Ways to Become a Healthier Individual

woman doing pushups

Ever look at that last slice of cake and think you could be doing so much better for yourself? Now is the time to start changing your lifestyle and become a healthier person. It’s hard and you won’t enjoy the changes at first, but in the long run you will feel better about yourself and enjoy life so much more. Follow these steps to begin your path to better health.

Watch What You Eat

You might hear it all the time, but eating well really is the most important part of becoming a healthier person. Get rid of the junk food at home; as long as it’s there, it’s a temptation. That means anything sugary, fatty or salty. Replace it with fresh and dried fruits and nuts. Start cooking meals in bulk because it’s easier to stick to your diet if your meals are already prepared. Nutrition is incredibly important to becoming healthy. It isn’t necessarily about eating less though; it’s eating better that makes all the difference.

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Is popping multivitamins on a daily basis a risk to your health?

This article by Men?s Fitness.com says so:

Mom always said to take your vitamins. But she didn’t mean overdo it. Thirty-five percent of adults swallow a multivitamin on a regular basis, but several studies warn that an abundance of extra nutrients may not be as good for the body as previously suspected. Just check out the data.

DIABETES: While vitamin K and thiamine appear to help reduce risk factors, scientists warn that selenium in vitamins may increase the risk of type-2 diabetes.

PROSTATE CANCER: Too many multis may increase your risk of developing a form of fatal prostate cancer, according to data from the National Cancer Institute.

LUNG DISEASE: Multivitamins don’t protect against lung cancer, say scientists at the University of Washington. (In fact, too much vitamin E may increase the risk.)

LONGEVITIY: Perhaps most alarmingly, vitamin supplements may increase your overall mortality risk. So says a recent Danish review of 67 studies involving more than 200,000 participants. After analyzing the data, researchers found that people taking vitamins were 4% more likely to die during the course of the study than people who weren’t taking them. Yikes.

THE BOTTOM LINE: If your diet sucks, a multi may help. But if you already eat well
and buy fortified cereals and breads, you’re likely getting all the nutrients you need.

Interesting. Like most Americans who believe that they?re taking an active role in their health, I ingest a multivitamin on a daily basis (and actually, I take them on a nightly basis). But I don?t know if this article is enough to scare me away from taking them every day.

I wish the article had provided more detail as to the appropriate amount of times a week it?s okay to take a multivitamin. Based on that last paragraph, the article would almost lead you to believe that you should take a multivitamin on the days you can?t eat as healthy as you should.


Build the Ultimate Sandwich

Men?s Fitness.com helps you create a healthy lunch that actually tastes good with their guide to building the ultimate sandwich.

Just because the bread’s brown doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Check out the ingredient list. “Whole wheat” should be the first thing listed?not “refined grains,” which have fewer nutrients and less fiber than their whole-grain counterparts. Also be sure the loaf has at least 3 grams of fiber per serving and doesn’t contain any high-fructose corn syrup.

Pile on all the cucumbers, tomatoes, pickles, onions, bell peppers, or jalape?os you want. The extra calories they add to your meal are virtually nil.

Ham: It’ll only set you back around 60 calories yet packs 11 grams of protein. Select a nitrate-free variety, though (these preservatives have been shown to increase the risk of cancer when consumed over time). Less sodium means you’ll also avoid that after-lunch bloat.

Turkey: The king of the healthy lunch meats. It’s low in calories, fat, and sodium but loaded with protein. Buy 100% baked or smoked sliced turkey breast.

Roast Beef: Red meat gets a bad rap for being high in fat, but with many lower fat brands out there, you can now pile on the beef without adversely tipping the scale.

Check out the rest of Men?s Fitness ingredients to the ultimate sandwich, here.


Boost Your Metabolism

Men?s Fitness.com details a couple ways to help give your metabolism a boost.

WaterDrink More Water
When researchers measured people’s metabolic rate before and after downing about 16 ounces of water, they found a rise in calorie-burning capability. The water had a lasting effect as well: Even after 30 minutes, drinkers were using 30% more calories than those who stayed dry.

Eat, Then Sweat
You must eat to get lean. Digesting food and absorbing and storing nutrients requires energy. Severely restricting calories dials back your metabolic rate. Plus, starving yourself eventually drives your body to break down muscle tissue to satisfy energy needs, further lowering calorie-burning. Boost the burn by working out just after eating a meal or substantial snacks.

And Eat Again
Divide daily calories into three meals and two snacks. Research suggests men who eat more frequently throughout the day are leaner than those who consume meals at irregular times.

Pack in the Protein
Protein keeps you fuller longer. Plus, your body uses more calories digesting protein than it does breaking down carbs or fat. High-quality protein from foods such as eggs, lean meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy also ups levels of the amino acid leucine in your body, which is essential for maintaining muscle and burning calories.

Consider Caffeine
A Harvard study of more than 19,000 men found those who got 200 milligrams of caffeine a day (the amount in four cans of cola or eight ounces of coffee) were less likely to gain weight over a 12-year period than those who didn’t. Caffeine helps stimulate fat use, especially during exercise.

To check out more nutrition articles from Men?s Fitness.com, click here.


Avoid staph infections

Men?s Fitness.com writes that staph infections are becoming alarmingly common. Use the guide below to avoid getting staph infections when spending time at the gym or pool.

Post-workout showers rock, but as great as they feel on beaten-down muscles, they could have you leaving the locker room with more than a spring in your step. The culprit? Staphylococcus, or staph, is a family of more than 30 different types of bacteria that’s easily transmissible ? especially in warm, overly populated areas like locker rooms. It may already be present in up to 25% to 30% of the population, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. (You may have heard renewed staph talk a few months ago when infections hit the NBA.)

In most cases, the presence of staph on the skin causes relatively few problems. But if you get a cut or damage your flesh in some way, and the bacteria enter your bloodstream, it can cause a wealth of problems ? some of which can turn fatal. Here’s how to protect yourself:

Good personal hygiene is the first step in protecting yourself and staying ahead of a staph infection. Shower daily, wearing flip-flops when in a public location, and wash your hands regularly, especially after leaving the bathroom.

Many people carry staph bacteria without realizing it. When it comes to things like towels and razors, it’s always best to use your own since these things act as vehicles for bacteria.

Keep all wounds clean and properly covered. This will cut down your risk of infection and prevent infected areas from spreading farther.

Check out MensHealth.com to find out more.


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