Healthy lifestyle: what diet has to do with it

A long, active and fulfilling life is highly desirable for most people. A healthy lifestyle is the foundation. At first, this sounds very plausible – and no sensible person would claim otherwise. But surely you ask yourself from time to time: What is this actually, this "healthy"??
Our health is closely related to our diet. But a healthy lifestyle is more than just nutrition – it includes other areas of life as well. That is what this article is about. Much of this you may already know, have read about or heard about. But we think it’s helpful to regularly brush up on the most important facts. Keeping our awareness of healthy eating alive – this helps us, for example, to make the right choices the next time we go shopping and prepare our food.
Our editorial team hopes you enjoy reading this article. A little tip: At the end of the article you will find 6 things with which you can make your everyday life health-conscious and active.

Here’s what you can expect in this article:

A healthy lifestyle is fun

What comes to mind when you think of a healthy lifestyle? Maybe going hiking with friends in the Harz mountains or playing a round of tennis on the weekend? You might also consider walking or biking rather than taking short trips to work or the grocery store, while being out in the fresh air? Or you have an active vacation in mind, perhaps a cycling vacation on the Moselle or a surfing vacation on the Portuguese Atlantic coast.

When we are healthy, we usually cope with difficult situations more calmly

All these activities contribute to a healthy lifestyle. And the reverse is also true: When we’re healthy, we can implement more of these activities and enjoy what we like best longer. And it is easier for us to stay calm even in difficult situations.

We notice it at the latest when we are not feeling well. Maybe we are coming down with a cold, we are stressed for a long time or we feel lonely. Then nothing is really fun anymore, even everyday tasks become difficult and we long for the day when our health starts to improve again. A proverb puts it this way:

Health is like salt: you only notice when it is missing.

A healthy lifestyle is good for body and mind

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health this way (Source: WHO):

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

WHO definition of health

The WHO thus relates human health to areas other than our body – because all areas of life are interrelated.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the United Nations’ coordinating agency for international public health. It was founded in 1948 and currently has 194 member states.

WHO’s goal is to achieve the highest possible level of health for all people worldwide. Its primary mission is to control disease, especially infectious disease, and to promote the general health of people worldwide.

WHO has many fields in which it is active, from air quality to alcohol consumption. Nutrition (Source: WHO ) as the basis for a healthy life plays a central role.

Health is the foundation for everything else: Our health determines how we feel, what we are generally capable of, what we can accomplish, and whether we enjoy what we do. And last but not least, our health also has an impact on our life expectancy. Reason enough to actively do something for our health. Reason enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

A healthy lifestyle has a lot to do with nutrition

Our lifestyle and diet affect our health – perhaps not immediately, but often over time. That’s why we don’t have to feel guilty about eating a big slice of cream cake or a curry sausage – as long as it’s only on our menu once in a while, it’s harmless to our health. But if we permanently eat unbalanced or too much (or too little), it can affect our health. The reverse is just as true:

Also positive effects of nutrition only become noticeable when they become part of our daily lifestyle.

You may be familiar with the saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". An apple every day – and not just once in a while.

Proper intake of fats supports a healthy lifestyle

A diet that keeps our bodies healthy is the foundation for all our activities. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) has established 10 rules for a complete diet (Source: German Nutrition Society). Fats are a necessary component of a balanced diet:

The German Nutrition Society recommends that one-third of daily energy intake be provided by fats.

Two-thirds of the fats consumed daily should consist of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. This supports a heart-healthy diet.

The recommended Ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is to consume no more than five times as much omega-6 as omega-3. Only then is the positive, health-promoting effect of omega-3 guaranteed. It lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. Those who prefer oils and fats rich in omega-3 can therefore decisively improve the balance of fatty acids throughout the day.

How to implement the rules for healthy eating

Health begins with following the rules for a healthy diet (Source: German Nutrition Society) to be implemented in everyday life.

The 10 dietary rules

Take advantage of the variety of foods and eat a varied diet. Choose mostly plant-based foods.

Enjoy at least 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit a day. Colorful choices also include legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and beans, and (unsalted) nuts.

When it comes to grain products such as bread, pasta, rice and flour, the whole-grain variety is the best choice for your health.

Eat milk and dairy products such as yogurt and cheese daily, and fish once or twice a week. If you do eat meat, don’t eat more than 300 to 600 grams per week.

