The start of a new decade brings with it new resolutions to improve one’s life, including a healthier lifestyle. Here are 20 practical health tips to help you start off towards healthy living in 2020.
Eat a combination of different foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. Adults should eat at least five portions (400g) of fruits and vegetables per day. You can improve your intake of fruits and vegetables by always including veggies in your meal; eating fresh fruit and vegetables as snacks; eating a variety of fruits and vegetables; and eating them in season. By eating healthy, you will reduce your risk of malnutrition and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
2. Consume less salt and sugar
Filipinos consume twice the recommended amount of sodium, putting them at risk of high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Most people get their sodium through salt. Reduce your salt intake to 5g per day, equivalent to about one teaspoon. It’s easier to do this by limiting the amount of salt, soy sauce, fish sauce and other high-sodium condiments when preparing meals; removing salt, seasonings and condiments from your meal table; avoiding salty snacks; and choosing low-sodium products.
On the other hand, consuming excessive amounts of sugar increases the risk of tooth decay and unhealthy weight gain. In both adults and children, the intake of free sugars should be reduced to less than 10% of total energy intake. This is equivalent to 50g or about 12 teaspoons for an adult. WHO recommends consuming less than 5% of total energy intake for additional health benefits. You can reduce your sugar intake by limiting the consumption of sugary snacks, candies and sugar-sweetened beverages.
3. Reduce intake of harmful fats
Fats consumed should be less than 30% of your total energy intake. This will help prevent unhealthy weight gain and NCDs. There are different types of fats, but unsaturated fats are preferable over saturated fats and trans-fats. WHO recommends reducing saturated fats to less than 10% of total energy intake; reducing trans-fats to less than 1% of total energy intake; and replacing both saturated fats and trans-fats to unsaturated fats.
The preferable unsaturated fats are found in fish, avocado and nuts, and in sunflower, soybean, canola and olive oils; saturated fats are found in fatty meat, butter, palm and coconut oil, cream, cheese, ghee and lard; and trans-fats are found in baked and fried foods, and pre-packaged snacks and foods, such as frozen pizza, cookies, biscuits, and cooking oils and spreads.
4. Avoid harmful use of alcohol
There is no safe level for drinking alcohol. Consuming alcohol can lead to health problems such as mental and behavioral disorders, including alcohol dependence, major NCDs such as liver cirrhosis, some cancers and heart diseases, as well as injuries resulting from violence and road clashes and collisions.
5. Don’t smoke
Smoking tobacco causes NCDs such as lung disease, heart disease and stroke. Tobacco kills not only the direct smokers but even non-smokers through second-hand exposure. Currently, there are around 15.9 million Filipino adults who smoke tobacco but 7 in 10 smokers are interested or plan to quit.
If you are currently a smoker, it’s not too late to quit. Once you do, you will experience immediate and long-term health benefits. If you are not a smoker, that’s great! Do not start smoking and fight for your right to breathe tobacco-smoke-free air.
6. Be active
Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. This includes exercise and activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying out household chores, traveling, and engaging in recreational pursuits. The amount of physical activity you need depends on your age group, but adults aged 18-64 years should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week. Increase moderate-intensity physical activity to 300 minutes per week for additional health benefits.
7. Check your blood pressure regularly
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is called a “silent killer”. This is because many people who have hypertension may not be aware of the problem as it may not have any symptoms. If left uncontrolled, hypertension can lead to heart, brain, kidney and other diseases. Have your blood pressure checked regularly by a health worker so you know your numbers. If your blood pressure is high, get the advice of a health worker. This is vital in the prevention and control of hypertension.
8. Get tested
Getting yourself tested is an important step in knowing your health status, especially when it comes to HIV, hepatitis B, sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) and tuberculosis (TB). Left untreated, these diseases can lead to serious complications and even death. Knowing your status means you will know how to either continue preventing these diseases or, if you find out that you’re positive, get the care and treatment that you need. Go to a public or private health facility, wherever you are comfortable, to have yourself tested.
