As a society we are constantly told by either the media, people in the public eye, health professionals or our peers that certain things are good for you and others should be steered clear of at all cost whether this is certain items of foods, lifestyle choices or weekly exercise quotas etc. There seem to be so many health scares in modern times that a clear message of what is beneficial to your health and what isn’t becomes blurred beyond recognition. For instance, it began with a recommendation of ‘5 a day’ helpings of fruit and vegetables, which recently turned into ‘7 a day’. Now people are starting to speculate that ‘7 a day’ is no better for you than ‘5 a day’ was.
The average person carries out their lifestyle however they wish to and although they may listen to what the professionals may have to say, they tend to pick and choose which pieces of information to act upon; typically something which they find easy to fit around their current way of life. This isn’t disregard for our health or the length of our lives but simply because nobody is sure anymore what we can believe and what we can’t. What’s the point of changing our lifestyles only for the information to be withdrawn and refuted a few months down the line?
New guidelines have thrown everything that we believed to be the truth upside down and once again made everyone take a look at their own lifestyle. Often when this happens we find that we are living our lives in completely the wrong way according to researchers and so we are made to feel guilty about setting a bad example to the younger generation however these new tips for a healthier life are just that…NEW! Instead of warning us against all of the excitement, inane relaxation methods and foods that bring joy to our lives we are now being told that some of the actions which we were made to feel guilty about before could actually have some benefit to our health.
Enlighten yourself and feel proud of the nourishment choices that you are making;
OK this one may not be a surprise to most people but others still haven’t heard the great news that chocolate can be good for you. The bad side is that this does not include all chocolate. Milk chocolate and white chocolate are still classed as fattening with no real nutritional value however two squares of dark chocolate as a mid morning snack could boost the levels of antioxidants in the body leading to a healthier heart and a better chance of fighting cancer.
Despite previous beliefs and cautionary messages regarding the consumption of red meat, researchers are now stating that the vitamins and minerals packed into a cut of fine red meat could lead to a healthier heart, increased bodily functions, better cell renewal and enhanced brain function.
The amount of caffeine consumed has in the past been a sticky point as the recommendations are for low intakes and this addictive substance is the majority of the population’s favourite way to wake up in the morning. Trying to cut back on the coffee can leave people groggy and irritable. Good news! Enjoy that morning cuppa with pride as coffee has now shown that it can increase brain activity leading to better memory, mental performance and therefore overall mood. Early research has also suggested that it may also be linked to a reduced risk of the development of dementia and certain types of diabetes.
As much as researchers have said that alcohol is bad for you, it has become such an important part of our culture, from a relaxing glass at night to a centre of socialisation at weekends, that no one has really ever followed the guidelines to the letter. It has been stated that enjoying a regular glass of red wine could mean that you are less likely to suffer with cholesterol problems in the future. The risk of developing blood clots will also be reduced through the miracle of red wine. These new guidelines don’t exclude the beer drinkers. Supping a pint of beer could actually protect the heart and boost the drinker’s immunity.
So food and drink is one thing but what about the rest of the nation’s lifestyle choices that have been so heavily criticised previously?
The country has been told that watching television or playing computer games is slowly turning us all into an overweight and underachieving population however new research carried out in New York seems to suggest that these activities could in fact be beneficial to brain function. By effectively allowing your brain to shut down and recharge whilst watching TV you are more able to concentrate on tasks which are undertaken later. Without time to process everything that has gone in, our brain will actually decrease in functionality level.
Finding time or the energy to exercise has always been a problem no matter how much we all know that this should be a priority for a healthier lifestyle. Whereas some find that going to gym for a workout session every day is a breeze the majority of us find this thought daunting. It is now suggested that a simple surge of energy for 10-20 seconds could do the same job as a workout that has the heart pumping for 30 minutes. By slowly strolling then breaking into a fast run for 10 seconds and then stopping and allowing your heart rate to return to normal before repeating the process, your heart is actually building up strength. This same method could also be used when cycling; gently peddling on the flat and pushing as fast as possible uphill. Fair enough you may attract a few strange looks exercising in this way in a crowded area but it’s better than sweating it out in the gym.
The increase in cases of skin cancer seems to have surged over the years and people are warned to cover up when out in the sun. New research has stated that being out in the sun is actually good for your body as long as you remember to use suitable a suitable sun protector. Lying in the bright summer sun for approximately 20 minutes every day will give your body the full amount of vitamin D needed to keep your bones healthy for the rest of that same day. Vitamin D also helps your body to increase its ability to absorb calcium.
Chill out, slob out and relax
People have been slammed in the past for being a couch potato and having a less than energetic lifestyle however tests have shown that these same ‘slobs’ generally have healthier hearts and lower blood pressure than those whose rush around frantically all day. Basically this is because the less active among us have far less stress in our lives and lower levels of cortisol. This stress hormone has been blamed for the effects of premature ageing so find the time in your hectic schedule to kick back and chill out.
These new guidelines are far more appealing than the joyless recommendations that have been released in previous years and are sure to bring a breath of fresh air to those who are already practising some of these healthy body strategies. It must be added that although these activities may bring a sparkle back into some people’s eyes, each and every section or activity must be carried out in moderation. Having too much of a good thing will result in a negative effect so don’t be tempted to sit on your sofa, eating steaks for every meal, swilling down ice cold beer, watching your favourite programmes all day and every once in a while taking a short burst of exercise running up the stairs to the toilet! This will not lead to a healthier you.
Use common sense and practise everything in moderation for a well balanced and healthy lifestyle that will be more sustainable than previous recommendations and guidelines. If you try something new and develop any adverse symptoms stop immediately and seek medical advice. These guidelines are general and not personally tailored to every individual in the country.
What are you waiting for? Start your new life today!