100 Self Improvement Tips to Stay Healthy and Prevent Cancer- Part 1
Top Tips for a Healthy Body
At Chia's Silver Lining, our focus is helping you fight cancer. We believe that the best way to fight cancer is through a healthy body. This article lists our first set of tips to help you build the right healthy habits and keep your body cancer free.
#1: Create a Meal Plan
Create a meal plan before you go shopping. A meal plan will help you spend less money and make better food choices. Planning ahead on what to buy and what you're going to make means you're wasting less food and thinking more strategically about your nutrition al choices for the week.
Food waste is a huge problem that a meal plan solves. Without a meal plan, you're more likely to return to the grocery store because you didn't purchase what you intended to buy. That's a waste of time. It's also a waste of money since more of what you buy may go to waste because you don't know how you're going to use it.
To create a meal plan, always sit down with a calendar and recipe guide. Then, look at what you have in the cupboards and choose recipes based on what you have and what you need to get. Always tweak your recipes to ensure you use up older food.
Then, head to the grocery store with your paired down list and buy only those items.
For a great guide on meal planning, visit the website: Stop Food Waste. They have valuable resources that can really help.
#2: Stop Eating Fried Food
Fried foods taste wonderful. That's why we eat them. However, fried foods are one of the worst food choices for your body.
Why? Fats, Salts and Acrylamide
- Fried foods are often soaked in trans-fat, which is the worst type of fat for your body. Trans fat eaten over a long period can clog up arteries and cause serious heart and vascular problems (aka, heart attacks). They also make you feel sluggish and tired as your body tries to process the oil.
- The high quantity of salts in fried foods can also lead to heart and even stroke issues. Most Americans eat way too much salt, creating issues with high blood pressure and harming their vascular system. Eating less salt is always better.
- Fried foods are also high in "acrylamide", a toxic substance that can form in fried food at high temperatures. This has been linked to forms of cancer in animals.
Definitely, fried foods are not worth eating.
For more information, see Healthline's article on fried foods here.
#3: Exercise Regularly
Consistent daily exercise, with days off for recovery, reduces stress, increases good cholesterol and improves mental performance. That means: you're going to feel better, act better and think better. Exercise is the right thing to do each day.
The CDC says that a moderate level of daily exercise also improves your mood. Imagine a pill that would make you feel better and be less anxious. You'd take it, right? Well, exercise is that pill. Taken daily, as a brisk walk, yoga, running or even just some house cleaning or gardening, will make you feel better about life.
"Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they worked on it every single day."
The CDC also says that daily exercise improves your overall health. You will have less chance of a stroke or cancer because a daily workout has a higher chance of keeping you healthy than sitting at a desk all day.
To exercise every day, you don't need to be a world class Olympian. You only need 30 minutes to an hour of activity that lifts your heart rate into your "active" zone.
For more information, see the CDC's website about exercise.
#4: Eat Less Dairy
If you have a sensitive stomach, consider cutting back on dairy. Humans only recently in our evolution adopted dairy as a part of our diet, so many people still don't fully process dairy. For nearly a third of the population, consuming dairy will make them feel sick.
Dairy substitutes can also be a problem, however, as many contain a high amount of sugar (like oat milk) or are very bad for the environment. Almond milk, for instance, requires an intensive amount of water to grow the almonds and then even more water to process the nuts into a milk. In water starved California, where most almonds are grown, this only makes that region's water shortage worse.
We suggest trying more traditional soy milks, but without sweetener. This is a taste that takes time to get accustomed to, so consider easing it into your diet until eventually, you don't even know that what you're drinking is soy.
#5: Limit Alcohol
Years ago, people used to say that drinking alcohol every day -- especially wine -- was good for you, as long as you didn't get drunk. Now, science is showing that any amount of alcohol can be a problem.
For instance, in the brain, alcohol disrupts the ability for neurons to communicate. Normal neural pathways are being interrupted by alcohol, creating short term problems for spatial awareness, the ability to talk, and other issues. Drinking alcohol long term, however, can even rewire the brain or increase a person's exposure to strokes.
Chia's Silver Lining is very concerned about cancer, and alcohol is serious trigger to many cancers, no matter how much a person drinks.
"Even those who have no more than one drink per day ... have a modestly increased risk of some cancers. Based on data from 2009, an estimated 3.5% of cancer deaths in the United States."
A good summary of the dangers alcohol poses can be found on the NIH's website.
#6: Get Good Sleep
Getting enough quality sleep each day is directly connected with healthier skin, better brain function and losing weight. In fact, a Sleep Foundation study found that people who don't get the minimum amount of sleep for their body type ended up gaining an extra 10% to 15% more weight.
