It's important that athletes like yourself see the link between their habits and their health. They may
regard enjoying good health as a matter of chance or as something over which they have little control.
Such a fatalistic view holds many back from improving their health and leading a more productive life.
There are basic steps you can take to protect and greatly improve your own health and increase the
quality of you life and avoid needlessly shortening it. The fpllowing are five basic keys that can help
you improve your health.
KEY 1 - EAT WISELY
- Eat fresh foods. Concentrate on eating fresh food rather than processed foods.
Commercially prepackaged foods and fast food from chain restaurants usually contain
high levels of sugar, salt, and fat, which are associated with heart disease, stroke,
cancer, and other serious illnesses. When cooking, try steaming, baking, and broiling
instead of frying. Try using more herbs and spices to cut down on salt. Make sure
meats are properly cooked, and never eat spoiled food.
- Do not eat too much. The World Health Organization reports a dangerous worldwide
increase in overweight and obese children, often the result of overeating. One study
found that in parts of Agrica, "there are more children who are overweight than
malnourished." Obese children are at risk of present as well as future health
problems, including diabetes. Parents, set a good example for your children by limiting
your own portions.
- Eat mostly plants. A balanced plate favors a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole
grains over meats and starches. Once or twice a week, try substituting fish for meat.
Reduce white rice, which have been stripped of much of their natural value. But avoid
potentially dangerous fad diets. Patents. protec your children's health by helping them
to acquire a taste for foods that are healthful. For example, give them nuts and
thoroughly washed fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks instead of chips or candy.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Children need to drink plenty of water and other unsweetened
liquids every day. Drinking more of these during hot weather and when doing heavy
physical activities and exercise. Such liquids aid digestion, cleanse their body of
poisons, make for healthier skin, and promote weight loss. They help your child feel
and look their best. Avoid allowing your child to drink excessive amounts of soda or
sweetened drinks. One soft drink a day can add 15 pounds (6.8 kg) to a child's weight
in a year.
KEY 2 - TAKE CARE OF BASIC BODY NEEDS
- Get enough rest. The demands and distractions of modern life have whittled away at
the time people spend sleeping. But sleep is essential to good health. Studies show
that during sleep our body and brain repair themselves, benefiting memory and mood.
Sleep reinforces the immune system and reduces our risk of infection, diabetes,
stroke, heart disease, cancer, obesity, depression, and perhaps even Alzheimer’s
disease. Rather than artificially bypassing sleepiness—our natural “safety device”—
with sweets, caffeine, or other stimulants, we should heed it and simply get some
sleep. Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep every night to look, feel, and
perform their best. Young people need more. Sleep-deprived teens are more prone to
have psychological troubles and to fall asleep when driving.
Sleep is especially important when we are sick. Our body can overcome some
illnesses, such as a cold, if we simply get extra sleep and drink plenty of fluids.
- Take care of your teeth. Brushing your teeth and flossing them after meals, and
especially before going to bed, will help ward off tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth
loss. Without our own teeth, we may not benefit fully from the food we eat. It is reported
that elephants do not die of old age but that they slowly starve to death after their teeth
wear down and they can no longer chew properly. Children who have been taught to
brush and floss their teeth after eating will enjoy better health in youth and throughout
- Go to the doctor. Some ailments call for professional medical attention. Early
diagnosis usually results in a better outcome and less expense. So if you do not feel
well, get help to find and eliminate the cause, instead of merely seeking to relieve the
Regular checkups from accredited health-care providers can head off many serious
problems, as can getting professional medical attention during pregnancy.* Keep in
mind, though, that doctors cannot perform miracles.
KEY 3 - KEEP YOURSELF MOVING
- Exert yourself. Leading a physically active life can help us feel happier, think more
clearly, have more energy, be more productive and, along with proper diet, control our
weight. Exercise need not be painful or extreme to be effective. Regular periods of
moderate exercise several times a week can be very beneficial.
Jogging, brisk walking, biking, and taking part in active sports—enough both to get
your heart beating faster and to cause you to break a sweat—can improve your
endurance and help to prevent heart attack and stroke. Combining such aerobic
exercise with moderate weight training and calisthenics helps to strengthen your
bones, internal muscles, and limbs. These activities also contribute to maintaining a
higher metabolism, which automatically helps to control your weight.
