Health is all about the choices we make, and while age, family history and genetic makeup do influence our health and innate predisposition to certain conditions, the majority of what determines our long-term well-being and longevity lies within our control. This includes eating right and being physically active, managing stress and mental health, keeping body and mind fit, reducing excessive use of drugs and alcohol, and establishing healthy social connections.
Often the most difficult part of healthy living is getting started. But starting small and making gradual, positive changes over time can help you build healthy habits that will last. Here are 10 easy, science-backed healthy choices that can improve your wellbeing today:
Eating well means enjoying a wide variety of nutritious foods and drinks every day, including fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy or fortified soy options. It also means watching your portion sizes and being mindful of the amount of kilojoules in what you eat.
The benefits of a healthy diet are numerous and include the prevention and treatment of disease, as well as the maintenance of a normal body weight and healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels. It can also contribute to a good mood, energy and vitality, and help you feel more confident and comfortable in your skin.
Eating healthy isn’t just about the food we eat, though. We can be just as unhealthy in our choices outside of the kitchen as we can be in it. This is why it’s so important to be aware of how much our lifestyles impact on our health. For example, a person who lives at sea level may be healthy but then moves to the mountains where the atmosphere is thinner and they develop breathlessness and anemia until their red blood cell count adapts to the new environment.
Throughout the years, we have seen many types of health innovations come and go, with some proving more effective than others. For example, medical type attributes such as “cholesterol free”, “low fat” and “trans-fat free” dominated the market for a while and reassured consumers that what they were eating was healthy.
Now, we are seeing a return to more plant-forward innovations that emphasise the natural goodness of wholefoods and what they can do for the human body. These foods are minimally processed and have a rich nutritional profile with a delicious taste, texture and mouthfeel. They’re also more affordable than high calorie junk foods, which is great news for people who want to be healthier but don’t have the resources to afford the expensive, low-nutrition products on the market.