Tips for our patients on how to stay healthy

  • By Judith Sullivan
  • 03 Apr, 2017
  • 17 May, 2016

Little Lifestyle Changes That Will Help You Get Healthier

You should not smoke

If you smoke, stopping smoking is often the single most effective thing that you can do to reduce your risk of future illness. The risk to health falls rapidly as soon as you stop smoking (but takes a few years before the increased risk reduces completely). If you find it hard to stop smoking, then please consult a smoking cessation clinic or service.

Undertake regular physical activity

Anything that gets you mildly out-of-breath and a little sweaty is fine, for example: jogging, heavy gardening, swimming, cycling, etc. A brisk walk each day is what many people do - and that is fine. However, it is thought that the more vigorous the activity, the better. To gain most benefit you should do at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days. Two shorter bursts are thought to be just as good as for example two 15-minute bouts of activity at different times in a day.

Eat a healthy diet

Briefly, a healthy diet means:

• AT LEAST five portions, and ideally 7-9 portions, of a variety of fruit and vegetables per day.

• THE BULK OF MOST MEALS should be starch-based foods (such as cereals, wholegrain bread, potatoes, rice, pasta), plus fruit and vegetables.

• NOT MUCH fatty food such as fatty meats, cheeses, full-cream milk, fried food, butter, etc. Use low fat, mono- or poly-unsaturated spreads.

• INCLUDE 2-3 portions of fish per week, at least one of which should be 'oily' (such as herring, mackerel, sardines, kippers, pilchards, salmon, or fresh tuna).

• If you eat meat it is best to eat lean meat or poultry such as chicken.

• If you do fry, choose a vegetable oil such as sunflower, rapeseed or olive.

• Try not to add salt to food, and limit foods that are salty.

Don't have too many sugary foods and drinks

Sugary foods and drinks are high in calories, and too much may cause weight gain. It isn't just the amount of sugar that may be bad. Even eating small amounts of sugary foods (sweets, etc.) too often is bad for teeth. Tips include:

• Try not to add sugar to tea, coffee, and breakfast cereals. Your taste for sweetness often changes with time. Use artificial sweeteners only if necessary.

• Reduce sugar in any kind of recipe. Use fruit as an alternative to add sweetness to recipes.

• Try sugar-free drinks. Give children water as their main drink.

• If you eat chocolate or sweets, try to keep the quantity down. Eating them as part of a meal, and then brushing your teeth, is better than between meals as snacks.

Don't drink too much alcohol

A small amount of alcohol is usually fine, but too much can be harmful. Men should drink no more than 21 units per week (and no more than 4 units in any one day). Women should drink no more than 14 units per week (and no more than 3 units in any one day). One unit is in about half a pint of normal strength beer, or two thirds of a small glass of wine, or one small pub measure of spirits.

Further tips on healthy independent living can be obtained from your GP, Practice Nurse, Podiatrist other Healthcare Professional.

By Judith Sullivan 12 Jun, 2017
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