Healthy lifestyles: how to get the best version of yourself

Cultivating healthy lifestyles is essential to enjoy complete well -being , both physical and mental . Although this is something that we all want, often, when it comes to taking action, we look for excuses and end up eating in an inappropriate way and leading a sedentary life. This is a shame, since to get the best version of ourselves , it is enough to incorporate certain habits into our routine . Like everything, at first it costs a bit, however the reward is very gratifying, because what is better than taking care of ourselves and those we love the most?

What do we understand by “health”? 

Normally we associate health with the absence of pathologies, however, it is much more than that. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ” health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being , and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity “. 

As you can see, health goes beyond the body, as it also has to do with our mind and our social relationships. Therefore, to achieve a healthy lifestyle it is essential to work on these three aspects

In general, the ones that we tend to neglect the most are the first two, that is, our body and our mind. For this reason, in the following sections we give you the keys to take care of them in the best possible way by incorporating some habits. 

Healthy lifestyles: The 4 pillars of physical well-being 

That the mind and the body are closely related is something we have known for a long time. The Greeks already coined the expression “ Mens sana in corpore sano ”. It would be for a reason!

And it is that, the basis of good mental health is physical well-being. But what exactly does it consist of taking care of our body? Once again, the approach is global: it is not enough to exercise, but it is also necessary to have a proper diet, sleep well, avoid tobacco and other toxins, and even have regular medical check-ups. 

Here are some guidelines for cultivating the four pillars on which physical well-being is based: diet, physical activity, rest and the absence of harmful habits for the body. 


  • Prioritize unprocessed foods

Today’s hectic pace of life means that we often turn to ultra-processed foods: they are convenient, tasty and already cooked. It’s a big mistake! This type of food is the most harmful due to its high content of sugar, salt, fat, preservatives, dyes and additives. Therefore, whenever you can, say no to the ultra-processed!

The lack of time is not an excuse, since replacing them with healthy options is perfectly compatible with a lifestyle in which time is not spared. For example, instead of having a muffin with your mid-morning coffee, you can eat a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit.

The key is that you always prioritize natural foods. The less processed what you eat, the better. There are applications like MyRealFood that let you know if a product is ultra-processed, processed but not very harmful (good processing), or is healthy food (real food). To know this information about a product, just scan its barcode and voila! We have quick and key information for healthy eating.

  • Read the labels: avoid harmful additives, added sugar and trans fats

Get used to reading labels, as they contain essential information to know what we really eat. Many ingredients, as is the case with additives, have nomenclatures by which it is difficult to deduce if they are harmful or not. To help us in the task of identifying them, today we have such practical tools as that tells us if an additive is “non-harmful”, “suspicious” or “dangerous”, as well as its origin, which it can be “animal”, “vegetable” or “synthetic”. To do this, you just have to enter the ingredient code, for example E-201. In this case we will see that we are dealing with a preservative, specifically sodium sorbate, of chemical or synthetic origin and not harmful.

As a rule, always choose those foods that have fewer “harmful” additives or, better yet, those in which they are all “harmless”.

In addition to additives, when you read the label you should also look at the amount of sugar and saturated fat in the food. The former are added to many products unnecessarily, something that has harmful effects on health. For this reason, always opt for products that do not have added sugars or, if they do, it is in a very small proportion. In the same way, always try to rule out foods with saturated fats -because they increase blood cholesterol and promote inflammation in the body- and with trans fats., which are even more harmful. The latter are obtained by an artificial process in which liquid oil is transformed into solid fat (such as butter or margarine). Until now there was no European or Spanish legislation that required to declare its presence on the label. Luckily as of April 2, 2021, no industrial food for sale in the EU may contain more than two grams of trans fat per 100 grams of fat, as recently approved by the European Commission. Until then, if the label says the product contains vegetable oils and the term “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” appears, it is trans fat.

