Our long-term health is the combined effect over time of our regular daily habits.

If we drink one sugary, fizzy drink on a particular day, it will have little effect on us. But consume a fizzy drink every day, over a decade or two, and the accumulation will have unfortunate effects on our health.

Here are three health tips, recommended by the World Health Organisation, to improve your overall health:

1 . Less sugar and salt – too much salt can put you at risk of high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Reduce your salt intake to 5g per day, equivalent to about one teaspoon. Don’t put extra salt on your food. Too much sugar can cause weight gain and have negative effects on your heart health. Try fruit as a healthy alternative. https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-too-much-salt

 

2. Fewer harmful fats – Too much fat can affect your heart and circulatory system. The preferable unsaturated fats are found in fish, avocado and nuts, and in sunflower, soybean, canola and olive oils. Avoid saturated fats in fatty meat, butter, cream, and cheese, as well as trans-fats found in baked and fried foods, and pre-packaged snacks and foods, such as frozen pizza, biscuits, and cooking oils and spreads. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/saturated-fats

 

3. Don’t smoke– Smoking tobacco causes lung disease, heart disease and stroke. Tobacco kills not only the smokers but also non-smokers through second-hand exposure. If you think about it, smoking is one habit that adds absolutely no value. The same applies to vaping. https://www.healthline.com/health/smoking/effects-on-body

 

4. Avoid Stress – Living with stress over a long period of time has unfortunate consequences for our health. Sometimes stress can freeze us. We don’t know where to start, we are overwhelmed. And we worry more about what we have to do, than actually getting it done. We spoke to the team at Regenesys, and here are some of the techniques they use. https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/body

  • Take action. We can overthink the challenges that confront us. Get started on doing something to help you, no matter how small. Start by returning mails, set up a meeting with that difficult person and get it over with, renegotiate that deadline with your supervisor. Anything to getting you back to feeling in control.
  • Break tasks into small steps. Section your big challenge into the individual activities. Select the most important task that must be done first, and concentrate only on doing that. Don’t be distracted. And then the next one, and the next. You might not have got all the problems out of the way, but you are making progress.
  • Be positive. Yes, you are under pressure now. But you’ve done this before. It will pass. Do the immediate tasks as well as you are able to.
  • Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself to a break or undertake a task you enjoy. Spend time with a trusted colleague over lunch. Try not to continually replay your challenges in your mind. Go for a walk or do something physical to take your mid to different places
  • Cut down your to-do list. There are the things you have to do, and  the things you should do or would like to do. Cut down your daily to-do list to the bare essentials.

The sooner you have these simple life changes, the greater benefit you will derive. Here’s to a long and healthy life!

We are still in the time of Covid. For the protection of all of us, continue to wear a mask, practise social distancing and sanitise! https://www.gov.za/covid-19/resources/regulations-and-guidelines-coronavirus-covid-19

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