What is Good for Health?


A well-balanced diet provides all of the:

Keeping active and eating a healthy balanced diet can also help you to maintain a healthy weight.

Deficiencies in some key nutrients - such as vitamin A, B, C and E, and zinc, iron and selenium - can weaken parts of your immune system.

More about vitamins, minerals and nutrients

Type 2 diabetes

Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet that's low in saturated fat and high in fibre found in whole grains can help to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

More about type 2 diabetes

Heart health

A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy can help to reduce your risk of heart disease by maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

High blood pressure and cholesterol can be a symptom of too much salt and saturated fats in your diet.

Eating a portion of oily fish - such as salmon and trout - each week can also help to lower your risk of developing heart disease. The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish are good for heart health.

Strong bones and teeth

A diet rich in calcium keeps your teeth and bones strong and can help to slow bone loss (osteoporosis) associated with getting older.

Calcium is usually associated with dairy products, but you can also get calcium by eating:

sardines, pilchards or tinned salmon (with bones)

dark green vegetables - such as kale and broccoli

calcium-fortified foods - such as soya products, fruit juices and cereals

As vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, make sure you get outside (your body gets vitamin D from the sun) and have plenty of foods containing vitamin D in your diet - such as oily fish and fortified cereals.

More about vitamin D

How to manage your weight

Eating a healthy diet that includes lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and a moderate amount of unsaturated fats, meat and dairy can help you maintain a steady weight. Having a good variety of these foods every day leaves less room for foods that are high in fat and sugar - a leading cause of weight gain.

Together with exercise, eating a healthy diet in the right proportions can also help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol levels and blood pressure and decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes.

It’s easy to get confused when it comes to health and nutrition. Even qualified experts often seem to hold opposing opinions, which can make it difficult to figure out what you should actually be doing to optimize your health.

Yet, despite all the disagreements, a number of wellness tips are well supported by research.

Here are 28 health and nutrition tips that are based on scientific evidence.

Eat healthy.

What you eat is closely linked to your health. Balanced nutrition has many benefits. By making healthier food choices, you can prevent or treat some conditions. These include heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. A healthy diet can help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol, as well.

Get regular exercise.

Exercise can help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and colon cancer. It can help treat depression, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure. People who exercise also get injured less often. Routine exercise can make you feel better and keep your weight under control. Try to be active for 30 to 60 minutes about 5 times a week. Remember, any amount of exercise is better than none.

Lose weight if you’re overweight.

Many Americans are overweight. Carrying too much weight increases your risk for several health conditions. These include:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • some cancers
  • gallbladder disease
  • Being overweight also can lead to weight-related injuries. A common problem is arthritis in the weight-bearing joints, such as your spine, hips, or knees. There are several things you can try to help you lose weight and keep it off.

Protect your skin.

Sun exposure is linked to skin cancer. This is the most common type of cancer in the United States. It’s best to limit your time spent in the sun. Be sure to wear protective clothing and hats when you are outside. Use sunscreen year-round on exposed skin, like your face and hands. It protects your skin and helps prevent skin cancer. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. It should be at least an SPF 15. Do not sunbathe or use tanning booths.

Practice safe sex.

Safe sex is good for your emotional and physical health. The safest form of sex is between 2 people who only have sex with each other. Use protection to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Condoms are the most effective form of prevention. Talk to your doctor if you need to be tested for STDs.

Don’t smoke or use tobacco.

Smoking and tobacco use are harmful habits. They can cause heart disease and mouth, throat, or lung cancer. They also are leading factors of emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The sooner you quit, the better.

Limit how much alcohol you drink.

Men should have no more than 2 drinks a day. Women should have no more than 1 drink a day. One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor. Too much alcohol can damage your liver. It can cause some cancers, such as throat, liver, or pancreas cancer. Alcohol abuse also contributes to deaths from car wrecks, murders, and suicides.

Things to consider

In addition to the factors listed above, you should make time for whole body health. Visit your doctors for regular checkups. This includes your primary doctor, as well as your dentist and eye doctor. Let your health benefits and preventive care services work for you. Make sure you know what your health insurance plan involves. Preventive care can detect disease or prevent illness before they start. This includes certain doctor visits and screenings.

You need to make time for breast health. Breast cancer is a leading cause of death for women. Men can get breast cancer, too. Talk to your doctor about when you should start getting mammograms. You may need to start screening early if you have risk factors, such as family history. One way to detect breast cancer is to do a monthly self-exam.

Women should get routine pap smears, as well. Women ages 21 to 65 should get tested every 3 years. This may differ if you have certain conditions or have had your cervix removed.

Ask your doctor about other cancer screenings. Adults should get screened for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. Your doctor may want to check for other types of cancer. This will depend on your risk factors and family history.

Keep a list of current medicines you take. You also should stay up to date on shots, including getting an annual flu shot. Adults need a Td booster every 10 years. Your doctor may substitute it with Tdap. This also protects against whooping cough (pertussis). Women who are pregnant need the Tdap vaccine. People who are in close contact with babies should get it, as well.

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