The “Health Basics” are obvious and most of us can agree on them.

  • Exercise
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat right, Eat light

However, medical science and the researchers just wouldn’t let it remain that simple. Rapid advances in the health sciences are leading to new ways of thinking about illness.

Researchers are beginning to view health and illness as a combination of factors including biological characteristics (what genes you were dealt), behavioral factors (lifestyle) and social conditions (family relationships). Food and nutrition are also large parts of the research into improving health and preventing and curing diseases.

The fact that humans are now living twice as long as they did 100 years ago is due in large part to medical research and engineering. Hi Tech health hardware is ever improving surgical techniques into micro-surgery.

Vaccines have removed many of the scourges of humanity’s past, that often ended the lives of the very young; and the doctor’s bag is filled with insulin to treat diabetes, antibiotics for infections, medication for high blood pressure, statins for atherosclerosis, and many others.

Successful research into treatments for cancer and AIDS have quickly expanded man’s knowledge of the most ancient of diseases to the newest, revealing beautiful and profound secrets in the newly discovered world of genetics. This century will see unimaginable new benefits and treatments as science deciphers the human gene.

Many health challenges remain, however, foremost among them is the obesity epidemic. If you are overweight or obese, your chances of developing many diseases or conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and certain cancers, are significantly increased.

A government study from 1991 and 2007, found the amount of physical activity among U.S. teens has not in fact changed significantly over the past two decades while the population, including children, has gotten heavier. A lack of exercise is not to blame, then, for the one-third of the U.S. children and teens that are now overweight or obese. Only one-third of U.S. adolescents meet the recommended health levels of physical activity (the same as 20 years ago) and obesity continues to rise.

Overall, only 35 percent of teenagers surveyed meet the current recommendations for physical activity — performing activities that gets the heart rate up at least one hour per day, five or more days out of the week.

But, the health trend is encouraging as the time spent in school physical education classes has increased. Thirty percent of high schoolers in 2007 were taking a daily physical education class compared to 25 percent in 1995.

weight loss health dietsReducing the glycemic (carbohydrate) load may be especially important to achieve weight loss among young adults and individuals with high insulin secretion. This is consistent with prior studies of diabetic patients in which low carbohydrate diets were more beneficial.

Diabetic Diets of low glycemic index (LGI) foods, such as lentils, provide a slower, more consistent source of glucose to the bloodstream, thereby stimulating less insulin release and hunger pangs than high glycemic index foods, such as the American jet fuel breakfast of a coke and a donut.

Clearly, a healthy diet is the most important factor that determines your weight; and here is the secret of all Weight Loss Programs, Go Hungry!

It’s not really as gruesome as all that. Simply by changing your diet, you may be fooled into thinking you’re not hungry at all. A diet that is protein based will keep you feeling “full” longer; and soup made from the same meal (everything in the blender) will “stay with you” longer yet. Soup diets, however, become boring.

The Mediterranean Diet, so often mentioned lately, and the “French Paradox” is real alright and if you’re going to make a difference in your life, it’s going to involve a major lifestyle change. That’s all!

Dessert is OK to eat. You save “room” for it by having smaller portions of the main courses. But, stay away from desserts loaded with refined sugars that are dear to the heart of many North Americans. French desserts tend to be more of the rich fatty variety than they are of the sticky sweet sort.

The essential thing you need to do is keep track of the total number of calories you eat in a day. All the rest are minor details.

Any diet that fails to meet minimum nutritional requirements can threaten general health (and physical fitness in particular). If a person is not well enough to be active, weight loss and good quality of life will be unlikely.

An American Journal of Preventive Medicine study showed that dieters who keep a daily food diary (or diet journal) of what they ate lost twice as much weight as those who did not. The researchers concluded, “It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories.” Then again, people have a tendency to significantly underestimate the daily calories they consume. Diet journaling software and websites have become popular in helping people count calories and quickly plan healthy, nutritionally balanced menus.

As in much of life, motivation and determination will decide. The popular Nike saying, “Just Do It!” can be the answer to taking that first and most important step.

No matter who we are or where we rate on the BMI, we all can improve our health. Whether it’s weight loss or body building, here you will find the most popular and successful diets and exercise programs to raise your level of fitness and live a longer, happier life.

girl boxer

Physical Exercise

Any health fitness program should include exercise routines (“Move It or Lose It!”) that last 20 to 30 minutes and are done at least 3 days a week. For more dramatic results increase your program to 45 to 60 minutes, 5 days a week.

A healthy diet includes food from all food groups. Vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, legumes, lean proteins and low-fat milk products should be your daily fare.

The “Building Blocks”
The average woman 25 years of age and older should get 50 grams of protein each day, and the average man 25 years of age and older should get 63 grams of protein each day to maintain proper health.

Adequate protein is important because it prevents muscle tissue from breaking down and repairs all body tissues such as skin and teeth. To get adequate protein in your diet, make sure you eat 2-3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts.

At least 100 grams of carbohydrates per day are needed to prevent fatigue and dangerous fluid imbalances. To make sure you get enough carbohydrates, eat 6-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta.

The importance of vegetables and the minerals they provide cannot be overstated. The healthiest vegetables are dark leafy green (broccoli), orange (sweet potato) and red (tomato). The optimum method to eat all vegetables is freshly picked, washed and raw.

Eat plenty of fruit (vitamin C) to keep your immune system tuned and in good health.

health pizza

Fat Can Be Beautiful
Never forget that 30% (no more) of your calories should come from those WONDERFUL unsaturated fats…Olive, Safflower, Grapeseed, Nuts, Avocado, etc,. Limit animal fats! (But, I luvvv pizza).

Saturated Fats and Trans Fatty Acids raise your bad cholesterol levels, contributing to all types of health problems, including heart disease. Saturated fats are found in beef, veal, lamb, pork, lard, butter, cream, whole milk dairy products and can be present in processed foods like frozen dinners and some canned food. Always check food labels before purchasing. Trans fatty acids, the kind of fats that increase the health risk of heart disease, are formed during the process of creating cooking oils, shortening, and margarine that are found in commercially prepared foods. When checking food labels, make sure the ingredients do not include hydrogenated fats.

For your health and your body beautiful, head on over to the BMI Calculator.

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