As we strive to be healthy, it’s important to look at what habits we need in place to reach our goal. That includes maintaining a healthy weight, feeling more energetic than tired, keeping health markers within optimal range, and possessing that “inner glow”. How can you reach that level? If you look at the habits of healthy people, you’ll get an idea of what you need to be doing every day. For inspiration, I’ve found 6 things healthy people do differently, and adopting these habits will put you on the road to great health.
1. Healthy people eat more superfoods
Superfoods contain high levels of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Not only that, but this group of foods is also known for being low in calories and high in nutrients.
If you want to maintain a healthy weight, fight disease, and live longer, eat more superfoods. Adding an array of superfoods to your diet gives you the best protective health benefits, since some provide free-radical fighting antioxidants, and others contain healthy fats and anti-inflammatory substances. Preventing chronic disease is possible through diet, and superfoods are a powerful food choice for keeping you healthy.
- Quick Tip: Some of my favorite superfoods include kale, broccoli, berries, quinoa, avocados, chia and hemp hearts, almonds, spinach, and salmon.
2. Healthy people get Omega-3 fatty acids from their diets
Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that plays a critical role in the health of numerous body systems, including the nervous system, the immune system, and the cardiovascular system.
Since our bodies lack the ability to make ALA, we must get it from dietary sources, mainly plants, dairy, and meat. Eighty-five percent of ALA is broken down by our bodies and used as a source of energy, so incorporating ALA into your diet is a must.
- How to Get It: Plant sources of ALA include flax, chia, and hemp seeds and walnuts. You can also get ALA from leafy greens, but try sprinkling seeds on your food to optimize ALA intake. Salmon is also a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acid, so non-vegetarians should eat this nutritious fish twice a week.
3. Healthy people fill up on fiber
You’ll feel full long after eating a meal high in fiber, and this helps with weight management. The more full you feel, the less likely you are to take in extra calories.
Fiber also reduces blood sugar spikes, so you won’t be on the endless cycle of blood sugar dips and peaks if you incorporate healthy fiber in your meals. Fiber also plays a role in feeding the “good bacteria” in your gut, helping to maintain a healthy environment in your digestive system.
- Quick Tip: Great sources of fiber include fresh fruits and vegetables, lentils and legumes, nuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and whole grains.
- Try This: Enjoy these 15 Delicious Ways to Eat Hemp Hearts. They’re some of my favorite high-fiber recipes.
4. Healthy people exercise regularly
Exercising burns calories, and is extremely important for regulating our metabolism and controlling our weight.
Being active boosts good cholesterol levels, reduces stress, improves mood, boosts energy, improves cognitive function and memory, and increases blood flow throughout our bodies.
If that’s not enough, exercise also improves sleep, sex drive, and body confidence.
- Quick Tip: If you don’t exercise, start slowly and do a little more each day. Even those with busy schedules can sneak in twenty minutes a day. Try lunges, squats, and planks at home, or search the internet for fitness videos. If the weather is nice, get out and walk, and increase your mileage every week. We can all benefit from daily exercise.
5. Healthy people read food labels
Do you toss jarred, boxed, and frozen foods in your grocery cart without reading the nutrition label?
Now’s the time to get in the habit of reading food labels. Check the number of ingredients listed on the product- the more ingredients listed, the greater likelihood the food is highly processed and stripped of nutritional value.
Choose foods that have the least number of ingredients listed, and steer clear of food additives.
Get to know different names for sugar, such as corn syrup, fructose, cane sugar, dextrose, brown rice syrup, among others. It is best to choose foods without added sugar.
Check the serving size before you look at the nutrition information, and then base your decision to buy on the daily recommended values per serving.
- Quick Tip: I recommend eating whole foods and staying away from pre-packaged, highly processed foods. Aim to buy food with the least number of ingredients, and stay away from added sugar and trans fat.
6. Healthy people stay well hydrated
Since our bodies are made up of about 60 percent water, all of our bodily systems depend upon water to run smoothly.
A mildly dehydrated person will start to feel tired, sluggish, irritable, and experience headaches. If your urine is not clear or light yellow, this is also another sign that you’re dehydrated.
Water flushes toxins from our cells and organs, helps to regulate body temperature, and keeps our digestive system running smoothly. If you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water first, and it may be all you need to feel full again.
How can you determine how much water you need?
Experts have long recited the mantra “an 8-ounce glass, 8 times a day.” However, it may surprise you to learn there is little science to support this easy-to-remember catchphrase. That recommendation appeared as a footnote in a 1945 Dietary Guide, and has been used ever since.
The truth is, every body needs different amounts of hydration. The type of diet, time of year, even hormone levels will play a factor in setting your daily hydration needs.
Ultimately, listen to your own body. When you are thirsty: drink water. But don’t feel like you have to force yourself to drink mass amounts of water for the sake of meeting an irrelevent goal.
- Quick Tip: If you have trouble drinking enough water daily, I recommend carrying around a BPA-free bottle or glass water bottle and drinking on-the-go.
- Start Here: These 7 Refreshing Detox Waters offer some simple, healthy flavor boosters for plain water.