2020 is in the past, but COVID-19 is very much still with us. Naturally, wearing masks, regular hand washing, and social distancing can contribute to a safer and healthier world. But we don’t just need to continue the increased sanitary precautions that we adopted during 2020. If you want to be as healthy as possible, there are other habits you can practice.
Health experts at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey suggest that people prioritize an overall healthier lifestyle to improve quality of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a six-year study to determine how people could reduce risk of death. The study found that eating healthier foods, avoiding cigarettes, and engaging in moderate exercise for at least 20 minutes daily contributed to a reduction in mortality rates. In fact, these three habits reduced the risk of death by 82% over the course of the six-year study.
How Do You Become Healthier?
It’s easy to read something about eating healthier or exercising more, but it’s harder to put a plan into action. This is why we always recommend that you set intentions, which you can read more about here. Intentions give you a plan that can help you achieve your health goals. You have the power to change! After all, just look at how we adapted to the drastic turn of events that occurred during 2020. Adopt the following habits and you’ll find that your 2021 is a whole lot healthier.
Build On Your Gratitude:
Remember when quarantine clapping was a nightly ritual? Different communities around the world came together to express gratitude to essential and health workers. Perhaps you participated in the clapping, and perhaps you didn’t. It’s possible that you expressed gratitude in other ways. Some people tipped more when they ordered from restaurants, while others thanked grocery store workers at the checkout. Build on your gratitude however you see fit. Perhaps you continue to engage in family movie nights or backyard activities with the kids. Statistically, people who express gratitude have lower stress levels, they sleep better, and they are less likely to experience depression. Better mental health leads to better physical health!
Consume More Plant-Based Foods:
Health experts encourage people to eat more vegetables every year, and for good reason! According to several research studies, people who consume more plant-based foods have higher vitamin C levels in their bloodstreams. A person’s vitamin C level is often a good biomarker of how many plant-based foods they eat. Other research explains that consuming more plant-based foods can extend your life expectancy. Because aging is an indication of oxidation in the body, it’s wise to consume plant-based foods that contain antioxidants. Plant foods contain 64 times more antioxidants than animal foods. Eat more fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, legumes, and whole grains to help ward off age-related diseases.
Get Better Sleep:
In the beginning of the pandemic, people’s sleep schedules were all over the map. If you want to be a healthier person in 2021, it’s time to get a handle on your sleep schedule. As always, we recommend avoiding screens at least one to two hours before bed. Try to read a book, engage in a meditation session, or stretch to get your body ready for sound sleep. It’s beneficial to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night, and you can get in a regular routine by waking and rising at the same times daily. A healthy sleep schedule helps your body recover, and it leads to reduced cravings, lower stress levels, and more energy.
Please Stop Smoking:
It’s 2021, people, and we apparently still have to advise people to avoid cigarettes. When you don’t smoke cigarettes and you eat more plant-based foods, you experience longer protective telomeres. These are the tips of chromosomes that help keep DNA from unraveling, which reduces the risk of early signs of aging and certain cancers. The foods you eat and harmful toxins you ingest can actually lead to increased shortening of telomeres. Studies show that you can experience shorter telomeres when you stop smoking and don’t drink as much alcohol, avoid meats, dairy products, and processed foods.