- Use your feet. Exercise is beneficial for people of all ages, and membership in a gym
is not required to get it. Simply using your feet instead of a car, bus, or elevator is a
good start. Why wait for a ride when you can walk to your destination, perhaps even
arriving there faster? Parents, encourage your children to participate in physical play,
outdoors whenever possible. Such activity strengthens their bodies and helps them to
develop whole-body coordination in ways that sedentary entertainment, such as video
No matter how old you are when you start, you can benefit from moderate physical
exercise. If you are older or have health problems and have not been exercising, it is
wise to consult a doctor about how to begin. But do begin! Exercise that is started
gradually and not overdone can help even the oldest among us to maintain muscle
strength and bone mass. It can also help seniors to avoid falls.
Exercise can be enjoyable
KEY 4—PROTECT YOUR HEALTH
- Keep yourself clean. “Hand washing is the single most important thing that you can
do to help prevent the spread of infection and to stay healthy and well,” reports the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As many as 80 percent of infections are
said to be passed on by unclean hands. So wash them often throughout the day. Do
so especially before eating, preparing food, or dressing or even touching a wound, and
do so after touching an animal, using the toilet, or changing a baby’s diaper.
Washing with soap and water is more effective than using alcohol-based hand
sanitizers. Children stay healthier when parents train them to wash their hands and to
keep them away from their mouth and eyes. Bathing every day and keeping your
clothes and bed linens fresh and clean also contribute to better health.
- Avoid infectious disease. Avoid close physical contact or the sharing of eating utensils
with any who have a cold or the flu. Their saliva and nasal secretions can pass the
illness on to you. Such blood-borne diseases as hepatitis B and C and HIV/AIDS are
transmitted primarily through sexual contact, intravenous drug use, and transfusion.
Vaccination can help to prevent some infections, but a wise person must still take
necessary precautions when with someone who has an infectious disease. Avoid
insect bites. Do not sit or sleep outdoors unprotected when mosquitoes or other
disease-carrying insects are active. Use bed nets, especially for children, and use
- Keep your home clean. Make whatever extra effort is needed to keep your home tidy
and clean, inside and out. Eliminate any places where water can collect and
mosquitoes can breed. Litter, filth, and uncovered foods and garbage attract insects
and vermin, all of which can bring in microbes and cause disease. If there is no toilet,
build a simple latrine rather than just relieving yourself in a field. Cover the latrine to
keep out flies, which transmit eye infection and other diseases.
- Avoid injuring yourself. Obey safety laws when working, riding a bicycle or motorcycle,
or driving a car. Make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. Use appropriate protective
equipment and clothing, such as safety glasses, headgear, and footwear, as well as
seat belts and hearing protection. Avoid excessive sun exposure, which causes cancer
and premature aging of the skin. If you smoke, stop. Quitting now will significantly
lower your risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke.
KEY 5 - MOTIVATE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY
- Keep learning. Public and private institutions in many lands provide educational
programs and literature on a wide range of health topics. Take advantage of them, and
educate yourself about basic ways to improve your health and to avoid endangering it.
Keep an open mind, and be willing to make simple adjustments.
The good habits you learn and put into practice may well benefit your children and their
children after them. When parents set a good example in regard to healthful nutrition,
cleanliness, sleep habits, exercise, and disease prevention, their offspring are likely to
What more is needed? It takes more than self-interest to establish and maintain a
healthful way of life. Eliminating long-standing bad habits can be daunting, and
making even simple adjustments often requires strong motivation. Even the threat of
serious illness and death may not move some to do what they know is good for them.
What will? Like all of us, they need to keep in mind a higher purpose, or objective, in
- Mates need to remain healthy and strong to continue helping each other. Parents
desire to go on supporting and training their children. Grown children need to care for
aging relatives. Add to this the noble desire to be a blessing to the community rather
than a burden. All of this involves love and concern for others.
Enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle
TAKE STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH
Do not give up! Whatever adjustments you need to make, you may experience more success by
starting gradually and not setting unreachable goals for yourself. For example, try cutting down on
less-healthful foods, rather than cutting them out. Try going to bed a little earlier and getting a little
more exercise. Doing something is better than doing nothing. It normally takes time—weeks or
months—before a new good habit becomes second nature. In the meantime, if you do not see
immediate benefits from your extra efforts, do not despair. If you persist, despite setbacks, your health
is likely to improve.
