Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle: 15 Top Tips to Improve Your Health

Heather Campbell
 min read

Tips for a healthy lifestyle are often searched topics online.

Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle: 15 Top Tips to Improve Your HealthPreventing diseases is better than curing them, and that starts with a healthy lifestyle.

As a general rule, making more conscious choices regarding our diet, sleep, physical activity, and social contact is part of a holistic approach to living healthier. Think of eating regularly, eating less processed foods, moving more, and getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis.

Read on to learn how to eat and drink healthier, how a sense of meaning and relating to others is better for your well-being, and how adequate rest and activity are necessary.

Fifteen tips for a healthier lifestyle

May this collection of 15 tips get you to a healthier life!

Think about where your meat comes from

There are many different opinions about whether eating meat is healthy and necessary.

However, how the animal has lived affects how healthy the meat is.

Also, you have to think about what you eat instead of meat, if you are a vegetarian, and whether that’s healthy?

The meat quality in the supermarket is also very different from the meat we used to roast on the spit at night as primal humans, after an intense day of hunting.

Impact of the meat industry on the environment

Nor can we separate eating meat from its impact on our environment.

The large water consumption and greenhouse effect of mega-stables are immense and definitely a factor to consider when eating meat.

Cows produce burps and winds of methane, a formidable greenhouse gas. It is 25 times stronger than CO2, but methane remains in the atmosphere for only 10 years.

This contrasts with greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, which remain in the atmosphere for 1,000 years.

In addition, the methane emitted by the cow comes from grass and weeds that have previously hijacked that same greenhouse gas from the air. So it’s a circular effect, the circle of life.

This is in contrast to the burning of fossil fuels by industry and traffic. This is a one-way street to depleting our earth.

Research in California on greenhouse gases shows that 80% of emissions there are from fossil fuel use and 5% from livestock production.

Choose an organic, happy cow that is still allowed to graze in the meadow

If we do choose to eat meat, where does the animal come from? If we compare the meat of an antelope in the wild to the meat of a grain-fed cow, you see:

  • 35% of cow meat consists of fat, compared to only 7% in the antelope.
  • The fat of antelope meat is different in nature. It contains:
    • low saturated fat,
    • more omega 3 fatty acids,
    • less omega 6 fatty acids
  • Relative to cow meat that:
    • contains the majority of saturated fat, and
    • does not contain omega 3 fatty acids.

So it would make a massive difference if we ate meat from happy cows that were grazing a lot outside. Fortunately, there are still some left.

Eating insects as an alternative to meat

Maybe we should finally start eating insects. Growing insects is sustainable. You need less water, land, and food.

They turn out to be quite tasty. In Mexico, grasshoppers are roasted with garlic and onions.

Insects are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and fiber.

With the explosion of the world’s population, it could provide a solution and offer food security plus sustainability.

Can we do without meat?

But we really need meat, don’t we? Although it is a rich and complete source of protein, tips for a healthy lifestyle conclude that eating meat is not necessary to build strong muscles. Indeed, there are animals such as elephants that are huge and eat only vegetables.

Man as an omnivore is made to eat both meat and plants. With moderate alcohol, lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and olive oil, the Mediterranean diet also contains little meat and meat products.

However, meat is a considerable godsend for people who eat low-carbohydrate diets due to diabetes or obesity.

It has a much lower impact on your blood sugar and insulin release than fast carbohydrates and sugars. The goal is to keep the insulin response low.

Conclusion

  • We can indeed do without meat.
  • There are alternatives to meat, such as insects.
  • If you do eat meat, eat organic meat from a happy cow.
  • If you have diabetes, meat can be a godsend.

Enjoy your food and eat slowly

Eating slowly promotes the release of satiety hormones like leptin, so we don’t stuff ourselves. On average, the creation of this leptin takes twenty minutes.

So eat mindfully and not mindlessly, at the table with family or friends if you can. One of the easier tips for a healthy lifestyle.

The slower you eat, the more intense the experience.

Between each bite, put your fork down for a moment.

