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Elements Of Healthy Living
by Zinobia Madan

The article is authored by Dr Zinobia Madan, PhD, MAMS, FIMSA, FICN, a Healthcare & Clinical Research Consultant, advising on lifestyle management and Wellness. She is also an Advisor in areas of Pharmacology & Nutrition, to Pharmceutical and Healthcare companies.

What is more important in life than the way we feel? Our physical health, is probably the most important determining factor in the way we feel. Any feeling, whether it be physical or emotional is experienced through our bodies and living a healthy life could really help us feel great.
The one thing we are all pursuing in life is happiness and happiness is nothing but "feeling good." By following some basic tips for living a healthy life we can make significant changes in the way we feel physically, emotionally and mentally.
We've all heard the cliché "a healthy body houses a healthy mind" and thanks to scientific research we now know this for a fact. Also, the opposite is equally true: a healthy mind equals a healthy body.
Living a healthy life starts with your body. If you take care of your body you will develop that sense of confidence in yourself and the consequently the way you feel about yourself or your self esteem.
As English Poet and Writer, Samuel Johnson preaches, "To preserve health is a moral and religious duty, for health is the basis of all social virtues. We can no longer be useful when we are not well.”
When you think of health, you may think about various ways to stay healthy — from practising good hygiene, to preventing heart disease, to cancer prevention and several others.  The lifestyle habits you choose including diet, exercise, relaxation, remaining distressed, which when all put together, go a long way towards preventing many of these diseases and keeping you in overall optimum state of health.
It's equally important to pay attention to certain signs and symptoms. Any of these warning signs should signal you to seek medical care :
•    Sudden cardiac chest pain
•    Sudden abdominal pain
•    Unexplained weight loss
•    Persistent or high fever
•    Shortness of breath
•    Unexplained changes in bowel habits
•    Sudden severe headaches
•    Delirium (sudden severe confusion & rapid change in mental state)
•    Sudden weakness
•    Loss of vision or speech
•    Flashes of light
•    Feeling of fullness after eating very little
•    Hot, red or swollen joint
And of course, regular health checkups are an important part of preventive health care. It is essential for you to know from your doctor which screening tests you need and how often you need to get them done. Early detection is often the key to successful treatment. Most of the diseases detected at an early stage, can prevent progression of the disease with appropriate medications and treatment, and offer survival as well as quality of life.
With this in mind, here are some very simple and basic tips for living a healthy life.
Control Stress :

Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life. That's why stress management is becoming increasingly important. Stress is synonymous with nervous tension or anxiety. It can cause exhaustion, illness, heart attacks & other adverse conditions
The pace of our lives makes stress management a necessary skill for all of us. The first step in stress relief is identifying your stress triggers. Some causes of stress are obvious — job loss, a divorce, the death of a loved one. But small, daily hassles and demands such as heavy work pressures at office, a long commute, petty family disputes or trouble finding child care also contribute to our stress level.
Plan atleast 3-4 days a wk 30 mins/day exercise, eat well balanced meals, reduce caffeine intake, avoid alcohol get atleast 7-8 hours of sleep every night, practise yoga / meditation / prayers and try going for relaxed walks.
Eat Right :

It takes more than "an apple a day” to live well in today’s hectic world. Eat sensible amounts of nutritious food. Eating right can help you feel your best and control your weight. Too much of any one kind of food or beverage can take your body out of balance. Too much caffeine can make you tense or sleepless. A balanced diet and reducing excess caffeine intake, can do wonders to help you feel fit.

Do you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure? A diet that's low in salt and fat and high in fresh, unprocessed foods will certainly do you good.
As you consider the parade of healthy diets in magazines and cookbooks, make sure to look for one that:
•    Includes as much of raw foods in your diet as possible
•    Includes foods from the major food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, low-fat dairy products, lean protein meat sources (preferably only chicken and fish & avoid red meats), nuts and seeds
•    Includes proper amounts of nutrients and calories to help you maintain a healthy weight
•    Includes healthy foods you like, are easily available in your nearby area, easily fits your lifestyle and budget.
•    Water is very essential for smooth functioning of our body. We need to drink atleast 8-10 glasses/ day. Dehydration in our body can lead to adverse consequences, and so it is important to keep our body hydrated.
Refrain from these Unhealthy Choices :
•    Preservatives, emulsifiers, dyes & colouring agents & artificial flavours
•    Hydrogenated Oils (Trans fats)
•    Fried foods & Fast foods
•    Prepackaged foods & frozen meals
•    Processed foods & drinks
•    Excess alcohol & smoking
Good food is one of life's great pleasures. And for most, meals are at the heart of family life and celebrations. Most importantly,  healthy meals help protect our family from heart disease and other major health problems.
Exercise Regularly :
Starting some form of exercise regularly may be one of the best things you can do for your health. After all, physical activity can reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve your balance and coordination, help you lose weight — even boost your self-esteem. And the benefits are yours for the taking, regardless of age, sex or physical ability. By planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can make exercise a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.
For many people, walking is a great choice for aerobic exercise. In fact, walking is one of the most natural  forms of exercise. It's safe, it's simple — and all it takes to get started is a good pair of walking shoes and a commitment to include aerobic exercise in your daily routine. Other popular choices include swimming, bicycling and jogging.
Stretching and strength training are other exercise programs which can help reduce your body fat, increase your lean muscle mass, increase flexibility, improve range of motion of  joints, boost circulation, promote better posture and relieve stress. These need to be done under the guidance of a fitness expert.
Positive thinking :
Is your glass half-empty or half-full? How you answer this age-old question about positive thinking may reflect your outlook on life, your attitude towards yourself, and whether you're optimistic or pessimistic. Positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health. Overcome negative self-talk by recognizing it and practicing with positive attitude towards life.
In fact, some studies show that these personality traits — optimism and pessimism — can affect many areas of your health and well-being. Positive thinking doesn't mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life's less pleasant situations. It just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. If you find yourself constantly worrying about a problem, talk about it with a friend or trusted adviser.
Prevent & you will not Repent :

In this context, it will be apt to quote Reb Materi’s words of wisdom, "So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.” None of us surely want to be victims of this predicament, when there are means of  prevention. So, undoubtedly, Prevention is the key to good health.

The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest, and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they'll ease
Your will they'll mend
And charge you not a shilling.

~Nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields, What the River Knows, 1990

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