Health Tips for 2021
Kickstart your year with tips that would help you achieve your health goals.
Here are 15 practical health tips to kickstart living healthy in 2021.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eat a combination of different foods, including fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. Adults should eat at least five portions (400g) of fruit and vegetables per day. You can improve your intake of fruits and vegetables by always including veggies in your meal; snacking on fresh fruit and vegetables and investing in juicers and blenders would enhance your overall intake.
- Consume less salt and sugar: 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. Sugar intake should be minimal to ensure a normal blood sugar level. Glucometers can be used to monitor blood sugar levels at home.
- Reduce intake of harmful fats: Fats consumed should be less than 30% of your total energy intake. This will help prevent unhealthy weight gain. The preferable unsaturated fats are found in fish, avocado, nuts, and sunflower, soybean, canola, and olive oils
- 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. Quit alcohol books and supplements can be helpful in trying to stop drinking alcohol.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking tobacco causes lung disease, heart disease, and stroke. Tobacco kills not only the direct smokers but even non-smokers through second-hand exposure.
If you are currently a smoker, it’s not too late to quit. There are effective quit smoking aids like inhalers, books, chewing gums, and patches that would help in your journey.
- Be active: Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. This includes exercise and activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying out household chores, traveling, and engaging in recreational pursuits. Practice indoor workouts with types of equipment like stationary bikes, jump ropes, dumbbells, resistance bands, and aerobic steps
- 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 and also invest in a Blood pressure monitor
- 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). 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. Test strips for HIV, hepatitis B, sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), and tuberculosis (TB).
- Practice safe sex: Looking after your sexual health is important for your overall health and well-being. Practice safe sex to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea and syphilis. There are available prevention measures such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) that will protect you from HIV and condoms that will protect you from HIV and other STIs. Male condoms and female condoms
- Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing: Diseases such as influenza, pneumonia, and tuberculosis are transmitted through the air. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, infectious agents may be passed on to others through airborne droplets. When you feel a cough or sneeze coming on, make sure you have covered your mouth with a face mask or use a tissue then dispose of it carefully. If you do not have a tissue close by when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth as much as possible with the crook (or the inside) of your elbow.
- Prevent mosquito bites: Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest animals in the world. Diseases like dengue, chikungunya, malaria, and lymphatic filariasis are transmitted by mosquitoes. You can take simple measures to protect yourself and your loved ones against mosquito-borne diseases. If you’re traveling to an area with known mosquito-borne diseases, consult a physician for a vaccine to prevent diseases such as Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever or if you need to take antimalarial medicines. 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 sites.
- Follow traffic laws: Road crashes claim over one million lives around the world and millions more are injured. Road traffic injuries are preventable through a variety of measures implemented by the government such as strong legislation and enforcement, safer infrastructure and vehicle standards, and improved post-crash care. You yourself can also prevent road crashes by ensuring that you follow traffic laws such as using the seatbelt for adults and child restraint for your kids, wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle or bicycle, not drinking and driving, and not using your mobile phone while driving.
- Drink only safe water Drinking unsafe water can lead to water-borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio. In a setting where you are unsure of your water source, boil your water for at least one minute. This will destroy harmful organisms in the water. Let it cool naturally before drinking. You can also invest in Water purifying bottles
- Breastfeed babies from 0 to 2 years and beyond Breastfeeding is the best way to provide the ideal food for newborns and infants. WHO recommends that mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth. Breastfeeding for the first six months is crucial for the baby to grow up healthy. It is recommended that breastfeeding is continued for up to two years and beyond. Aside from being beneficial to babies, breastfeeding is also good for the mother as it reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type II diabetes, and postpartum depression. Breastfeeding aids can be beneficial and include Breast feeding pump & breast milk storing bags
- Talk to someone you trust if you’re feeling down or Anxious Depression is a common illness worldwide with over 260 million people affected. Depression can manifest in different ways, but it might make you feel hopeless or worthless, or you might think about negative and disturbing thoughts a lot or have an overwhelming sense of pain. If you’re going through this, remember that you are not alone. Talk to someone you trust such as a family member, friend, colleague, or mental health professional about how you feel. Products that can enhance your mood includes weighted blanket, essential oil diffuser, acupressure mats, and portable massagers.