In this imperfect world, it is impossible for anyone to attain perfect health. When you get sick, it may
be the result, not of negligence on your part, but of inherent human frailty. Therefore, do not let health
concerns, or anything else, cause you undue stress and anxiety. ) Instead, simply try to avoid things
that needlessly shorten life and impair its quality.
|FIVE KEYS TO HEALTHY LIVING
| Nutritious Foods Within Your Reach
According to the 1998 World Health Report of the World Health Organization (WHO), as many as 800
million people are in danger of dying from excesses in eating. An unbalanced diet can lead to such
chronic illnesses as obesity, atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, cirrhosis, and various types of
Many people do not understand the relationship between their state of health and their eating habits.
Perhaps this is because the effect of a poor diet on one's health is not manifest immediately. But a
healthful diet can prevent many illnesses. In fact, WHO estimates that up to 40 percent of cancer cases
could be prevented by better eating habits and by exercise. But how can you improve your diet?
How to Improve Your Diet
Some consider food to be divided into three main groups. The first group includes cereals, such as
corn, wheat, rice, oats, rye, barley, and millet, as well as tubers, such as potatoes and yams. These
carbohydrates supply quick energy. The second group includes legumes, such as beans, soybeans,
lentils, chick-peas, and broad beans, and some foods of animal origin, such as meat, fish, eggs, and
milk and its derivatives. These are a source of protein, iron, zinc, and several vitamins. The third group
includes fruits and vegetables. These provide essential vitamins and minerals. They also supply fiber
and provide energy, and they represent the only natural source of vitamin C.
THE FIRST GROUP:
cereals and tubers
THE SECOND GROUP:
legumes, meat, fish, eggs, and milk and its
THE THIRD GROUP:
fruits and vegetables
According to Dr. Héctor Bourges, director of nutrition at the Salvador Zubirán National Institute of Medical
Sciences and Nutrition (INCMNSZ) of Mexico, a healthful diet must be complete, sufficient, and
balanced. He suggests that we "include at least one food from each group in each meal and vary as
much as possible the foods that are used within each group, as well as the form in which they are
It is recommended that animal products be used to complement the dishes, not as the basis of the diet.
For example, preparing a dish using just a few eggs combined with potatoes, vegetables, or beans
known in [the field of] nutrition as 'extending.' A note of caution, however; fruits and vegetables should
always be washed carefully, especially those that are to be eaten raw.
A diet must also be suitable for each individual, and such factors as age, sex, and life-style must be
considered. For example, a diet consisting of two portions of fruit and/or vegetables at each meal and
increasing the consumption of whole-grain cereals and legumes is acceptable. It is also recommended
by some that foods of animal origin be consumed only in small portions at each meal, with preference
given to fish, skinless chicken, and lean meats. It is also suggested that the consumption of fats and
sugars be limited.
|Copyright © 2005 The HUSH Foundation®. All Rights Reserved.
not our field. Health is the responsibility of each person."
You have to accept responsibility and make needed changes in your eating in order to reap wonderful
benefits. The diet you practice can actually work.
What kind of adjustments can we make in our diet? How can we take responsibility for our health and eat
in a way that is likely to improve it?
ECCENSE OF A HEALTHFUL DIET
The essence of a healthful diet is simply making good choices from the foods that are available. For help
in making healthy choices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends the use of a four-tiered food
guide pyramid.—See the chart below.
At the base of the pyramid are complex carbohydrates, which include grain foods, such as bread, cereal,
rice, and pasta. These foods are the foundation of a healthful diet. On the second tier are two equal
sections; one is vegetables, and the other is fruits. These foods are also complex carbohydrates. Most of
your daily diet should be selected from these three food groups.
The third tier has two smaller sections. One section has such foods as milk, yogurt, and cheese; and the
other includes meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts.* Only moderate amounts of foods should be
eaten from these groups. Why? Because most of these foods are rich in cholesterol and saturated fat,
which can increase the risk of coronary disease and cancer.
Finally, at the very top of the pyramid is a small area that includes fats, oils, and sweets. These foods
provide very few nutrients and should be eaten sparingly. More foods should be chosen from the bottom
part of the pyramid, and fewer from the top.
Rather than sticking to the same food items from each section toward the bottom of the pyramid, it is wise
to experiment with a variety of foods within those sections. This is because each food has a different
combination of nutrients and fiber. Some vegetables and fruits, for example, are good sources of vitamins
A and C, while others are high in folic acid, calcium, and iron.
