To stay healthy should be everybody’s priority: however, current evidence shows otherwise. About a billion people globally are malnourished. As some strive to find what to eat, others eat in excesses and become overweight, culminating in obesity and its complications. We stress that to stay healthy is beyond food and being free from disease – you must perform a few endeavours. Here are twelve tips to help you achieve that.
As the saying goes – an apple a day keeps a doctor away: you must eat a healthy diet. We discussed diet and exercise in an article here. We also explained how a ‘perfect’ diet should be. You’ve routinely heard that you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a princess, and dinner like a beggar. Eat more during the day than during the night. It’s never about eating animal proteins day in, day out but feeding on various nutrients daily for as much as you. There’s no substitute for naturally occurring foods. Fast foods are never good for the body. It’s imperative to ascertain that not all foods are a fit for your body. We should also highlight the importance of acknowledging food allergy. If you experienced an outright allergy to meat and its products since birth, do not take herbs to reverse this. You may probably hurt your pancreas and eventually develop diabetes.
After a healthy diet, perform graded physical exercises curated for your body. Be active every day, your way. Develop a fitness plan that involves using resources at your disposal. No one needs a gym to run or perform Kegel exercises. All you need is to allocate time. Early morning routines are the best. You need at least 30 minutes of moderate workouts at least thrice a week to guarantee the required level of body fitness that necessitates good health. Do you want to build muscles? Reshape the abs? It’s easy – get the necessary tools and trainers – physical or virtual, anyone can deliver. Exercising accelerates body metabolism that culminates in fat breakdown, which eventually lowers the risk of accumulating excess body fat. Excess body fats may clog inside blood vessels: stiffening them, which leads to increased resistance to blood flow. You eventually develop high blood pressure – a precursor for a multitude of cardiovascular diseases. Routine exercises are the key to physical fitness. Start small, generate momentum, and repeat the act on a timely basis.
One of the medical wonders that have blessed our planet is vaccines. Many infectious diseases curtailed the child’s ability to live beyond their fifth birthday. Vaccine-preventable maladies caused poor growth and development among children under five years. But the advent of vaccines against such prevented an apocalypse that had befallen our predecessors in the earlier generations. It becomes paramount that as a parent, you immunize your child as per the national guidelines to guarantee a healthy living. Vaccine development technology has evolved so much, the pinnacle demonstrated by the ground-breaking mRNA vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines. In times of atrocities like the Covid-19 pandemic, it becomes a matter of public importance that you receive the jab to protect yourself and all those around you. Vaccines are safe, and they save lives. Even if you haven’t witnessed a covid-19 death, your refusal to take the jab may keep the rest of the neighbours still stricken by poverty because they neither work nor can they continue getting full-scale salaries. Mind you – many people still receive pay-cuts every month because people like you have failed to behave. Swallow your ignorance and pride and understand that to stay healthy implies receiving all the necessary vaccines like the hepatitis B vaccine.
An apple a day keeps a doctor away: you must eat a healthy diet.
Do not smoke or use any form of tobacco. If there’s one habit that if you cling onto it, its consequences are dire, it is tobacco smoking. Cigarette smoking causes lung cancer – one of the most notorious malignancies that exit on the planet. It also causes many diseases like chronic obstructive airway disease, bronchiectasis, emphysema, and cardiovascular disorders. Smoking in pregnancy is catastrophic for the unborn child – it predisposes them to a multitude of complications. It includes congenital anomalies. It’s imperative to ascertain the increased risks of exposure to smoke among women that use unclean fuels to cook. Such women do so in environments that continually expose their lungs to soot. Such women are at high risks of respiratory disorders. We must ensure that our kitchens have adequate airflow. Do not cook from inside the house. And if you must do so, open the windows and the doors to prevent soot from accumulating within the house as it will expose you and your family members to diseases like pneumonia.
Alcohol is a disaster for your health in whatever quantities. Try and quit alcohol consumption. Alcohol can affect any part of your body. In acute situations, it affects how your brain functions – hangover. In its chronicity, apart from gastric ulcers, alcohol inadvertently affects how the liver functions. The series of events that follow may result in alcoholic liver disease, liver failure, and cancer. The liver is one of the most vital organs in your body. Guard it well. Acute and chronic liver disease is devastating to you and your family. By the time you succumb to liver failure, you might have sold whatever assets you had – if any. Getting a new liver (liver transplant) is costly: Securing a compatible donor is a formidable challenge. You don’t achieve anything from taking alcohol-containing drinks apart from a transient episode of ecstasy and euphoria. You wouldn’t want to sell your soul for this. Can the world stop alcohol consumption? No. however, you aren’t the whole world.
