Overcomplicated prescriptions discourage individuals from taking action to improve their lives. Through the years, I have read a large number of health books that offered unworkable advice. The theories that they espoused were confusing and often contradictory. Their recommendations proved, on many occasions, too impractical or expensive to implement.
a result, from each of those books, all that I retained were a couple
of conclusions. The effort of reading hundreds of pages was not wasted,
since I have implemented many of those ideas with good success. The
following twelve habits have served me particularly well. I like to
think that I owe them, at least in part, the good health that I enjoy.
Choose whole-grain products: The reason for this is that whole grains
contain beneficial minerals, vitamins, and fibre that are not present in
Indisputably, white-flour products, such as
pastries, look more inviting to the eye than those made of whole-grains,
but the latter are much better for your health. Explore the shelves of
your local supermarket and, in the next weeks, try different whole-grain
products to see which ones you like best.
 Drink green tea:
From all herbal infusions, green tea contains one of the highest
percentages of polyphenol, a natural substance that helps combat
bacteria and viruses. Apparently, green tea also has a beneficial effect
on the cardiovascular system because it helps decrease low-density
 Minimize your sugar consumption: eating sugar,
which is highly pleasurable, increases glucose levels in your blood.
That phenomenon leads your pancreas to produce additional insulin and
your liver to produce triglycerides, which cause your cells to age
prematurely. Obesity, which has taken epidemic proportions in some
countries, is often linked to excessive sugar consumption.
Consume salt sparingly: Too much sodium in your diet has an adverse
effect on your body because it tends to raise blood pressure. In
addition, excessive salt consumption disrupts the sodium-potassium
balance in your cells, leads them to multifunction, and accelerates
 Choose high-quality proteins and fat: fish, in
particular oily fish such as salmon, contains first-class protein and
fat for the human body. The benefits of abandoning red meat and,
instead, consuming fish regularly can result, within weeks, in a better
 Eat some nuts every day: they contain
poly-unsaturated fats and selenium, which are both excellent for human
health. Selenium, in combination with vitamin E, has been proven to
strengthen our immune system. It helps combat viral infections and keeps
our heart, liver, and pancreas healthy.
 Maintain a stable, appropriate
weight: this is extremely easy if you are a disciplined person and
almost impossible otherwise. The best way to attain this goal is to have
a scale at home and check your weight regularly. As soon as you see it
deviate from your target, simply adapt your diet during the following
week until your weight returns to the desired level.
limits to stress: define in advance how much you are able to do. When
your hours are full, you know that you cannot take any additional burden
without first removing some item from your previous to-do list. Write
things down and do not let problems linger in your head. As soon as you
decide to drop an activity, cross it out from your list.
Consume tomatoes regularly: they are available at affordable prices in
most areas and they are excellent for human health. Tomatoes, which are
an essential component of the Mediterranean diet, contain a natural
substance called lycopene that helps protect our cells. Studies have
shown tomatoes to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
fibre every day: vegetables and legumes contain fibre, an element that
cleans our digestive system and helps stabilize glucose levels in our
blood. Fibre also plays a role in preventing diabetes, appendicitis, and
colon cancer. Whole grains are an excellent source of fibre.
Walk at least half an hour a day: you don't need to kill yourself with
exercise in order to enjoy its benefits. If you are too busy during the
day, try to find time in the evening to take a brisk walk.
type of exercise does not require sophisticated equipment and can be
practised in most places, even if your work requires you to travel
 Eat garlic: amongst its many benefits, garlic
enhances our immune system and helps lower blood pressure. The effects
of garlic to combat sickness were already known in antiquity. Modern
studies have confirmed its powers to fight viruses and bacteria, as well
as its ability to lower blood sugar levels.
Discard the idea
that you are going to change your lifestyle overnight. Despite
extraordinary success stories shown on television, almost nobody is able
to do that. The key to improving your health is to acquire better
habits. Fundamental transformation takes substantial effort.
time to time, your progress will relapse and you will fall back on
previous patterns. View those as opportunities to renew your commitment
to change. Acquiring better health habits is a strenuous undertaking that pays
off handsomely over time.
One day, after you have rebuilt your
life around a wholesome diet and regular exercise, your new routines
will have become so ingrained that you won't consider living otherwise.
Your increased vitality will be there for all to see and for you to
enjoy, hopefully for many decades to come.
For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book about how to be rational "The 10 Principles of Rational Living"
[Image by Koshyk under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]