Consider eating less bread

This is the topic about which there is perhaps the most controversial. Who can say that the smell of freshly baked bread doesn’t make them happy?

Our children eat sandwiches for breakfast and for lunch. We take sandwiches to work. Yet bread is under attack for several reasons.

Bread contains grain, which contains gluten

More and more people may be intolerant or sensitive to gluten, which is found in some grains.

There are also many grains or grain-like products that do not contain gluten, for example, buckwheat, oats, corn, and millet.

Often bread also contains enhancers

These include:

  • Dairy products that make the bread softer.
  • Vitamin C which makes for firmer dough.
  • Fats, emulsifiers, and extra gluten that make the bread airier and longer-lasting.
  • Enzymes and sugars that speed up the rising and baking of bread.

Yet bread improvers are not necessary. In fact, unnecessary sugar in bread is detrimental to people with type 2 diabetes.

Whole-grain bread is better than white bread but can also disappoint

We know that whole-wheat bread is a better alternative than white bread. Namely, white bread contains the same vitamins, minerals, and fiber as whole-grain bread, just a lot less.

For example, a slice of whole-wheat bread contains 2.5 times as much fiber as a slice of white bread. Because white bread contains little fiber, it is more inviting to overeat.

The fine flour in white bread is quickly digested and absorbed, causing unnecessarily high sugar spikes in your blood (even in people without diabetes).

Still, the amount of fiber in whole-grain bread can be disappointing.

It is not always made from the real whole grains, and many whole-wheat products in the store contain more white flour than whole-wheat flour.

Brown bread, by the way, is not whole-wheat bread but white bread made brown by adding burnt malt or malt syrup.

Bread causes sudden swings in blood sugar levels

The most important note about bread is its effect on blood sugar levels.

Bread is made of carbohydrates, composed glucose, that is. It can give rapid peaks and valleys in blood sugar levels, which is very detrimental to people with diabetes.

But even without diabetes, be careful. The peaks and valleys mean that you are actually hungrier sometimes two hours after eating bread.

This can vary from person to person and, of course, again depends on the quality of the bread. Another tip for a healthy lifestyle!

Conclusion

Be critical of your bread. Consider adding more variety to your meals. For example, eat a salad or soup for lunch.

For people with diabetes, bread, and even grains, are almost always a no-go. By the way, there are delicious recipes for low-carb bread that you can bake yourself.

If you are still unsure if bread is healthy for you, see what it does to your blood sugar and compare it to eating a warm soup or salad.

Eat foods high in fiber

In contrast to low-fiber foods, eating high-fiber foods is actually associated with excellent tips for a healthy lifestyle.

Our distant ancestors would have eaten something like 3.5 ounces of fiber per day.

The recommendation is to eat at least 1 ounce of fiber per day but many people don’t even make it to half of that daily.

Fiber also contains many important and essential (micro) nutrients. High-fiber foods require us to chew them.

Chewing produces all kinds of digestive enzymes, which are produced in quantity depending on how quickly you eat.

Eating fiber regularly extends your life expectancy, even in people with diabetes.

Good news for fans of the so-called ketogenic diet (low in carbohydrates): fiber does not count in your carbohydrate calculation because it is not absorbed!

Fiber is found in (low starch) vegetables, avocados, fruits, legumes, and beans, but they are also found in meat.

Move daily and don’t sit down for too long at a stretch

Even regular athletic exercise cannot compensate for the amount of sitting.

Those who exercise regularly and are totally fit are still at risk of developing diabetes with a sedentary lifestyle, as found in research on the causes and consequences of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Keeping moving daily and throughout the day is the healthiest form of exercise and one of the major tips for a healthy lifestyle. This can be climbing stairs, gardening, or walking to the train station or bus stop.

So for this, you don’t have to go to the gym. Being in motion daily is preventive against a variety of Western diseases. It is even helps prevent dementia.

Some practical tips for getting more exercise:

  • Do errands on foot.
  • Take the train and walk up and down the platforms while waiting.
  • Bike or walk and leave the car behind as much as possible.
  • Always choose the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.
  • Park the car further from work or from the entrance to the supermarket.

