ing healthy does not mean mere absence of diseases, but it is the state where your body and mind are in an equilibrium with each other as well as with the environment in which we live. People experiencing a pandemic or lifestyle diseases should understand that it is not the medications alone that will protect them but it is maintaining their general health, wellbeing and innate immunity that will guard them from these ailments. The following changes in habits will help in improving your health, well-being and immunity.
1. The right diet
You are what you eat. Healthy diet comprises carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. It should have the right combination and proportions as well. Carbohydrates should be at 40-50%, proteins should be at 20-30% and fats should be at around 10%, along with all essential vitamins and micronutrients of the total food consumed every day. The food should be at the right proportion, portion as well as at the right time. In our busy schedule, many miss their food totally and binge eat everything together in one go, this is not at all healthy, it is rather dangerous. To overeat food thrice a day is also not a healthy practice. Eat to satisfy hunger twice a day, preferably in the morning and noon as you will be physically active; while at night reduce your meal portion to half your usual diet. Post middle-age, it is better if one can restrict food to two meals a day ensuring that adequate calories and nutrients are consumed. Avoid highly processed food like biscuits, bakery items which are rich in refined flour (maida) and sugars which have little nutritive value and more of calories.
2. Adequate physical activity
Physical activity or exercise should be easy, appropriate to your age and health, and can be easily incorporated into your life as a daily routine. An average adult should ideally be walking briskly for at least 30-40 minutes a day, five days a week to stay healthy and fit. Avoid exercises which are beyond your fitness levels or age, especially abrupt and irregular regimes. This can land you with injury or even a fatal cardiac arrest. Too much is not good. Start slowly, build your endurance and sustain. That is the ideal way to exercise.
3. Sound mental health
To be healthy one must not just be physically fit, but mentally healthy as well. Find at least one hour a day to mentally unwind after your busy schedule. One can use this time to meditate, pray, or indulge in any activity of interest that relaxes the mind. As social animals, we should continue to develop relationships and bonds with people who can understand us, our worries and our anxieties and calm us when we really need it. In this modern age, it is not a taboo to ask for professional help when you or your family member is faced with mental health issues and disorders. An intervention at the right time can avoid irreversible damage.
4. Refrain from habits that affect your health
Smoking, drinking and substance abuse are habits that can damage our health and can lead to serious ailments or disorders. People with addictions who find it hard to leave these habits, should take medical rehabilitation assistance to overcome them. It is only when we respect our body that we stay healthy.
5. Protect your environment
It is important that the environment in which you live should be clean and protected if you want to be healthy, both physically and mentally. A void spitting, urinating and defecating in public. Don't litter your surroundings. Ensure your waste is properly segregated and disposed of. Poor environmental hygiene can accentuate disease & infection, affecting the entire community with numerous people within it.
6. Maintain good social relations
Maintaining a good social relationship not only keeps you happy, but also protects you from relying on addiction-inducing habits or mental illnesses like depression. It facilitates confidence, well-being and optimism.
These simple rules of health in life, are the key ingredients of a bonded family, a healthier society, a stronger nation and a happier world.
Dr. Jithesh K is Senior Consultant -Internal Medicine at Meitra Hospital, Kozhikode)