10 Essential Healthcare Tips To Prolong Your Wellbeing

Healthcare tips

Let’s be honest: a lot of people who believe themselves to be healthy actually aren’t. According to statistics, over half of the adults in North America are living with at least one chronic disease, and a significant percentage among them don’t even know that they are ill. Sure, part of the reason is the increasing longevity of the population and general aging, but another cause is our bad diet, lack of exercise, pollution, and stress at work. Bit by bit, year by year, these factors eat away at our health; and since it can take years for symptoms to develop, it is quite possible that you are already living with a potentially serious health condition without knowing.

What can we do to protect our health in the long-term, avoid premature aging, live longer, and feel better? We have talked to Erin Moors, a senior support specialist at Canadian Health&care Service (home page), to get some practical advice.

Top 10 Healthcare Tips by Canadian Health Care Mall Senior Support Specialist

1) Drink lots of water. Dozens of essential physiological processes require water, including metabolism of fats, kidney function, skin cell replacement, and especially your brain. Chronic dehydration is very common and can result in headaches, constipation, fatigue, and lack of focus, as well as the feeling of fake hunger, when your brain tells you that you want to snack constantly, when in fact what you need is water. Aim for 2 liters a day; and remember that it should be clear water, not just any liquid like tea or juice (which your body treats like food and metabolizes accordingly). You should drink even more in hot weather or during a workout.

2) Sleep at least 7 hours a day. Many people underestimate the value of sleep and sacrifice it in order to gain time for more interesting activities, such as going out. Some even pride themselves in their apparent ability to go on just 5-6 hours of sleep a day and function well at work, trying to compensate on weekends. Margaret Thatcher, for example, used to sleep only 4 hours a day, and so did Napoleon. However, studies prove that a chronic lack of sleep dramatically increases the risk of losing cognitive abilities in old age and developing dementia, Alzheimer, Parkinson’s, or even cancer. Thatcher had to retire from the public scene when she developed dementia, and Napoleon died of cancer. Make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep – don’t compromise on this!

3) Avoid chronic stress. In many professions, such as banking, audit, journalism, or finance, extremely long hours and constant deadlines seem to be the norm, resulting in chronic stress. In fact, over 25% of people report that sometimes they want to shout at their colleagues simply because they are under so much pressure. However, science shows that stress (while useful in some life situations) is bad for you: stress hormone cortisol damages the brain region responsible for turning short-term memories into long-term ones, preventing you from storing information – and this memory damage can be permanent.

4) Try meditation and relaxation. Some think that yoga, mantras, and meditations are just a bunch of spiritual mumbo-jumbo, but a growing body of research proves that they can be very efficient for a large range of people, from stressed office workers to cancer patients. Learning to breathe properly and turn your mind away from nagging concerns, as well as be truly aware of your surroundings, will relieve stress and anxiety and help you sleep.

5) Exercise often. While the WHO recommends at least 2-3 hours of exercise a week as a minimum (including for people with chronic diseases), the perfect amount of weekly exercise is at least 5 hours. Ideally, you should have a workout daily – it will stimulate your blood circulation and metabolism, help your cognitive function, and help lose weight (which is only possible when you burn more calories than you consume with food). If you are overweight, start with brisk walking, going up and down the stairs, swimming, and yoga. A good workout routine should include both aerobic exercises (such as running and dancing) and anaerobic endurance training (climbing, weightlifting, and do on). Anaerobic training is great to reduce fat deposits, while aerobic workouts train your heart.

6) Do regular medical check-ups. If you feel like you are ok, it may seem like an unnecessary waste of time and money to go to the docter, do blood tests, x-rays and so on. And yet, many serious diseases (from cirrhosis of the liver to tuberculosis and cancer) can develop for years undetected and without any simptoms, only becoming apparent when they are in an advanced stage. Erin Moors from Canadian Health&Care Mall says: “Plan  your annual check-ups with as much care as you plan your vacations – make a checklist of tests and procedures and find time in your schedule for all of them. Blood tests, bi-annual chest x-rays (and mammograms for women), electrocardiogram, a visit to gynaecologist or urologist – these are all essential.”

7) Quit smoking. Studies show that it can take up to a 40 attempts for a smoker to quit for good, and that almost all smokers try to do it at least once a year – and usually fail. Smoking is not just an expensive habit; it causes 14 different cancers and is the cause of 30% of all cancer deaths in North America. Further, smoking is the cause of 80-90% of all lung cancer deaths – one of the types of cancer with the lowest survival rates. There is really no excuse to keep on smoking. However, research shows that quitting on your own is  very hard; those people who join quitting support groups or special medical programs have much higher success rates.

8) Eat more fiber. Fiber is not absorbed by our intestine, but it performs an essential function by stimulating digestion and lubricating our gut, preventing constipation and a range of gastric issues, such as colitis. An adult male needs up to 40 grams of fiber a day, while a female needs 25 grams; unfortunately, up to 95% of people in the West don’t eat enough fiber. The best sources of dietary fiber are bran, whole grains, beans and peas, dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (such as cabbage and cauliflower), and fruit. Eat them raw or cooked.

9) Avoid processed foods. Sandwich cheese, vacuum-packed ham, ready microwave meals, cookies and industrial cakes – all these things may be delicious, but they are definitely bad for you. Crackers, cheese and other savoury snacks contain lots of salt – much more than you would expect (just check the label!), leading to most people in America consuming twice as much salt as they should, which leads to higher risks of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Moreover, processed meat products often contain sodium nitrate, which preserves their rosy-red color but is also cancerogenic. And the sugar found in cookies and desserts can not only cause obesity but increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

10) Educate yourself. The whole industry of health and nutrition is full of misconceptins, old myths, and “fake news”, with many websites and purported “specialists” trying to sell expensive products to cure non-existent diseases, such as the so-called Candida invasion (you can consult these materials in order to find great usable and efficient tips on how to get rid of Candida infection). Don’t trust websites that sell stuff and posts on social network – rather, get a good scientific book or lecture course about physiology and nutrition, preferably something used in universities. The only way to care truly well for your body is to learn how it really works.