Allow yourself enough sleep to recover

After a hectic day, sleep is vital for our bodies to recover, digest, and rest.

Our so-called parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for all processes related to rest and digestion.

Tips for a healthy lifestyle include good sleep. All kinds of repair processes such as skin regeneration, resistance building, hair growth, and nail growth happen during our sleep.

Unfortunately, sleep is precisely what the hurried person gives up.

After a busy demanding day, we want time to ourselves. Time for a Netflix binge, often paired with a glass of wine, which are two things that disrupt your sleep patterns.

30% of people suffer from some form of insomnia. Not always shorter sleep, but more irregular and restless sleep is a big culprit. Our sleep is more often disturbed.

Research shows that people who work shifts and thus have disrupted sleep patterns because they work early, late, or at night:

  • drink more coffee and alcohol,
  • are more likely to be overweight,
  • more smoking, and
  • are also more likely to have type 2 diabetes.

People with sleep apnea (snoring) are also more likely to have a variety of chronic diseases.

Hide the candy and only rarely take it out

We have lived without sweets for centuries with no problem.

Candy as an exceptional treat is a thing of the past. Nowadays, many people snack every day with dire consequences for their teeth, liver, and health.

The problem is that we don’t see it because it happens very slowly. Yet we see very young children with visible tooth decay.

But remember that what candy does to the teeth, it also does inside your body.

So better find another way to indulge yourself or your child and use sweets as an occasional indulgence. A major tip for a healthy lifestyle!

Vary your diet with fermented products

These are products that have been altered in composition by microorganisms, such as yogurt, cheese, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread.

Fermented products are high in vitamin B12 and probiotics. These are beneficial bacteria that strengthen our emaciated microbiome (the bacteria in our gut).

If taking antibiotics kills all your healthy gut bacteria, probiotics can restore it somewhat.

Pursue a life of meaning and social attachment

Feeling that you have a place and function in this society as a person is important. You need to feel that need you and that you are missed when you are not there.

It seems like a complex subject to research, yet there are plenty of studies about it.

For example, one study about tips for a healthy lifestyle found that chronic diseases and obesity depend not only on diet-related factors.

Many factors in the environment and our lifestyles may explain the explosion of chronic diseases we are experiencing today.

Related: For a more detailed explanation on how social relationships impact our health, have a read through our other article Social Relationships and Health: Friendship and Love as Vitamins

Low socioeconomic status or (the perception of) unfair treatment at work affects our health.

With the loss of a traditional way of life, we appear to have lost a piece of meaning, and many people feel constantly detached. Finding that attachment again is then invaluable.

It is not only a goal or a meaning that matters, but man is and always will be a social being.

You want to belong to something. Maybe you belong only to your spouse or your children and have no friends.

But even being married has been found to positively affect the progression of a chronic disease such as diabetes. Married people have better-regulated sugars.

You may not be married, but you have a dog, a cat, or other people or animals you belong to.

You can also derive meaning from your work, volunteer work, and other family, friends, or charities you support.

There’s a reason why several celebrities or billionaires who have made it are looking for a charity that they can really contribute to.

Regardless, we humans appear to need meaning and attachment. An unusual tip for a healthy lifestyle, but true.

Enrich your diet with small, fatty fish

All major epidemiological studies agree that adding fish to your daily diet improves health.

An extensive study of 100,000 women showed that eating more fish (instead of dairy or meat) reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Oily fish

Oily fish, in particular, contains many of the healthy anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids and always features high on tips for a healthy lifestyle.

Most people are relatively deficient in this, and you can make up for this nicely by eating more oily fish.

This has net health effects despite contamination with so-called heavy metals. So all the good in fish outweighs the disadvantages.

Small fish

Heavy metals is the collective term for metals such as cadmium, mercury, lead, arsenic, and tin.

They enter the environment through metal mining and storage, paint production, and coal combustion and waste.

Heavy metals adhere to clay, which explains how pollution also enters rivers, oceans, and eventually fish.

