When it comes right down to it, there’s no magic formula or miracle cure to staying healthy and cut disease. The things you need to do are things we all can do:
1. Don’t smoke – if you do, try to quit
2. Get active – at least 3.5 hours a week
3. Stay away from junk food and follow a diet rich in fruits and veggies, whole grain breads, with limited amount of lean meat.
4. Watch your weight – keep the BMI under 30
Not altogether surprising suggestions – public health officials have been saying these things for years. The startling news is the benefit some recent research has found to doing all four things at the same time. Living this way cuts your risk of developing some pretty serious chronic diseases by almost 80%. The result holds even after adjusting for things like age, sex, education and occupation status.
The recommendations come from a report in this month’s Archives of Internal Medicine that analyzed the lifestyle, diet and health of 23,513 German adults who were from 35 to 65 years old and part of the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition-Potsdam study. Begun in the mid 1990s and covering an eight year period, the work found that subjects with healthy habits were far less likely to be diagnosed with conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The team analyzed each person’s body weight, height, disease history, food frequency and how well they stuck with the four healthy lifestyle tips. Only 9% of the subjects followed all four recommendations, but most of the participants practiced from one to three of these good-for-you habits.
All in all, following all four healthy habits combined was linked to…
– 93% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
– 81% lower risk of heart attack
– 50% lower risk of stroke
– 36% lower risk of cancer
These findings reinforce the idea that making simple, everyday changes to a healthier lifestyle is worth the effort.
It’s clear that healthy habits can have a huge impact on your health over the long term. If you’re concerned about living well into your later years, this study points out things you can do today – stopping smoking, keeping your weight under control, being more active – to keep your body healthy. Healthier, disease free living starts with you. All you have to do is commit yourself to these four totally natural lifestyle choices to keep your body in shape. If you smoke, you probably know it’s time to stop. Luckily there’s help quitting from support groups, nicotine replacement therapy, hypnosis or with medication – talk with your doctor to see which option is right for you.
All it takes is a simple change, like cutting down on junk foods is a painless but practical first step. Before you know it you’ll have dropped a few pounds, maybe discovered some healthy foods you actually like. Once you’re eating better you’ll be more inclined to get up and exercising, which will show rewards almost at once in how you feel.
Before you know it, you’re living better, you’ve cut disease risk to the minimum, your feeling better, and on your way to a healthier, happier life.