Living a healthy lifestyle is essential for our overall well-being and quality of life. It involves making conscious choices and incorporating habits that promote physical, mental, and emotional health. There are several components that make up a healthy lifestyle, and understanding them can help us make informed decisions about our health.
In this article, we will explore the 7 key components of a healthy lifestyle and how we can incorporate them into our daily lives.
The 7 Components Of A Healthy Lifestyle?
A healthy lifestyle involves maintaining a balance between physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It is not just about eating right or exercising regularly, but also includes several other components. There are seven critical components of a healthy lifestyle that can significantly impact overall health and well-being. These components include physical activity/exercise, nutrition & diet, sleep, absence of unhealthy habits, prioritizing mental health, hydration, and relationships/community.
1. Nutrition & Diet
Consuming real, whole and unprocessed foods to the greatest extent possible can significantly contribute to our health and overall well-being. It is not a surprise to discover that our dietary choices and portion sizes have a major impact on our physical health, which can, in turn, affect our mental health. Ideally, we should strive to maintain a healthy, well-rounded diet that includes an abundance of fruits and vegetables while keeping a watchful eye on our calorie intake and reducing our consumption of foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt foods.
2. Physical Activity/Exercise
Movement is a fundamental need for our bodies. Our physical well-being thrives on it. In today’s day and age, we often lead a sedentary life by sitting or lying down for prolonged periods, however, our bodies are designed to move in various ways, speeds, and positions. Engaging in physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, commonly known as ‘feel-good’ hormones, which help us sleep and feel better. According to the WHO, physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis, helps control weight and promotes mental well-being. Incorporating simple stretching exercises in the morning can kick-start our blood circulation. The physical activity and exercise component comprises four sub-elements: a balanced mix of high, medium, and low-intensity activities throughout the day, a balance of high-intensity workouts like cardio, traditional strength training, and stretching within a week, active recovery practices such as steam rooms, saunas, massages, and similar activities, and finally, the posture.
Sleeping provides an opportunity for our cells and tissues to regenerate, which significantly benefits our cognitive function and memory for the following day. During sleep, the brain’s ‘cache’ is cleared out, and it acts as a cleansing experience for our mental well-being. To improve our sleep quality, it’s recommended to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time. Sleeping in a dark and cool environment also helps. Additionally, using essential oils such as lavender can assist in enhancing our sleep experience.
4. Absence of Unhealthy Habits
When we’re stressed or exhausted, we may be tempted to turn to substances like alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, or drugs to cope. However, relying on them can lead to more problems than solutions, particularly in the long run. Such habits can interfere with our sleep patterns and intensify feelings of anxiety and depression. Alcohol, in particular, can worsen our moods, and cutting down on its consumption can significantly improve our well-being. Quitting smoking is one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental health, allowing us to breathe easier, feel better, and save money. It’s essential to remember that what’s good for the body is also good for the mind, and taking care of ourselves should be a top priority.
5. Prioritizing Mental Health
Our mental health is just as important as our physical health and they are intricately connected. Managing stress levels and reducing stress is crucial as it is a major contributor to various health conditions that affect us mentally, emotionally, and physically. Additionally, our mindset and internal dialogue also play a vital role in our overall well-being. Our thoughts affect our emotions, which, in turn, impact our actions. Thus, practising self-care, prioritizing enjoyable activities, seeking support from a therapist or trusted friend, and even journaling can help us manage our mental and emotional health better. It’s essential to be mindful of our mental health and take the necessary steps to maintain it.
Hydration is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle. The human body is made up of 50-60% water, and it’s really essential for a number of different things including ensuring that we can properly distribute nutrients throughout our body, digestion, healthy bowel movements, temperature regulation, improving our skin health, boosting our energy levels as well, etc. The amount of water we need depends on various factors, including our age, weight, activity level, and climate. However, a general recommendation is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, which is equivalent to about 2 litres.
7. Relationships and Community
There’s a popular saying that goes, “You become like the five people you spend the most time with.” This quote holds a lot of truth, as the people we surround ourselves with can greatly influence our thoughts, decisions, emotions, beliefs, and even our overall well-being. It’s important to be mindful of the company we keep and how they impact us. If the people we spend time with uplift us and make us feel good, it’s essential to nurture those relationships and prioritize spending time with them. On the other hand, if certain people in our lives bring us down, it’s crucial to evaluate those relationships and determine whether they align with our values and goals.
