The end of the year is officially here, which means that it is time to think long and hard about your New Year’s resolutions. After a challenging 12 months, both physically and mentally, one of the best resolutions to consider is working hard to get your health back on track. Here are 21 amazing tips for living a healthier lifestyle in 2021 and beyond.
21 amazing tips for a healthier 2021
1. Eat more seafood
Seafood is extremely good for your nutrition for many reasons. Firstly, it contains a lot less fat than all other sources of animal protein. Secondly, it is great for maintaining heart health as it is low in cholesterol. Thirdly, it is chock-full of important vitamins and minerals, including potassium, vitamin B, and zinc.
Fatty fish, such as mackerel and salmon, are also high in omega-3s, which are necessary for effective nerve and membrane development. Salmon in particular is great for the fact that you do not need much in order to reap the many benefits. Just be careful not to let any of this so-called “pink gold” go to waste. Here are a few ideas for leftover salmon recipes to help you make the most of it before that “best before” date rolls around.
2. Quit smoking
Smoking is bad for every aspect of your health. It can destroy your lungs, increase your chances of cancer and gum disease, as well as have a negative impact on the health of your skin. The sad reality, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is that approximately 14% of people over the age of 18 in the USA still smoke cigarettes on a regular basis. As a result, over 16 million Americans are living with a chronic disease brought about through smoking.
Unfortunately, quitting smoking is known to be difficult—but with persistence and the right support, it is wholly possible. A few options for stubbing out the habit for good include quitting “cold turkey,” undertaking behavioral or nicotine replacement therapy, and/or taking prescription medication to help ease the side effects.
3. Cut down on alcohol consumption
Alcohol can impact a person negatively mainly because it saps the body of moisture. It is also known to increase the risk of developing a number of diseases and afflictions, such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Unsurprisingly, it is also linked to liver problems, such as liver failure and cirrhosis of the liver.
If you can, it is best to give up alcohol altogether. However, you can be healthier by cutting down your consumption and drinking in moderation. In the USA, it is recommended that men consume no more than 196 grams of alcohol per week, and that women consume no more than 98 grams of alcohol per week.
4. Do away with “three meals a day”
Trying to stick to three meals a day can lead to feelings of hunger, unhealthy snacking, and binge eating. It is much better to strive to eat five smaller meals per day instead. Never ignore feelings of hunger. When your stomach starts to growl, reach for a healthy “top-up” immediately!
5. Take a multi-vitamin
If your diet isn’t covering you from a vitamin perspective, a great way in which to fill in the “gap” is to take a multi-vitamin. Multi-vitamins acts like an insurance policy to ensure that you are getting what you need to maintain your health and your day-to-day bodily functions. Keep in mind, however, that not all multivitamins are created equal. Always double-check that your chosen daily supplement contains plenty of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, as well as vitamin D and folic acid.
6. Step up your exercise regime
Regular exercise is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Not only does it help to maintain your weight (or help you lose weight if that is what’s necessary), but it can also help to stabilize your mood through the release of endorphins and will aid you in getting a better night’s sleep. You should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every single week, according to Mayo Clinic. You should try to include as much strength training in your regime as you can, too.
7. Invest in an air fryer
An air fryer is a wonderful investment if you want to escape the harmful effects of frying your food in oil. It is said to cut down calories by up to 80% without reducing the taste or texture of the food. Many air fryers on the market have multiple uses and can even be used to heat up cold food, to roast, and to bake.
8. Fill up on plant protein
Along with white meat and seafood, plants are a healthier source of protein than red meat. Be sure to stock up your fridge and pantry with plenty of chia seeds, quinoa, tofu, lentils, whole grains, and broccoli.
9. Eat from a smaller plate
You could be eating more than you need simply because your plates and bowls are on the larger side. Switch to smaller-sized dinnerware and you will immediately eat less without actually noticing it.
10. Drink more water
Water works to keep your body hydrated, which is excellent for general health. It also helps to keep your stomach feeling full, and this can gradually reduce the amount that you consume at mealtimes. Always remember to drink a glass or two of water whenever you are feeling peckish. Did you know that it is common to mistake thirst for hunger?