  • Avoid pesticides and artificial substances 

Today, in order to improve productivity, the use of pesticides in agriculture has increased . Although this is regulated, many of the fruits and vegetables that reach our table still contain traces of chemicals. Therefore, it is better to peel the fruit before eating it. When you see an apple in the greengrocer that shines a lot, if you buy it, try to peel it before eating it because they have probably added “waxes” to achieve that unusual shine in a fruit. For this reason, peel the fruit, wash the vegetables very well, or opt for products of organic origin , free of pesticides. 

  • Do not forget to include at least five daily servings of fruit and vegetables in your diet

They are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants that will help you fight infections, and alleviate the effects of oxidative stress in the body , one of the causes of aging and cell damage. These foods also promote intestinal transit and detoxification of the body, all advantages!

  • Moderate the consumption of red meat

It is not a question of removing it from your diet, but of limiting its consumption, since there is evidence that associates the habitual consumption of this type of meat with the risk of colorectal cancer . You can replace it with white meat of chicken, turkey or fish. 

  • Switch to whole foods

Integral is not synonymous with bland or tasteless. Quite the opposite! Cereals or whole grain flours are very tasty and, best of all, they contain more vitamins and minerals, favor intestinal transit and do not cause rapid increases in blood sugar levels , as is the case with refined flours. 

  • Do not abuse alcohol

As in the case of red meat, it is not a question of suppressing it from your diet, but of consuming it in moderation, since abusing alcohol has proven harmful effects on health.

  • Drink water

Keep your body hydrated by drinking 2 liters of water a day. This habit will help you purify your body by eliminating waste through urine, perspiration and intestinal transit.

your life habits

  • Do exercise

Exercise is another way to join a healthy lifestyle. Get at least 2.5 hours of exercise a week , since below that a person is considered to be inactive. Choose an activity that you like and practice it, choose to walk instead of taking public transport or the car, or look for an application to exercise at home, any option is fine! The important thing is to stay active, because the benefits are multiple. For example, did you know that physical activity releases endorphins that make us feel good and activates our immune system ?

In addition, regular exercise affects your quality of life, as it provides you with more resistance to physical fatigue and less willingness to fall and break bones. For this reason, it is very important to continue practicing it in advanced ages.

  • Do not smoke

Tobacco smoke contains thousands of chemical substances, of which at least 70 are carcinogenic… there is not much more to say.

  • Sleep the hours your body needs

If you are one of those who sacrifice hours of sleep to gain extra time a day, you are attacking your health. Lack of sleep has detrimental consequences both in the short and medium and long term. When we sleep our body recovers from daily activity and our brain rests and organizes itself. Most adults need to rest between 7 and 9 hours to feel good. Resting correctly improves memory, protects the heart, and even reduces depression. 

Mental well-being, key to a healthy life 

It is of little use to worry about our physical health if we neglect our mental well-being. Therefore:

  • Save your daily time for yourself

Give yourself a moment every day to do what you like or relax, without thinking about anything else: whether it’s reading a good book, practicing yoga or boxing or crocheting. Pampering yourself is the first step to reducing stress and being comfortable with yourself and the people around you.

  • Share quality time with your partner or friends

Human beings are “social animals” . By nature we need to interact with our peers and have true and close relationships. Loneliness has negative effects both mentally and physically, so do not neglect your affective ties and cultivate them as much as you can. In this case, without moderation!

As you can see, the habits that we propose to lead a healthy lifestyle are simple and within everyone’s reach . Its incorporation into our routine can be a bit uphill at first, but they bring so many benefits that make it worth getting down to work and changing bad habits for better ones.

The habits we implement at home also help our families to improve. In the case of the little ones, this can be of great help, since they are developing their customs and tastes, and therefore guiding them towards the most beneficial ones will be something that they will have for the rest of their lives.

Taking care of ourselves and avoiding the appearance of many conditions depends largely on our decisions and behavior. Did you know that  approximately 50% of cancers could be avoided with healthy lifestyle habits? This does not mean that by adopting these types of habits we are going to be sure of not presenting this disease, but surely we will get fewer ballots, so it is worth trying, right?

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