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Sharp Health News

7 steps to achieving optimal health

Jan. 11, 2019

10 steps to achieving optimal health

The road to optimal health isn't always smooth; there can be twists and turns, setbacks and dead ends. These 7 basic steps to build healthy habits and resilience can help you stay on track.

1. Maintain a healthy body weight.

Listicle: Maintain a healthy weight A sedentary lifestyle and a diet with too much processed food can lead to excess weight, which contributes to your risk for heart disease, diabetes and other ailments. New research also shows that parents who maintain a healthy weight can influence whether or not their children are overweight.

2. Eat at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day.

Eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies Eating fresh fruits and vegetables daily is an easy way to optimize your health. While it can seem daunting, a little planning can help you find room in every meal for your "fresh five." Here are some tips from a Sharp dietitian.

3. Reduce the amount of sugar you eat and drink.

Listicle: Reduce your sugar intake Eating and drinking sugary foods and beverages can elevate your risk of Type 2 diabetes and cancer. For optimal health, no more than 10% of your daily caloric intake should come from sugar. Here are some of the sneaky names for sugar hiding in food packaging.

4. Eat moderate amounts of healthy fats and limit unhealthy fats.

Listicle: Eating on the run Choose fish over beef, olive oil over butter, and a handful of nuts over a highly processed treat. These swaps can be harder when you're out and about, but these tips for healthy eating on the run can help.

5. Get 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

Listicle: Get 30 minutes of physical activityExercising for just 30 minutes a day can help your brain and body. And the best part is, you get to choose how you fill those 30 minutes. Whether you like to walk, swim, bike or participate in fitness classes, the point is to move your body, every day.

6. Manage your stress.

   Listicle: manage your stress Whether the cause is work, school, finances or relationships, stress can take a real toll on your health. From headaches to hair loss to reduced bone density, stress can affect both your physical and mental health. Learn more about the physical toll of stress, and how you can reduce it in your own life.

7. Maintain a healthy sleep routine.

Listicle: Maintain a healthy sleep routine Much like stress, sleep (or the lack of it) affects your mental and physical health. Inadequate sleep can cause impaired focus and reduced metabolism, and obstructive sleep apnea can contribute to heart disease. These four tips for better sleep can help you improve your sleep hygiene.

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