11. Don’t cut out carbs completely
There are many diets out there that recommend cutting out carbs completely if you want to lead a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. However, this approach to eating just isn’t sustainable. You need carbohydrates for energy, after all. Therefore, the secret isn’t to get rid of them, but rather to focus your attention on choosing to consume the “right” ones. Steer clear of refined carbs and opt instead for whole, unprocessed carbs, such as brown rice, nuts, legumes, and non-starchy vegetables (spinach, tomatoes, celery, etc.).
12. Swap coffee for green tea
While it might play a part in keeping you awake and alert, coffee does your body no favors. Green tea, on the other hand, is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. It is known to offer tremendous health benefits and can reduce the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. It is also low in calories—as long as you do not drink it with any added sugar. If you must sweeten it up, reach for pure, raw honey instead.
13. Set up doctor’s appointments
Regular check-ups assist in keeping your health on track. Make an effort to schedule appointments with all of the necessary specialists early this year, including at your GP, dentist, optometrist, and gynecologist, to name a few.
14. Think positively
Positive thinking is powerful—but it takes practice. Tony Robbins, a renowned entrepreneur, and business strategist, claims that positive thinking can be achieved and nurtured through:
- Taking control of your state
- Adjusting your mindset
- Study your habits and form new, healthier ones
- Choose your words carefully
- Looking for those whom you admire for guidance
15. Get enough sleep
Sleep provides your mind and body with the necessary time to replenish, particularly during times of stress. It, therefore, plays a vital role in both your physical and mental wellbeing. Sleep deprivation can lead to a decline in physical and/or mental health, as well as an increased risk of injuries and a decline in overall productivity. Avoid this by getting between seven and nine hours of good-quality sleep every night.
16. Take up a “passion project”
A “passion project” is essentially a project that you take up purely because it brings you joy and makes it easier for you to control your stress levels. Doing a hobby that you enjoy every day will leave you feeling happier, more confident, and can even give your life more meaning.
17. Watch your sugar intake
There are so many reasons why you want to avoid consuming too much sugar. It can lead to excessive weight gain, it can increase your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, it can lead to poor oral health, and it has been linked to depression. It is recommended that men limit their sugar consumption to nine teaspoons of added sugar a day, and women to six teaspoons of added sugar a day.
18. Increase your awareness
How much do you know about the symptoms of cancer? Type 2 diabetes? Heart disease? Stroke? Urinary tract infections (UTIs)? Now is the time to increase your awareness of these common health problems. After all, the sooner a health issue is picked up and treated, the better the prognosis will be!
19. Stock up on healthy snacks
Snacking has gotten a bad rap in recent times. However, it is a normal part of a person’s diet—as long as it is approached in the right way. If you struggle with food cravings or you tend to get hungry between meals (even if you are eating five small ones per day), healthy snacks can help to keep your blood sugar levels stable, all the while preventing you from binging on unhealthy treats. So, stock up on the right ones! A few great ideas include:
- Dried fruit (with no added sugar)
- Dark chocolate
- Cottage cheese
- Rice and corn cakes
- Popcorn (pop it in your air fryer)
20. Prepare before going grocery shopping
There is indeed a “right” and a “wrong” way to go grocery shopping. For example, heading to the store on an empty stomach is bound to lead to impulse buys and unhealthier, “heat and eat” or processed food choices. Neglecting to write out a complete and comprehensive shopping list is sure to have a similar effect. So, endeavor to grocery shop shortly after a hearty, satisfying meal, and take the time to plan your weekly meals beforehand. Once you know what you will be eating, you can compile a list of everything that you need to buy, helping you to steer clear of any temptation to splurge on extras that aren’t on the list.
21. Say “no” to food in a bag
A good general rule of thumb for those looking to improve their diet is to focus on eating more fresh foods and to avoid eating foods that come in a bag, a packet, or a box. Processed food will always come in some sort of packaging. The best course of action is to steer clear of regular grocery stores and to shop at a specialist greengrocer instead.
Now that you know how to make the appropriate changes to lead a healthier lifestyle, you can enter 2021 feeling inspired and prepared to prioritize your mental and physical wellbeing. Here’s to a healthy, happy year ahead.