At the beginning of the new year, most people make resolutions to help them change their habits in ways that will improve their health but it can be difficult to develop a whole new lifestyle. However, small changes over a period of time can help you accumulate healthier habits and be more successful in long-term lifestyle modification. Making significant modifications to your lifestyle can be especially helpful for people that are struggling with obesity and other diet-related illnesses.
Lifestyle modification means altering long-term habits having to do with eating or exercise and maintaining those changes for a period of months or even years. Changing your lifestyle is often the best approach to various illnesses as a person’s overall health is greatly affected by what you eat and how physically active you are. Instead of managing an illness through medication, lifestyle modification can help you treat the underlying problems and start to minimize your symptoms.
Treating Diet-Related Diseases through Lifestyle
There are numerous illnesses that are related to lifestyle and can be treated through lifestyle modification. Changing diet and exercise habits can also be an effective way to prevent many disease from developing. People who are struggling with obesity are at a much higher risk for a number of illnesses but changing their habits and losing weight can help them maintain their health and prevent certain problems from affecting them.
These are some of the most common illnesses related to diet and lifestyle:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Type II diabetes
- Heart disease
Although it depends on the severity of the illness and the stage at which you are diagnosed there are certain cases where lifestyle changes can treat or prevent these issues. Eating healthy foods, exercising and losing excess weight can be the most direct way to address these problems.
Healthier Foods for the Body
In order to be successful with lifestyle modification it is important understand which foods to eat and which ones to avoid for better health. Over time it is a good idea to try to cut out or minimize damaging and unhealthy foods such as – sugary drinks and sweets, alcohol, cigarettes, processed meats and red meat, foods high in sodium, fried food, and high fat dairy. These are foods that can raise your cholesterol and blood pressure, harm your immune system and some contain carcinogens which can lead to cancer.
As you gradually cut these types of food from your diet or minimize them as much as possible you can also add in plenty of healthy foods to get the nutrition that you need. Your body needs lots of fiber, lean protein, vitamins and minerals to function at its best. Eating foods full of antioxidants can also help fight disease and keep you healthy.
- These are some of the foods to focus on including in your diet
- Leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach and romaine
- Fresh fruits with antioxidants such as berries
- Plenty of both raw and cooked vegetables
- Lean protein such as chicken and fish
- Nuts, seeds and avocados for healthy, unsaturated fats
- Whole grain foods such as brown rice and quinoa instead of processed bread
- Beans for low fat protein and antioxidants such as black beans
- Exercising for Weight Loss and Health
Although diet is a very crucial element in your health, your body also needs regular exercise to keep blood pressure low and improve circulation. It is also important to get exercise for your cardiovascular health and the health of your lungs. Every time you exercise you are delivering oxygen and nutrients to your tissues so that your body can work more efficiently.
Exercising can also be a great way to improve a person’s mood and energy while also relieving stress. When stress accumulates in the body it can have a negative effect on a person’s health over time. Relieving stress through exercise and promoting feelings of energy and happiness can have a great impact on both physical and mental health.
For the best results from exercise, it is a good idea to aim for 3 to 4 sessions a week of at least 30 minutes. It is also helpful to maintain variety in the type of exercises that you do such as incorporating cardio, strength training and flexibility exercises. That could mean including running, swimming, lifting weights, yoga and various other fitness activities.
Lifestyle modification can seem like a huge undertaking for some people that have had poor diet and exercise habits for years. However, taking steps a little at a time to make healthier choices can lead to tremendous improvement. You may not be able to lead a perfectly healthy lifestyle all the time but making an effort to focus on health is always beneficial.
Talk to your doctor about any diet-related health problems you are experiencing and ask them how lifestyle modification may allow you to improve symptoms.