9. Get vaccinated.
Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent disease. Vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to protect against diseases such as cervical cancer, cholera, diphtheria, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, pneumonia, polio, rabies, rubella, tetanus, typhoid, and yellow fever. are
In the Philippines, free vaccines are provided to children 1 year and below as part of the Department of Health’s routine immunization program. If you are a teenager or adult, you can ask your doctor if you want to check your immunizations or if you want to get vaccinated yourself.
10. Practice safe sex.
Taking care of your sexual health is important to your overall health and well-being. Practice safe sex to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea and syphilis. Prevention measures such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) are available to protect you from HIV and condoms to protect you from HIV and other STIs.
11. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Diseases like influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis are spread through the air. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, infectious agents can spread to others through airborne droplets. When you feel a cough or sneeze, make sure you cover your mouth with a face mask or use a tissue then dispose of it carefully. If you don’t have a tissue nearby when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with the crook of (or inside) your elbow as much as possible.
12. Prevent mosquito bites.
Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest animals in the world. Diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, malaria and lymphatic filariasis are transmitted by mosquitoes and continue to affect Filipinos. You can take simple steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquito-borne diseases. If you are traveling to an area where mosquito-borne diseases are known, consult a doctor to prevent diseases such as Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever, or if you need to take anti-malarial medication. . Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants and use insect repellent. At home, use window and door screens, use bed nets and clean your surroundings weekly to destroy mosquito breeding grounds.
13. Obey traffic laws.
Road accidents claim more than a million lives and injure millions worldwide. Road traffic injuries can be prevented through a number of measures implemented by the government such as stronger legislation and enforcement, safer infrastructure and vehicle standards, and better post-accident care. You yourself can prevent road accidents by making sure you follow traffic rules such as using seat belts for adults and child restraints for your children, helmets when riding a motorcycle or bicycle. wearing, not drinking and driving, and not using mobile phones. Driving
14. Drink only safe water.
Drinking unsafe water can cause waterborne diseases like cholera, diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Globally, at least 2 billion people use a source of drinking water that is contaminated with feces. To make sure the water you drink is safe. In the setting where you are unsure of your water source, boil your water for at least one minute. This will kill the harmful organisms in the water. Allow it to cool naturally before drinking.
15. Breastfeed children aged 0 to 2 years and above.
Breastfeeding is the best way to provide ideal nutrition for newborns and infants. WHO recommends that mothers start breastfeeding within one hour of birth. Breastfeeding for the first six months is very important for the healthy development of the baby. It is recommended that breastfeeding be continued for two years and beyond. In addition to being beneficial for the baby, breastfeeding is also good for the mother as it reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type II diabetes and postpartum depression.
16. Talk to someone you trust if you’re feeling down.
Depression is a common illness worldwide that affects more than 260 million people. Depression can manifest itself in different ways, but it can make you feel hopeless or worthless, or you may think too much about negative and disturbing thoughts or you may feel overwhelming pain. If you’re going through this, remember you’re not alone. Talk to someone you trust such as a family member, friend, colleague or mental health professional about how you feel. If you feel you are at risk of harming yourself, contact the National Center for Mental Health Hotline at 0917-899-USAP (8727).
17. Take only prescribed antibiotics.
Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest public health threats of our generation. When antibiotics lose their potency, bacterial infections become more difficult to treat, leading to higher medical costs, longer hospital stays and increased mortality. Antibiotics are losing their potency due to misuse and overuse in humans and animals. Make sure you take antibiotics only if prescribed by a qualified health professional. And once prescribed, complete the treatment days as directed. Never share antibiotics.
18. Wash your hands properly.
Hand hygiene is important for everyone, not just healthcare workers. Hand hygiene can prevent the spread of infectious diseases. You should wash your hands using soap and water when your hands are visibly dirty or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
19. Prepare your food properly.
Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals causes more than 200 diseases – from diarrhea to cancer. When buying food from the market or store, check the label or the original produce to make sure it is safe to eat. If you are preparing food, make sure you follow the five keys to safe food: (1) keep clean; (2) Raw and cooked separately. (3) cook thoroughly; (4) Keep food at a safe temperature. and (5) use safe water and raw materials.
20. Get regular checkups.
Regular checkups can help detect health problems before they start. Health professionals can help detect and diagnose health problems early, when your chances of treatment and cure are better. Visit your nearest health facility to check the health services, screenings and treatments that are accessible to you.