5 Characteristics of a Balanced Diet
Consuming a balanced diet on a daily basis can provide you with all the essential nutrients required for maintaining good health. Your diet should encompass fruits, vegetables, starchy foods, and dairy products while limiting the consumption of foods and beverages that are high in salt, sugar or fat. A balanced diet contains both plant and animal foods and fulfils the following requirements:
1. A balanced diet is one that meets all the nutritional requirements of an individual.
This means that it provides the right amounts and proportions of essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water that the body needs to function properly.
2. A balanced diet includes food from all the food groups.
It includes a variety of different food groups in the right proportions, with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
3. A balanced diet has an adequate portion size relating to the individual.
A balanced diet should provide sufficient energy to support physical activity and maintain a healthy weight. Consuming too much or too little energy can lead to weight gain or weight loss, both of which can negatively impact overall health.
4. A balanced diet contains a variety of foods.
In addition to meeting nutritional requirements, a balanced diet should also be varied and include a wide range of foods from different food groups. This helps to ensure that the body is receiving all the necessary nutrients and prevents boredom with food choices.
5. A balanced diet suits the taste and meets the desires of the individual eating it
It takes into account individual needs, preferences, and cultural traditions to create a dietary pattern that is both enjoyable and sustainable for the individual.
7 Components of a Balanced Diet and Their Functions
Proteins play a crucial role in the growth, repair, and maintenance of the body, and can be obtained not only from lean meat but also from non-meat sources, as supported by dietary evidence. Protein is particularly beneficial in developing skin, hair, organs, and muscles. For an average adult, the recommended maximum daily intake of protein is 50 grams.
Carbohydrates typically serve as the primary energy source for the body. They are an excellent source of energy and should make up about 60% or 310 grams of an individual’s daily diet. If one engages in physical activity throughout the day, eating plenty of carbohydrate-rich foods such as rice, pasta, potatoes, and wheat is important. Including such foods in the diet is a crucial aspect of maintaining a balanced diet.
Healthy fats are essential for our bodies since they are a rich source of energy, key components of cell membranes and signalling molecules, and they act as myelin to insulate neurons (nerve cells). Despite the misconception that fat causes weight gain, good sources of fats, such as dairy products, meat, and fish, are beneficial for our health. Fats help regulate body temperature and are essential for the absorption of vitamins. They also provide slow energy release, which is ideal for endurance activities like long-distance running. It is recommended that we consume approximately 70 grams of fat per day to maintain a balanced diet.
Vitamins play a crucial role in various biochemical reactions in the body. While there are many essential vitamins, it’s important to focus on adequate intake of specific ones such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, and Vitamin D. While taking multivitamins that contain these vitamins can be helpful, obtaining them through the consumption of fruits and vegetables is even more beneficial.
Minerals play a crucial role in maintaining ionic balances and facilitating many biochemical reactions in the body. They also help release energy from food and promote growth by interacting with organs. For instance, iron aids in energy production, while calcium supports bone and teeth development. Although there are numerous minerals required by the body, the most crucial ones in a balanced diet are iodine, potassium, and sodium, as well as those mentioned earlier.
Fibre can be found in plants such as fruits, vegetables and grains and is made up of two main types: soluble fibre and insoluble fibre, both kinds are needed for good health. Soluble fibre, which is found in plant cells, aids in digestion by slowing the stomach’s emptying time, allowing for a gradual release of energy and assisting in lowering harmful LDL cholesterol. On the other hand, insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water and remains intact throughout the digestive system. Insoluble fibre helps to keep the digestive system functioning smoothly and can help prevent bowel problems. Both types of fibre are important for maintaining good health.
Water is essential for life, as it creates the necessary environment for metabolic reactions to take place and acts as a solvent for other molecules. Although most lists of a balanced diet only contain six items, this article gives a total of 7, emphasizing the importance of water. Many people underestimate the significance of water in their diet and instead consume beverages such as carbonated drinks, coffee, tea, and juice, which cannot provide the same benefits as water. Water plays a vital role in hydrating the body and aiding in the movement of all the other components mentioned earlier. It is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to maintain good health.
Each of these components plays a vital role in leading a healthy and fulfilling life, and incorporating them into daily routines can help promote long-term health and well-being.
The ultimate goal is a step-by-step optimization of every single component that contributes to our overall well-being. For example, think about a 5% improvement to a healthy lifestyle through improved sleep, a 5% improvement through a better diet, another 5% boost from a greater weekly workout schedule and maybe a whole 10% bump through mental health, hydration, getting rid of unhealthy habits and improving in our relationships & community. Add that all up and what do you get? A whopping 25% increase to our daily energy level that you can channel into accomplishing your potential.
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