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Five key factors for maintaining good health

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If you wish to live a long and healthy life, there are various positive lifestyle elements to consider. When it comes to nutrition, activity, sleep, alcohol consumption, and smoking, making informed and intentional decisions can minimise your health risks and perhaps add years to your life. These 5 lifestyle changes are the ones with the most evidence for extending your life expectancy.

Eating Well-Balanced Meals

The Mediterranean diet is rich in many of the “healthiest” foods. The more you follow the Mediterranean diet, the lower your risk of a host of diseases. Michael Pollan suggests, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Of those plants, you have the best chance of getting the phytonutrients you need by eating a rainbow of colours. It’s helpful to have some guidance on what to eat day to day, which underlies many popular diet fads.

Some of the components of the Mediterranean diet include fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. Foods that aren’t components include highly processed foods, refined grains, refined oils.

Exercising regularly

Exercising helps to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also helps with breathing and enhances lung capacity. It boosts your mental health, reduces stress, improves your sleep, and lifts your spirits. It increases bone density and lowers the risk of osteoporosis in later life.

Reducing alcohol consumption

Drinking more than one drink a day can lead to health issues such as heart disease and liver cancer. Alcohol can be addictive, and if you have a drinking problem, you are at a higher risk of accidents and violence.

Keep a check on mental and physical health.

As a rule of thumb, you should see your doctor for checkups at least every two to three years if you are under 50 and once a year if you are 50 or over. It is a good idea to have an open and honest relationship with your doctor, as he or she will help you navigate your health journey through life. Remember that most diseases can be cured if they are detected at an early stage. This applies to your mental health, too.

Plenty of sleep

A good night’s sleep is essential because it allows your body to recover and recharge. Every night, you should receive at least seven hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation can have significant consequences for your physical and emotional health.

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