Some of the tips for creating a healthy lifestyle are the most obvious ones. If your diet is lacking in fruits and vegetables, take the time to remedy that.
Grow Your Own Food
For more tips for creating a healthy lifestyle, consider growing your own food. Growing your own food has its perks. Those perks include knowing exactly what you put on your fruits and vegetables, having fruits and vegetables more readily at your disposal, and doing your part for the environment. To keep you and your family as healthy and safe as possible, grow fruits and vegetables using natural alternatives to pesticides. Having a vegetable garden in your backyard is the ultimate farm-to-table or garden-to-table experience. Fruits and veggies are at your disposal whenever you need them. Plus, growing your own food cuts down on extra packaging and transport that is harmful to the environment.
Starting a garden is simple. Stick to staples that grow well in all types of weather, and contact a local landscaping company if you need to level off part of your yard to make room.
Limit Your Processed Sugar Intake
Simply put, processed sugar isn’t good for you. Processed sugar is linked to heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, dementia, depression, and even some types of cancer. Plus, while we all see the dentist for cavity treatments from time to time, refined sugar increases your risks of tooth decay. Eat too much, and you will be visiting your dentist far more often than the average person.
Limit sugary beverages like soda and juice, and cut back on your consumption of baked goods, sweets, prepackaged breakfast foods, and ready-made meals. Other ways to keep your intake in check include shopping for whole foods, eating rolled oats for breakfast instead of sugary boxed cereal, and replacing soda and juice with unsweetened tea, seltzer water, or ice water.
Create A Kitchen Designed For Health
Looking for other tips for creating a healthy lifestyle? Some of the most effective tips may surprise you. For example, did you know that a kitchen designed specifically with wellness and health in mind will help keep you on track?
If you plan to tackle a kitchen remodeling project in the near future, do it with your new, healthy lifestyle in mind. Opt for neutral or calming paint colors, like white, cream, beige, and pale blue, over warm colors, like yellow, orange, and red. Warm colors can stimulate appetite, subconsciously encouraging you to eat more. Keep TVs out of the kitchen — studies show watching cooking shows can ramp up your food intake as well — and make sure there is adequate storage to keep the occasional treat, like sweets and alcohol, out of sight.
Increase Your Water Intake
Drink more water. It is one of the most popular tips for creating a healthy lifestyle and with good reason. Drinking plenty of water will benefit you in a number of different ways. By simply increasing your water intake, you will:
- Satisfy your appetite and control your weight. Drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses per day to put an end to excessive hunger cues.
- Sleep better. Studies show that dehydration negatively affects your sleep. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and drink most of your water during the morning and afternoon hours to avoid trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
- Improve the look and feel of your skin. When you are well hydrated, your skin looks younger. Your skin will look and appear firmer when you up your water intake.
- Aid digestion, regulate body temperature, and stabilize your blood pressure and heartbeat. It may sound like it’s too good to be true, but it’s not. Drinking plenty of water can have a tremendous effect on your overall health. Drinking water aids digestion while promoting a healthy heart.
If your tap water is not suitable for drinking, invest in a water filter or look into bulk water delivery. Don’t skip one of the most effective tips for creating a healthy lifestyle. Chances are, no matter who you are and how healthy you currently are, you can benefit from drinking more water.
Visit Your Doctor Regularly
Tips for creating a healthy lifestyle aren’t always about food, water, and what you do — or don’t — put in your body. They’re about preventative healthcare, too. Become healthier and increase your chances of living a long life by regularly visiting your doctor.
Establish a relationship with a trusted physician or a doctor specializing in internal medicine. Your doctor can help screen you for serious health problems and catch health conditions in their early stages. When you catch these conditions early, you may be able to take relatively small steps, like adjusting your diet or exercise routine, to get them in check. Identifying them early may help prevent more invasive treatment, like surgery.
Keep the Air Clean
Tailor tips for creating a healthy lifestyle for your particular needs. For example, if you or a loved one suffers from asthma or seasonal allergies, take extra steps to ensure that the air around you is free of allergens, pollutants, and contaminants. Do this by thoroughly and regularly cleaning carpets in your home, regularly replacing the filter in your air conditioner (AC), and by investing in a humidifier for dry homes.
If you have seasonal allergies or asthma, it is best to swap out your air filter at least once every 45 to 60 days. Perform routine humidifier maintenance to keep your humidifier in tip-top shape. Regular maintenance includes emptying the water out every day and always using fresh water each morning and periodically washing humidifiers with a diluted bleach solution at least once every three days to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
Shop Locally When Possible
Your new healthy lifestyle isn’t just about physical health. Feel better about yourself by doing your part for your local community and the environment. Start by making everyday purchases from unique locally owned shops. For example, if you want to breathe new life into your home and add more fresh air into a stuffy room, shop local plants for a house plant or several house plants that help you achieve that goal. Shopping locally supports small businesses, encourages your local community to thrive, and lowers your carbon footprint. Small businesses often use less packaging, have fewer emissions from transport, and may even handcraft items rather than ordering their mass production in large manufacturing plants.
The best tips for creating a healthy lifestyle focus on nutrition, your immediate environment, and preventative healthcare. Start with small steps. Start making adjustments now, and tackle a new goal per week. If you start small and add to your goals as you go, you will easily achieve a healthier lifestyle come this summer.