Family health

Center for Family Health column: Try these 10 simple tips for a healthier life

Shawn HeilerPhoto provided by the Family Health Center

By Shawn Heiler

JACKSON, MI — Living a healthier life doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are 10 simple tips to help get you on a healthier path with just a little effort.

  • Incorporating big changes into your routine right from the start can be daunting and set you up for failure. Don’t feel pressured to “think big” or make major changes to be healthier. It’s okay to slow down and go at a pace that’s comfortable for you.
  • Water is good for health. Drinking enough water helps maintain brain health and function and may even help improve your mood. Replacing sodas and sugary juices with water can also help with weight loss and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and dental cavities.
  • Our food portions tend to be too big. An easy way to reduce portion sizes is to eat with smaller plates and bowls. Also, include more vegetables on your plate like broccoli, green beans, and Brussels sprouts, and try to add foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, to your diet.
  • Prepare a grocery list at home and stick to it at the store. A list can help you make healthier purchasing decisions and prevent impulse purchases. Studies have even shown that lists can help you eat healthier. Another tip? Go to the grocery store on a full stomach.
  • Don’t let poor snack choices be your downfall. Stock up on fruits and vegetables, yogurt and nuts to ensure you have healthy options at snack time. But don’t deprive yourself of this, also allow some sweet and savory options, keep them in moderation.
  • Processed and pre-packaged foods can be convenient, but they lack nutrients and increase your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Simply eating more unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables, which are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, can help you be healthier with minimal effort.
  • It is important to be active every day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or stroll the block during work breaks. Park further away from buildings. These are all easy ways to add physical activity throughout the day.
  • Taking time for yourself is an important part of being healthy. Be sure to take time each day to decompress, meditate, or relax in a way that allows you to put your worries aside and do something positive for yourself.
  • Phones and tablets at bedtime are a surefire way to sleep poorly. Put them away at bedtime. These devices emit a type of blue light that is common during the day. This means that your devices can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime and prevent you from falling asleep.
  • Bedtimes aren’t just for kids. Maintaining a consistent bedtime every night can help your internal clock work properly. Also, sleeping more than six hours a night is encouraged. Good sleep helps your body and mind recharge so you can wake up refreshed and revitalised.

– Shawn Heiler is a medical assistant at Jackson’s Center for Family Health, 505 N. Jackson St.