In your pursuit to reduce alcohol consumption, do not drink and drive. Do not speed. Respect the various speed limits displayed on the roadsides. When you are late, do not rush. You cannot be late twice. Manage your time effectively such that you drive or ride in harmony. When you are drunk, call a friend to take you home. If you are lucky, you may contact the police, and they help you out. You can as well have a standby Boda-boda cyclist to take you home. Call your spouse to help you out. All in all, DO NOT DRINK and DRIVE. Life is too precious to waste it in a nasty accident because you wanted to beat curfew time or you weren’t sober. Over-speeding only fastens your way to your grave, not your earthly destination. Understand that.
While on the road, acknowledge that you are the only skilled driver or cyclist. The rest are beginners. When you are a passenger, the driver won’t protect you from impact following a sudden stop or an accident. Always wear your seatbelt or helmet. A recent study in Kampala noted that more cyclists wear helmets than before. Sadly, only a few of their passengers do so. It may not make sense to a bystander who sees you with a helmet in your other hand if you are a frequent boda-boda user. It does make sense to you. Wearing a helmet lowers the probability of a head injury or death during an accident. A seatbelt may be the bridge between life and death after a devastating accident along the Kampala-Jinja highway. Utilize it. Do not wait for the government to run adverts all over media outlets reminding you to do so. It’s one of the tips to stay healthy.
It OK to have stress. You cannot be slopping downhill all the time. At times, you may encounter an uphill battle that you cannot overcome. Learn to manage stress for your physical and mental health. Anxiety and depression are more common than you can ever imagine. One person attempts and completes suicide every forty seconds globally! Isn’t that alarming? When you feel overwhelmed, do not suffer alone: confide in your next of kin – spouse, parent, friend, chaplain, imam, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Share your fears with those who can help you out. Mental illness isn’t witchcraft. Do not go to a traditional healer. Failure to manage stress is the precursor of all your lifetime calamities and the beginning of poor health.
Practice safe sex. Well, the definition of safe sex is an area of serious debate, especially among health care providers. However, if you have sex with only one partner who only has sex with you when neither of you has a sexually transmitted infection (STI), we may term that as safe sex (hopkinsmedicine.org). We consider kissing as a safe activity, but you may spread or catch herpes infection this way. It is a general remark that condom use protects against sexually transmitted atrocities. But we often forget that people do various endeavours during intimacy. I have occasionally encountered patients with gonorrhoea of the pharynx (Gonococcal pharyngitis). So, it’s prudent that you limit your sexual activity to only one partner who is having sex only with you to reduce the chances of catching a sexually transmitted disease, including HIV. You can read more about the guidelines for safer sex from here.
You must practice good hygiene if you want to stay healthy. Most diseases stem from poor hygiene: diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid, peptic ulcer disease, parasitic infections, among others. Wash your hands regularly before and after eating food. Clean your hands with clean water and soap after toilet use. There’s no substitute for cleanliness. A clean body breeds a healthy mind. You cannot escape the wrath of almost all infectious illnesses unless you maintain adequately good hygiene. Proper sanitation that involves clearing the bushes around our homes, draining stagnant water, safe cooking practices will prevent multiple infections like malaria and pneumonia, especially among children. It’s prudent that you only drink boiled water or mineral water from companies reputable for excellent quality. At the very minimum, that drinking mineral water bottle should bear a UNBS mark of quality before you use it. Only consume well-prepared food – and we cannot overemphasize it.
Breastmilk is the optimal food for infants below six months of age. All newly born babies must breastfeed within one hour following delivery. The advantages of breastfeeding are enormous. They range from providing nutrients suitable for the growing baby to strengthening the maternal-baby bonding, immunity uplifting to fight infections, and optimal brain development. Only provide baby formula if it’s the only appropriate choice you have. Do not prematurely start mixed-feeding. You risk causing malnutrition in the child, as well as the complications that accompany it. Breastfed babies grow well and better if you compare them to their non-breastfed counterparts. Besides, breastmilk is cheap and readily available. Very few of us can afford baby formula.
Lastly, after you’ve done all the above, go for regular body check-ups. You may catch a large intestine cancer early enough that surgery will cure it. You may accidentally find out that you have hypertension before it damages your heart. It will grant you a chance to rectify your lifestyle before disaster strikes. Routine check-ups among pregnant women (antenatal care contacts) have proven to be the most vital interventions to have befallen this vulnerable population. Pregnant women can know their blood group, HIV serostatus, haemoglobin concentration, blood pressure status, as well as the well-being of their developing unborn baby – all aiming at a desirable pregnancy outcome. You may be unconsciously gaining weight, but stepping onto a weighing balance may be the only thing you needed to prevent obesity and its complications. Many diseases do not sound warning bells in their early stages: routine medical check-ups become paramount to pick them out.
In a nutshell, you control the fate of your life in terms of health. Diligently practise all the twelve health tips above in a slow but steady manner: and your life will never be the same. You may wonder whether you won’t die if you do all of these. The answer – yes. You will eventually die but from causes that may not be your own making. Who doesn’t desire to die of old age? We do all the above, and we shall have a few premature deaths as possible.