Mercury is an example of a heavy metal that lingers in the bodies of fish through a process called bioconcentration:

  • Small fish and sea and shellfish eat plants and are exposed to heavy metals.
  • This accumulates in the fish.
  • The larger fish eat the smaller fish, and the concentration of heavy metals increases.
  • The larger the fish, the more serious the concentration of heavy metals.

This means that large fish-eating fish contain more mercury. Eat the small fish; sardines, herring, anchovies, and mackerel that contain less mercury.

Choose fish with a label against overfishing

We cannot ignore the fact that we have pretty much ruined and depleted our oceans.

To combat overfishing, an international quality mark has been established.

Fish allowed to carry this seal comes from fishermen who actively work to maintain fish stocks, which causes as little harm to marine life as possible.

Not overeating but not undereating either

The results of a calorie restriction diet are deplorable. So much to the frustration of both doctors, dietitians, and patients, most people put on weight again after two years.

The big question is ‘Why?’. For years we have been fixated on the wrong behavior of fellow dieters.

However, a calorie-restricted diet disadvantages your metabolism; it turns the thermostat to economy mode.

Evolutionarily, the body has a robust adaptation mechanism against lack of food and simply starts using less energy.

Less energy is used for hair growth, digestion, etc. You get cold, stop losing weight, and your mood dips and sinks to a minor state.

Many studies show that long-term calorie restriction kills your metabolism, leading to a yo-yo effect on your weight.

However, excessive eating, or stuffing yourself to the brim, has also been found not to be conducive to health.

In Okinawa, Japan, people have been living by an ancient mantra of Confucius for 2500 years: Hara hachi bu. This means eating until you are 80% full.

They eat the last somewhat smaller meal late in the afternoon or early in the evening and didn’t eat until the next day.

The Western way of eating is becoming prevalent there too and the effects are already being seen.

Eat a varied diet rich in nutrients

One-sided diet scores poorly! This is a setback for many people who have a steady diet. You just had everything clearly lined up, and this throws a spanner in the works.

Variation in diet makes sure we get as many different nutrients and vitamins as possible.

Varied food is something you eat not only for yourself but also for your gut bacteria.

Indeed, we have a large amount and variety of healthy bacteria in our gut. So as a tip for a healthy lifestyle, if we keep them healthy, we will stay healthy ourselves.

So we have those gut bacteria in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and to keep them happy, we also need to eat a variety of foods.

More and more crops are being cultivated to generate higher yields, often at the expense of nutritional value.

Changing agricultural techniques with the overuse of artificial fertilizers and industrial processing of food are also causing a lack of essential nutrients.

You can compensate for these deficiencies by seeking out variety and eating lots of different fruits, vegetables, and nutrient-rich foods. This is even more important if you are a vegetarian.

There are many different calculation modules to calculate ‘nutrient density.’

Some focus on vitamins and minerals, and others look broader and include amino acids and essential fatty acids.

Seeds and kernels are healthy

Seeds contain all the materials and nutrients needed to grow a whole plant. The egg in the animal world is the seed in the plant world.

All those nutrients in a tiny seed can also be incredibly healthy for us. That is why it is now called a superfood.

Unfortunately, this has become a hyped name with very negative connotations. What you just need to know is that they are simply healthy.

Seeds are high in fiber, monounsaturated fatty acids, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

The best seeds are chia seeds and flaxseeds, both good sources of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Other nutrient-rich sources include sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.

Hemp seeds are an excellent source of plant protein. In fact, it consists of 30% protein and many other essential nutrients.

Hempseed, by the way, is one of the few full-fat plant-based protein sources, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids that your body can’t make.

Eat real, whole foods

By real food, we mean food that your grandmother would have set out, and not (ready-made) from a factory where it was ultra-processed.

In any list of tips for a healthy lifestyle, fiber is essential but today it has been taken out and replaced with many substances to make them longer-lasting, more appealing, more addictive, and faster to eat.

This type of food is difficult to avoid, as it is really offered for sale everywhere in the Western world.

