8 Tips for Boosting General Health and Wellbeing
14th June 2016
healthOn the whole, Britain has been basking in glorious sunshine now for the last month – except for the odd few typical days of British heavy rain. With summertime usually comes a nationwide health kick. Perhaps it is to fit into those skimpy healthy clothes and look better on the beach, or maybe the sun just improves peoples’ moods to the extent that it provides a motivational spur to change lifestyles for the better. Whatever it is, summertime is commonly the time of the year when people make positive changes to their general health, whether it be dietary or simply getting out the house more and going for walks in the sunshine. With this in mind, Medical Specialists® Pharmacy have decided to run through some tips for improving general health and wellbeing, which everyone can use as a starting point for long-term health benefits. . Become more active Great weather means more people will have the urge to get out the house and move about. Keeping fit and active is great for your waistline and general appearance, but exercise is great for the heart too. Previous studies have suggested that 7 in 10 of us are not engaging in physical activity and thus are increasing the risk of heart disease. Keeping active helps to lower blood pressure; a risk factor for heart disease, boosts good HDL cholesterol that is responsible for moving fat away from arteries and back to the liver for processing, and will help to improve circulation by stopping blood clots from forming which can cause a heart attack or stroke. A brisk walk for 30 to 40 minutes completed 3 times each week should ease cardiovascular risk. . Consider a Mediterranean diet The Mediterranean diet has repeatedly been linked to huge health gains such as ideal for weight loss, reducing the risk of cancer, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as being beneficial for the skin with various anti-aging boosts. The diet is usually comprises of a daily consumption of plenty of fruit, vegetables, beans (legumes), grains, pasta, olive oil and nuts. It also contains moderate amounts of chicken and fish, with a small amount of red wine allowed as this has been shown to boost the health benefits of the diet, helping to thin the blood safely while providing its benefit through the antioxidant resveratrol. . Cut down on salt intake A diet high in sodium can lead to serious health problems. Sodium increases blood pressure as it causes the body to keep hold of excess fluid and blood volume increases, creating an added burden on the heart with increased pressure in the arteries. It is generally recommended that an adult should not consume more than 6g/1 teaspoon of salt each day. Certain foods are high in hidden salts and you should try to limit how much of them you eat. These include: baked beans, canned vegetables, cheese, crisps, pizzas and ready meals. . Drink more water Everyone needs to be getting 6 to 8 glasses of fluid per day and water is an essential part of your diet as well as being an incredibly healthy and inexpensive way of quenching your thirst. It contains zero calories or sugar, meaning it will not damage the teeth. Try to avoid empty calories from fizzy drinks, energy drinks or juices with added sugar. Not everyone enjoys plain water, so try sparkling water or add a slice of lemon or lime, or adding no-added-sugar squash. . Eat plenty of fruit and veg It's recommended that we eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day, comprising of a wide variety as they contain different combinations of vitamins and minerals. Fear not though, it is actually easier than it may sound. Merely a 150ml glass of unsweetened 100% fruit juice or smoothie counts as 1 portion, with vegetables cooked into dishes – i.e. into bolognaise sauce - can also count. Chopping up fruit to put on top of your morning cereal is another quick and easy way to bolster fruit intake. . Get enough sleep Past studies have shown that the gap between getting just enough and too little sleep may have a negative impact on a person’s health, mood, weight, and even their sex life. The majority of adults require about 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep each night, on a regular schedule. Those finding it hard to get enough sleep should alter their routine to accommodate for sleep. It isn’t just important to get a certain number hours of sleep, the quality of sleep is vital too in order to feel rested when you awake. . Limit alcohol intake Drinking more than the recommended units of alcohol per day (3-4 for men, 2-3 for women) can have a detrimental impact to your heart health. Excessive alcohol can raise the quantity of a type of fat in the blood known as triglycerides and also lead to abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke and obesity. Excess weight may then even cause type 2 diabetes. For those concerned that they are drinking too much and want to reduce their alcohol intake, Medical Specialists® Pharmacy can provide alcohol dependency treatment Selincro (nalmefene) to suitable patients. . Stop smoking Smoking damages the lining of the arteries, limiting the space for blood to travel through. The carbon monoxide in cigarettes also reduces the amount of oxygen able to get to the heart and other areas of the body, forcing the heart to work much harder to supply the body with the oxygen it requires. The dangers of smoking are further explained on the British Heart Foundation’s website, but remember that smokers are at double the risk of suffering a heart attack compared to those that have not previously smoked, and smoking is the primary reason for a wide range of different types of cancer. Smoking cessation treatments such as Champix can help people quit smoking for good and reduce the risk of cancer and major heart problems. We hope these 8 tips get you on the road to a healthier lifestyle which will both boost your energy, but also cut the risk of developing serious health problems in the future. Obviously, there are countless ways to improve health and wellbeing, but at Medical Specialists®, we believe that sustaining these 8 factors are particularly vital for your long-term general health.