Healthy is a way of living that includes eating right, getting enough sleep, staying physically active, managing stress, connecting socially and spiritually, and keeping mind and body fit. Many factors contribute to one’s health, including genes, lifestyle choices (like smoking, recreational drug use, and diet), and environmental influences (like air quality, water pollution, and unsafe housing).
Everyone has a different idea of what a healthy life looks like. Some people believe that luck or family history make them healthy, while others think a combination of factors—like genetics and lifestyle—have the greatest impact on their health. Some of the most common ways that Canadians work toward a healthy lifestyle include:
Eat well. A healthy eating pattern should include whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and nuts, and lean protein from fish, poultry, eggs and milk. It should limit added sugars and saturated and trans fats, as well as sodium.
A healthy eating pattern also provides plenty of fluids, especially water. People who consume too few fluids are at higher risk for dehydration, which can cause dizziness, headache, and fatigue. Drinking a variety of fluids can help prevent kidney stones and constipation.
Hydrate smartly with low-sodium fluids, such as tea, coffee, green tea, decaffeinated coffee, and water. Avoid high-sodium beverages, such as soda and sports drinks.
Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation. Alcohol can have a negative effect on many aspects of health, and drinking too much increases the risk for certain diseases.
A healthy lifestyle also includes limiting screen time and making sure children get adequate amounts of sleep. Regular physical activity is important for everyone, but it’s especially beneficial for kids and teens.
Connect with friends and family. Social relationships are vital for mental and emotional well-being. Laughing and smiling can lower stress levels, and spending time with loved ones is good for the soul. Find activities that your family enjoys and make them a part of your routine.
Be a good role model for your children. Eat and cook together, and encourage your kids to be active with you. This can help them develop healthy habits early in life.
Make health a priority. Set realistic goals and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your doctor if you need advice or support with changing your lifestyle.
When it comes to healthy eating, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. Everyone has an opinion, from healthcare professionals to wellness influencers, and nutrition articles can be contradictory and confusing. But a healthy eating plan doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. It’s about prioritizing your health by fueling your body with nutrient-rich foods. You can do this while still enjoying your favourite foods and beverages. The key is to make it a sustainable, long-term lifestyle. Start small when making changes and build on your successes to keep the momentum going. It will be worth it! For more information on how to be healthier, check out Damar’s Shop Smart, Eat Smart digital recipe booklet.