The beginning of a new decade brings with it new resolutions to improve one’s life, including adopting a healthier lifestyle. Here are 10 practical health tips to help you get started on the path to a healthier lifestyle in 2021.
1. Maintain a healthy diet
Consume a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. Adults should consume at least five portions of fruit and vegetables (400g) per day. You can increase your intake of fruits and vegetables by including them in all of your meals, snacking on fresh fruit and vegetables, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, and eating them in season. You can reduce your risk of malnutrition and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer by eating a healthy diet.
2. Reduce your intake of salt and sugar.
Filipinos consume twice the recommended sodium intake, putting them at risk of high blood pressure, which raises the risk of heart disease and stroke. The majority of people get their sodium from salt. Reduce your daily salt intake to 5g, or about one teaspoon. This is made easier by limiting the amount of salt, soy sauce, fish sauce, and other high-sodium condiments used when preparing meals; removing salt, seasonings, and condiments from your meal table; avoiding salty snacks; and choosing low-sodium products.
Excess sugar consumption, on the other hand, increases the risk of tooth decay and unhealthy weight gain. Free sugar intake should be kept to less than 10% of total energy intake in both adults and children. For an adult, this equates to 50g, or about 12 teaspoons. For additional health benefits, the WHO recommends consuming less than 5% of total energy intake. Limit your consumption of sugary snacks, candies, and sugar-sweetened beverages to reduce your sugar intake.
3. Limit your intake of unhealthy fats.
The amount of fat you consume should be less than 30% of your total energy intake. This will aid in the prevention of unhealthy weight gain and NCDs. There are various types of fats, but unsaturated fats are preferable to saturate and trans fats. WHO recommends limiting saturated fat intake to less than 10% of total energy intake, limiting trans fat intake to less than 1% of total energy intake, and replacing both saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats.
Unsaturated fats are found in fish, avocado, and nuts, as well as sunflower, soybean, canola, and olive oils; saturated fats are found in fatty meat, butter, palm and coconut oil, cream, cheese, ghee, and lard; and trans fats are found in baked and fried foods, as well as pre-packaged snacks and foods like frozen pizza, cookies, and biscuits.
4. Refrain from abusing alcohol.
There is no such thing as a safe level of alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption can cause mental and behavioral disorders, including alcohol dependence, as well as major NCDs such as liver cirrhosis, some cancers, and heart disease, as well as injuries from violence and road clashes and collisions.
5. You should not smoke.
Tobacco use contributes to NCDs such as lung disease, heart disease, and stroke. Tobacco kills not only direct smokers, but also nonsmokers through second-hand smoke. Currently, approximately 15.9 million Filipino adults smoke tobacco, but 7 out of 10 smokers are interested in or plan to quit.
It is not too late to stop smoking if you are currently a smoker. When you do, you will notice both immediate and long-term health benefits. That’s fantastic if you’re not a smoker! Do not start smoking in order to fight for the right to breathe tobacco-free air.
6. Be involved
Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement requiring energy expenditure produced by skeletal muscles. This includes exercise and activities done while working, playing, doing housework, traveling, and engaging in recreational activities. The amount of physical activity required varies by age group, but adults aged 18 to 64 years should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. Increase your moderate-intensity physical activity to 300 minutes per week for even more health benefits.
7. Check your blood pressure on a regular basis.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is referred to as a “silent killer.” This is due to the fact that many people with hypertension may be unaware of the problem because it does not have any symptoms. Hypertension, if not controlled, can lead to heart, brain, kidney, and other diseases. Has your blood pressure been checked by a health professional on a regular basis so that you are aware of your numbers? Consult a health professional if your blood pressure is too high. This is crucial in the prevention and management of hypertension.
8. Have your blood tested
Getting tested is an important step in learning about your health status, especially if you have HIV, hepatitis B, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or tuberculosis (TB). These diseases, if left untreated, can cause serious complications and even death. Knowing your status means you’ll be able to continue preventing these diseases or, if you’re positive, get the care and treatment you require. Go to a public or private health facility, whichever is most convenient for you, to have yourself tested.
9. Obtain a vaccination
Vaccination is one of the most effective methods of disease prevention. Vaccines work in tandem with your body’s natural defenses to protect you from diseases such as cervical cancer, cholera, diphtheria, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, pneumonia, polio, rabies, rubella, tetanus, typhoid, and yellow fever.
As part of the Department of Health’s routine immunization program, free vaccines are given to children aged one and under in the Philippines. If you are an adolescent or adult, you can ask your doctor if you should check your immunization status or get vaccinated.
10. Engage in safe sex
Taking care of your sexual health is critical to your overall health and well-being. To prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea and syphilis, engage in safe sex. There are HIV prevention measures available, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and condoms that protect against HIV and other STIs.