Healthy Living Principles
Foods, Fats, Exercise, and a Good Nights Sleep
by Bruce Bowen, MD of Sopris Medical Practice
To stay energetic, strong, and happy, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle — no matter what type of life you lead, or what type of career you may have, or what age you are. Focus on these ten suggestions to achieve your greatest health benefits.
- Eat Natural Foods — as opposed to fast foods or highly processed food. Eliminate or reduce the consumption of refined processed foods, such as sugary snacks or sodas — foods that are full of calories, but void of nutrition. For example, select whole grain breads instead of white, select the whole orange instead of frozen canned orange juice, select an apple instead of a donut.
- Emphasize Plant-Based Food — Focus on fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Try to eat more fresh foods. Get a rainbow of colors for a wide variety of nutrients. Non plant-based foods should be consumed in moderation, covering only ¼ or less of your plate.
- Consume Healthy Fats — Get your healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, or plant-based oils, such as canola oil or olive oil. Minimize your consumption of highly-processed oils, saturated fats (animal fats and butter) and trans-fats (man-made fats such as margarine, shortening, or fast-foods that have been cooked in these). Choose lean meats and low-fat dairy.
- Choose Nutrient Dense Foods, which have a wide spectrum of natural vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, and anti-oxidants. In grocery stores, look for ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Dense Index) or NuVal (Nutritional Value) numbers to help guide you on healthier choices.
- Exercise — What specific type of exercise you do it is not as important, as long as you do it. Do something you enjoy. For example, take a walk in the park, or a ride on a bike path. Play ball with your children. Go skiing, hiking, or swimming. Enjoy fishing or dancing. Take up a self-defense class. Go to the gym and do weight lifting, cardio workouts, or get expert guidance from a personal trainer. These are all excellent ways to improve your fitness. What’s important is that you move your body. The goal is 6 to 7 hours a week.
- Get Outdoors and Play — Get some sunshine, get some fresh air. Laugh and have fun with your children, friends and family outside. Here in Basalt Colorado, we have access to some of the most spectacular outdoor activities in the United States. Take advantage of them. It will positively affect your mood, your health, and your overall well-being.
- Interact with Friends and Family, not just via the computer, but with real human contact face-to-face. Enjoy your friends and family, and the company you share with them.
- Sleep Seven Hours a Night, at least. If you have trouble sleeping, drink less caffeine in the afternoon, sleep in a cooler room, and try to remove or reduce those things that disturb your sleep.
- Limit Television and Computer Games to less than 10 hours a week. This is especially important for children and teens.
- See Your Health Care Professional when needed. I encourage everyone to take control of their own health with the above suggestions. When you need help with a more serious issue or for a wellness check, call your doctor for an appointment.