Improve your Life with Healthy Lifestyle Choices
The other day, while savouring chitchat with my brother, he brought about a health issue he has been battling lately. Immediately, malaria came to my mind before he could go further. But Alas! It was not malaria. In the tropics, malaria is a top killer though it is one of the most researched and treatable conditions. Its complications can be fatal though. I wasn’t concerned since he is informed and can self-diagnose. These thoughts were so rapid that I immediately switched to discussing his condition.
Our chat changed suddenly from catching up with family affairs to almost a doctor-patient consultation.
I am known to be a stickler to health practices and read widely on health issues. In fact, I am a subscriber to many online health articles and journals.
He revealed he has been suffering from painful joints, especially in fingers and knees. Local diagnoses are trial-and-error. Cases of misdiagnosis are many. This means you could purchase expensive medications for wrong ailments. For whatever reason or excuse that may be given, the result is all the same: patients’ cases deteriorate and some suffer to death.
Doctors may not be entirely to blame. We have all get news and admonitions in why we need to choose healthy lifestyles. I have to be plain clear here. Very few conditions develop in instantly. They build up from years of poor choices and neglect. Like your car that may seem to run normally without changing oil, it will finally fail. And that is what happens with our bodies.
Back to the case of my brother. I realised his condition was self-inflicted and he might have inflicted his pains out of ignorance and laziness. He hardly took enough water and preferred salty foods, especially meat and avocado fruits. He was not used to seeing clear urine. He was surprised by my assertion that urine should always, as much as possible be clear. Urine colour is a common tell-tale health indicators of an individual. Continued dehydration can cause many problems in future.
My personal advice to many people faced with fairly complex conditions is to seek opinions from at least three specialists. Reputable specialists. If their diagnoses converge, you probably should go ahead and consider their diagnosis accurate. By no means should stop here if you believe you should seek an alternative opinion meanwhile taking medications.
A renowned CEO of a blue-chip company narrated how his doctor told him he had a vitamin D deficiency. His shins were oddly painful. It took a battery of tests locally and abroad before it was discovered he had rare blood cancer. He bit it but died several months later, true to predictions of his doctors.
That was to tell you why proper diagnosis is critical. That is the same piece of advice I gave to him. And you too need to take the same advice.
There are basic practices that you need to observe habitually. Simple healthy habits can save you a tonne of stress. I will discuss how to manage specific strategies to manage specific conditions late in other posts. Until then, just follow these guidelines that I personally use and are recommended anywhere.
- Take enough water. Hydrate. Enough means at least 2 litres of water daily. I personally take at least 2 cups of warm water every morning immediately after my morning prayer and onto my first activity of the day. Did I say prayer? Yes, it does help to energise and kickstart your day.
- Consider eating nutrient-rich foods as opposed to calorie-dense foods. You don’t need empty nutrients while stuffing your body with calories that will end up as fats. No need for a wider waist. Your arteries also need to be lean and healthy.
- I fast at least a day in a week. I have trained myself to live on only water or juice a day in a week. You may not be a religious person but you need to know why fasting has been advocated as an important practice to kill harmful body pathogens. Some even purport that this can extend your life. This is optional and there is enough debate around it that I may not want to go to right now.
- Get moving. Avoid sedentary lifestyle. This will quicken your brain, your muscles will be activated and you will likely be more energetic. If your lifestyle doesn’t involve a lot of movement, you will need to create time to work out, even if it is jogging on a stationary spot or skipping a rope.
- Calm your mind.Meditate or pray if you can. Whatever you do, get time to relax to still your thoughts. You can call it personal time or meditation hour. Life is hectic but not at the expense of your life. I suggest you carry a pen and a notebook. This can be your diary. You will easily ward off sources of anxiety that can lead to panic attacks. Slow down and meditate on issues that matter in our life.
- Get enough sleep. How long you should sleep depends on our diurnal cycle; some need longer time in bed compared to others. I would say anything between 6 and 8 hours would be sufficient, although I have heard of people that do well on 3-4 hours of sleep. Whether this is factual or now, it is a debate for another day. If you can, set up a specific time to go to bed and to wake up and be consistent. Just have an organised and disciplined life. There is no need for coffee for at evenings or at night before bed if you plan sleep early. I know some people will watch the latest Netflix movies or series at night. You do this and lose significant productivity in the following day.
- Mind the size in your plate. No need to eat a lot when you can take small portions several times a day. It is in fact preferred to take different nutrients or foods as opposed to chunks of a single type of food. You may need to shop for several foods, cook and store to succeed in this lifestyle.
- Go easy on sugar and salt. These make our foods palatable and their absence may often decide whether a product sales or how long stays it stays on shelves. Processed foods are supposed to indicate how much each ingredient are contained per 100g of food. This is for you to decide whether this food will be good for you or not in the long term.
What is your favourite healthy lifestyle? Do you have an alternative view from these? Please share it with us.