What is your ideal level of sleep? That's up to you. It could be 8 hours or 5.5. Experiment with how much you sleep and then see how you feel during the day. If you feel tired, you need more sleep. And if you're getting too much sleep and feel groggy, that's a sign you need less.
Regardless of what your ideal sleep level is, always try to go to bed early, wake up early and refrain from drinking too much water before bed. A dark room that's cool is also helpful.
#7: Focus on Gaining Muscle
To feel your best and really lose weight, consider gaining muscle. This means, do strength training at least 3 times a week and strive to keep pushing you peak weights for different exercises.
An easy set of exercises might be to include the use of resistance bands. This ensures you don't get hurt, but also ensures that you also get the strength training that matches your fitness level. As you gain more strength, you change out a band that has more resistance.
You can also consider a membership at a local gym to be a really good investment in your body's overall health. You just have to go.
#8: Get Your Vitamins
Going on a diet or working out can play havoc with your body. Suddenly, your body needs different nutrients than it needed when you were less active. Vitamins ensure you get those nutrients.
While not a replacement for good food, a daily multivitamin can ensure that you get the nutrients you need as you expose your body to higher levels of activity.
We strongly suggest using a multivitamin over specific, concentrated vitamins, like single capsules of vitamin C or D. Taking too much can be just as bad as not having enough.
You may also want to consider getting tested for your current vitamin needs. "Let's Get Checked" is a great online service that will check your needs for certain vitamins and will help direct you toward the best supplement for your body.
#9: Drink Lots of Water
Drinking plenty of clean water each day is vital to your body's health.
Studies have shown that the average American is seriously dehydrated. Nothing can reduce the body's ability to function at high levels than dehydrations.
Dehydration can cause illness, fatigue and reduce your ability to think and remember clearly. Long term, it can even cause pressure on your kidneys, create kidney stones or cause other diseases because the body doesn't have the fluids to flush our toxins.
Should you have heart or lung disease, dehydration will worsen symptoms and could even lead to serious problems.
One trick? When you wake up, get the biggest glass in your house (30 ounces), add some lemon juice for flavor, and drink it all at once. That will energize your body each morning and give you a third of your day's worth of water right when you need it most.
#10: See Your Doctor Annually
If you're looking at stopping cancer early, regular doctor visits are one of the best things you can do.
Physicians are required to suggest routine screenings for cancer, like colorectal screenings for men and mammograms for women. These routines save lives. In fact, the CDC estimates that for cancers found early through routine testing, the average person lives 5 years longer.
Early cancer screenings is the best thing you can do to protect yourself from cancer. Put a recurring reminder on your calendar for things like dental checkups, mole checks and physicals so you don’t miss these appointments. Take your preventative care seriously.
#11: Get Fitness Advice
The level of fitness you need as you age changes. The way you move changes, how long you sit changes and your nutritional needs change. The problem is that most people don't know the "how" of adapting to those changes. So, if you fit in that category and don't know how to exercise for your age, hire a trainer and get some advice.
Hiring a personal training for even just a few sessions can be one of the best investments you make in your health. Personal trainers look at your form and workouts and help you keep injuries at bay while becoming more fit. Considering how much they can save you in hospital costs, hiring a personal trainer is a great investment in yourself.
But how do you hire a personal trainer? Here's some tips from Yahoo Finance:
- Understand your goals: Are you very overweight and need exercise and nutritional advice? Or are you just looking to tone up your midsection? Knowing what you need will help you decide the kind of trainer to hire.
- Interview More than One: Your trainer will be pushing your boundaries, physically. That means you need to have someone you can talk to about how you feel about the pace of your training. If there's no personal chemistry, then the chances of you getting results is low.
- Make Sure They're Focused on Results: If they go right to the exercises without first discussing how they'll reach your goals, then they might not have a plan. They might be guessing, and you don't want to pay for guesses.
#12: Subscribe to a Health Blog
Learn about healthy living as a lifestyle practice little by little every day. Some great blogs that we love:
- ACE (American Council on Exercise) Insights Blog
- The Art of Healthy Living
- Nerd Fitness
- MyFitnessPal Blog
- Bites of Wellness (Nutrition Blog)
#13: Smile More
Be joyful everyday and smile. If you smile even if you don't feel like it, the muscles in a smile help trigger your body's release of positive endorphins. You don't even need a reason to smile. Smiling just makes you feel good, even when you feel bad. And feeling good is something you deserve.