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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ten Questions you ask yourself

1) Do I only drink recommended safe amounts of alcohol? 
Recent studies say that a moderate one or two units a day lessens the risk of heart disease in men over 40 and in women post-menopause. One unit of alcohol is the equivalent of half a pint of ordinary strength beer, a 
glass of wine, or a pub measure of spirit. Drinking more damages every part of the body. So, men, 3-4 units and you are asking for trouble. And women, let’s not overdo it and down 2-3 units a day. 

2) Do I eat 5 portions of fruit and veggies a day? 
Yes, great idea because this way you’ll end up getting your daily requirement of vitamins and minerals. For eg, a banana counts as one portion, as does a glass of fruit juice, or 2 tablespoons of green peas. Fruit and vegetables are an excellent source of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, E and selenium. Antioxidants have been shown to reduce chances of developing heart disease and certain cancers. Fruit and vegetables also provide the digestive system with the fibre it needs. 

3) Should I be active for at least 30 mins every day? 
Regular exercise helps to keep your heart healthy, your joints strong, and your weight down. Besides, exercise releases endorphins — the feel good chemicals — that pep you up. Thirty minutes a day on at least five days of the week is what’s currently recommended and brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing are all good ways to get your body to sweat it out. Also, do the kind of exercise you enjoy so it won’t seem like punishment to you. 

4) Do I drink 8 glasses of water a day or more? 
The body needs water for many different reasons — for good digestion, to keep the immune system strong, and to keep the skin healthy, to name but a few. However, few people drink the recommended 8 glasses a day. In warmer weather everyone should drink a little more than this. Mixing water with fruit juice adds a little more taste to this cool and refreshing drink. Remember that drinking decaffeinated drinks is another good way of giving the body the liquid it needs so you don’t feel tired. 

5) Do I keep my salt to a minimum or can I indulge myself? 
Duh!!! Unless you are looking to get BP. The problem is most of us don’t know just how much salt we are taking in because it’s hidden in processed foods, bread, biscuits and cereals. At the dinner table, keep the salt shaker as a decorative piece, because there’s salt already in your cooked food. The body needs the sodium component of salt to keep the concentration of body fluids at the correct level and to help the transmission of electrical nerve impulses. Too much salt is a major risk factor for high blood pressure and this leads to heart attacks and strokes.

6) Do I only occasionally eat fatty and sugary foods? 
But of course. Sugary foods can damage the teeth and pile on the pounds. Fatty foods also contribute to obesity and narrowing of the blood vessels resulting in heart disease. Overweight people are also at risk of diabetes and osteoarthritis because of the great strain that will be put on the joints. Eating fatty or sugary foods as a treat every now and then shouldn’t be a problem, it should be enjoyable if you have a sweet tooth. Just don’t live on them. 

7) How much sleep should I get to be healthy? 
The body needs sleep to help it recharge. On an average 8 hours is needed but some people need less than this, some need more. Tiredness causes poor concentration and performance and is responsible for many accidents, particularly on the road. Going to bed and getting up at the same time helps the body get into an effective routine so that the necessary rest is obtained. 

8) Is it okay to smoke a few cigarettes? 
Smoking has more than 50 ways of affecting your health and 20 ways of killing you. One in two smokers can expect to die of a smoking-related disease, half of those in middle age. Apart from the well-known risks of heart attacks, stroke and lung cancer, smoking ages the skin prematurely, reduces fertility and can cause impotence. Nicotine addiction is well recognised and nicotine replacement therapy is available in patches, gum, lozenges, tablets, an inhaler, or nasal spray. 

9) Do I take time out everyday to relax and unwind? 
Our lives are getting busier and more stressed. Our bodies are being drained of energy. Short-term stress is good since it helps you perform better and keep on the ball. Long-term stress, however, can damage the body causing high BP, stomach ulcers, and depression. Recurrent cough and colds, tiredness, irritability, are all signs that a break is needed. Every hour, have a few minutes for yourself, to relax and unwind. Do this by performing some simple muscle stretches, practising some deep breathing relaxation exercises, or listening to some music. 

10) Should I feel happy? 
When someone feels happy it boosts their immune defence system and makes them more likely to look after their health. But everyone has ups and downs, and this is normal. However, when people feel unhappy more often than usual, it leads to depression. Depression can be successfully treated. It’s not someone’s fault if they develop depression and they shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

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