A plate of unprocessed food weighs more than the same food in its processed form. It takes you more effort to get the calories out, you feel satisfied longer, and your gut is happy.

The preparation and processing of food that we apply ourselves in the kitchen also affect the number of calories our bodies actually absorb.

Indeed, one study found that people who eat corresponding meals that were prepared differently have different outcomes in weight gain.

In summary, a Western diet harms our health.

Avoid the following typically Western foods

  • Food with added ingredients of corn
  • Foods with added, unclear preservatives to make them last longer
  • Foods with lots of added sugars
  • Few vegetables or fruits
  • Foods high in processed red meat (especially from large-scale livestock farms)
  • Meal with lots of (baked or fried) potatoes
  • All fried foods
  • Sugary soda or fruit drinks
  • Nutrition in the form of powder to which you must add water or milk
  • Foods from which all fiber has been extracted
  • Foods with or from refined grains
  • Foods with added salt
  • Fast food and ready meals
  • Foods that are overly processed, from packages, pouches, bottles, or cans

Choose instead:

  • Egg
  • Soy protein
  • Fruit
  • Nuts
  • Game meat
  • Garlic
  • Spices
  • Red peppers (capsicum)
  • Raisins
  • Herbs
  • Lots of vegetables and fruits
  • Green tea
  • Vegetable
  • Vinegar
  • Cocoa and dark chocolate (containing more than 60% cocoa)

Is there a particular diet that is the least Western? These are, of course, all traditional ways of eating.

The most (studied) evidence for tips for a healthy lifestyle is the Mediterranean way of eating.

It’s probably because it says something about your whole eating pattern, but also your lifestyle.

In contrast, a low-fat or low-carb diet says what you shouldn’t eat but doesn’t help you with what to eat instead.

Be careful with alcohol

Excessive consumption of alcohol is clearly unhealthy. It increases the risk of cancer and has a detrimental effect on your ability to concentrate, judge, and remember.

The secret of alcohol would depend on its quantity; Wine is also best drunk in moderation.

A moderate amount of alcohol is good for the heart and vessels, but that limit is soon reached.

Originally, the norm was ten glasses per week for ladies and fourteen for gentlemen.

However, the conclusion of a large study in China of more than 500,000 Chinese undermines this idea that many people are comfortable with.

The alcohol industry’s slogan, “Enjoy, but drink in moderation,” may have had its day. The study clearly concluded that alcohol is not healthy.

Asians who sometimes have mutations in their DNA that make it harder for their bodies to process alcohol.

Because of this genetic predisposition, they get red cheeks and hangovers quickly, even after just a small glass of alcohol. However, Europeans do not have these mutations. So further studies are needed.

One criticism is that people drink mostly spirits in Asia and not (red) wine and less beer.

Can you compare one to the other? Red wine enjoys extra attention because the grape contains the substance resveratrol. This is said to have magical life-extending properties.

Science is somewhat in agreement about this.

Anyway, it is best not to drink daily and at least not more than 1 glass a day. Young people under 18 are recommended not to drink at all.

The idea of getting your son or daughter “used to it” in advance would be more likely to end up drinking more, not less.

Drinking socially and in moderation seems to be the way to go for many people. But social drinking quickly becomes social over-drinking. It is proving very difficult to remain moderate.

The advent of many delicious non-alcoholic beers is a godsend for those who no longer want to drink. And, why not? Oh yes, they do, unfortunately, contain a lot of carbohydrates.

Tips for a healthy lifestyle: Conclusion

Most of these tips for a healthy lifestyle are related to nutrition since this directly impacts our bodies.

However, there are also factors such as getting enough sleep and getting enough exercise to make us feel better about ourselves.

Tip: Reducing stress is another factor to live a healthier life, find out why in our other article How Does Stress Affect the Body? Negative Effects of Stress on Your Body: Review

Our social ties to others also play a role in our daily well-being, whether this is a partner, a pet, or an entire village that you feel connected to.

Man is by nature a social animal. It would be a shame to ignore this and think you have to go through life alone. There is indeed happiness and well-being to be found in relationships with others.

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More