Not surprisingly, vegetarian diets are becoming increasingly popular. "Data are strong that vegetarians are
at lesser risk for obesity, . . . constipation, lung cancer, and alcoholism," says dietitian Johanna Dwyer in
FDA Consumer. And, contrary to what some may believe, with careful, proper planning, even meatless
diets "can meet Recommended Dietary Allowances for nutrients," according to the 1995 dietary guidelines.
An important factor for everyone is keeping dietary-fat intake below 30 percent of total calories and
saturated fat below 10 percent. You can do this without becoming a vegetarian and without unduly
sacrificing your enjoyment of eating. How?
Food Guide Pyramid
Wisely select more foods from the lower levels of the Food Guide Pyramid
Note: Some foods can belong to more than one group. Dry beans and lentils, for example, can be counted as servings in
either the vegetable group or the meat and beans group.
AN IMPORTANT KEY
"Substitution is the key," says Dr. Peter O. Kwiterovich, of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
"Substitute foods low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol for foods high in these fats." Use vegetable
oil and soft margarine in place of animal fat, solid shortening, or ghee—a clarified butter commonly used in
India. Avoid the use of such vegetable oils as palm oil and coconut oil, which are high in saturated fats. And
drastically limit your consumption of commercially made bakery products—doughnuts, cakes, cookies, and
pies—since they commonly contain saturated fats.
In addition, substitute skim or low-fat (1 percent) milk for whole milk, margarine for butter, and low-fat
cheeses for regular cheeses. Also, replace ice cream with ice milk, sherbet, or low-fat frozen yogurt.
Another way to decrease cholesterol in your diet is to reduce your consumption of egg yolks to one or two
per week; use egg whites or egg substitutes in cooking and baking.
Meat is listed in the same section of the Food Guide Pyramid as poultry and fish. However, fish, chicken,
and turkey often contain less fat per serving than such meats as beef, lamb, and pork, depending on the
cuts used and the method of preparation. Regular hamburger, hot dogs, bacon, and sausage are usually
especially high in saturated fat. Many dietitians recommend limiting the amount of lean meat, fish, and
poultry consumed per day to no more than six ounces [170 g]. Although organ meats, such as liver, may
have dietary benefits, it should be remembered that they are frequently high in cholesterol.
Between regular meals many people enjoy snacks, which often consist of potato chips, peanuts, cashews,
cookies, candy bars, and so forth. Those who recognize the value of a healthful diet will replace these with
low-fat snacks that include homemade popcorn without added butter or salt, fresh fruit, and raw vegetables
like carrots, celery, and broccoli.
KEEPING COUNT OF CALORIES
When you center your diet on complex carbohydrates instead of high-fat foods, there are positive benefits.
You may also lose weight if you are overweight. The more grains, vegetables, and beans you can
substitute for meat, the less fat you'll be accumulating on your body.
For example, if you wanted to lose 50 pounds [about 25 kg] in a year - to lose one pound, you must
consume about 3,500 fewer calories than your body needs. You can do this either by eating less or by
being more physically active. If you reduce your daily intake of dietary calories by 300 and start walking
about 20 miles a week, you could expend some 1,500 calories. By sticking to this plan, you may be able to
lose about one pound [half a kg] a week.
WHEN EATING OUT
Fast-food restaurants have become popular. But caution is needed because the foods they offer are
usually high in saturated fat and calories. A large or double hamburger, for example, contains between 525
and 980 calories—many of them from fat. Often, fast foods are fried or served with fattening cheeses,
toppings, or dressings. Eating such meals will likely take its toll on your health.
If you live in a country where restaurants serve large portions, you need to watch the amount of food you
consume. If you do not eat the full meal, you can ask to take what you do not eat home. Some diet-
conscious people order only an appetizer, which is smaller than a regular entrée. Some couples order one
entrée and share it, but they also order an extra salad. Wisely, you will beware of restaurants that offer
unlimited food for one moderate price. These places can be a temptation to overeat!
A HEALTHFUL DIET FOR ALL
While those in Western countries battle obesity and undergo bypass surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and
expensive medical treatments, vast numbers of mankind do without sufficient nourishment or even starve
to death. We can try to maintain a measure of good health by making healthy choices from the foods that
are available to us.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
|CHOOSING A HEALTHFUL DIET
|It's Important To Live Healthy