Give preference to vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil and spreadable fats made from them. Avoid hidden fats. Fat is often "invisible" in processed foods such as sausage, pastries, sweets, fast food and convenience products.

Foods and beverages sweetened with sugar are not recommended. Avoid them as much as possible and use sugar sparingly. Cut back on salt and reduce the amount of high-salt foods you eat. Season creatively with herbs and spices.

Drink about 1.5 liters every day. Water or other calorie-free drinks such as unsweetened tea are best. Sugar-sweetened and alcoholic drinks are not recommended.

Cook food as long as necessary and as short as possible, with little water and little fat. Avoid burning foods when frying, grilling, baking and deep frying.

Give yourself a break for your meals and take your time eating.

Whole foods and physical activity go hand in hand. It is not only regular exercise that helps, but also an active daily routine, in which you z. B. Walk or cycle more often.

Not all fat is the same

You would like to learn more about fats and oils –
or do not know certain terms?
Our FAQ can help.

The basis of the diet – after sufficient fluids – is vegetables and fruit, followed by cereal products.

Smoothie instead of honey rolls for breakfast – that’s just right.

Tip: At breakfast, simply replace a slice of bread with a small salad or fruit. To eat healthy, follow these rules:

Buy fresh food a.

Do you cook yourself according to healthy recipes.

Reduce sugar and sugary snacks.

Be careful with fats and oils high proportion of omega-3 fatty acids.

Experience shows that it takes a few weeks to get used to new habits, but you may soon notice that you feel better and fitter. In the long run, you will definitely benefit health-wise from a balanced diet. But do not forget: Eating should definitely be fun and tasty – for example with these delicious recipes.

Our lifestyle has an impact on our health

How we behave and what we eat increases or decreases our risk of getting sick. You are probably aware of this. But again, what influences a healthy lifestyle?? To give you a compact overview, we have compiled a few particularly important factors for you in this list:

What influences a healthy lifestyle?

  • Anyone who eats a one-sided diet low in vitamins over a long period of time soon suffers from various deficiency symptoms. Vitamin E, for example, helps to protect our cells from oxidative stress (an explanation of the term can be found at the end of this list). (Source: Food and Nutrition Therapy and Prevention Society (FET) e. V.)
  • If you frequently consume sugary foods, you risk tooth decay and related dental problems, among other things. (Source: German Nutrition Society)
  • Those who spend most of their time indoors produce too little vitamin D, because the body produces this vitamin when sunlight hits our skin. (Source: German Nutrition Society)
  • Those who eat a permanently unbalanced diet and develop excess weight increase their risk of developing secondary diseases such as obesity or diabetes in the long run. The risk increases when we exercise little and suffer from stress. (Source: Federal Center for Nutrition)
  • Stress causes many diseases, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and dementia. Under stress, we often choose foods that have the desired effect for a short time: Coffee perks us up and the chocolate bar brings instant energy. Some people are also so-called stress starvers and forget to eat wholesome meals: In the morning only a coffee – and in between a croissant from the bakery, in the evening quickly a salad from the refrigerated shelf. In the long run, so-called stress eating and stress starving is unbalanced and can make us sick because we don’t eat enough nutrients that are important for the health of our body. (Source: Federal Center for Nutrition)

During metabolism or when UV light hits our skin, so-called free radicals are produced, among other things. Free radicals lack an electron in their molecules. They are therefore incomplete and relatively reactive. This means that they can snatch electrons from our body cells and damage them in this way. Vitamin E can stop this reaction. This is what happens: Vitamin E is available for the free radical with its electrons and our cells remain unaffected as a result. Vitamin E thus acts in the body as a so-called antioxidant and helps to curb free radicals.

A healthy environment helps us to feel good in our surroundings

Living in an intact environment and enjoying nature: More and more people are realizing how important this is. Every individual can make his contribution. But companies also need to conserve resources, for example by producing sustainably: with recycled materials and products from certified sustainable agriculture. Paying attention to short production routes and the lowest possible CO2 emissions in production also protects the environment and brings a plus in well-being.

6 things you can do to make your everyday life more health-conscious and active

Maybe you’re an avid walker or run up to speed in the third set of a volleyball game – there are many ways we can get moving. The main thing is that we keep moving at all. It doesn’t always have to be peak performance. To get more exercise, we can also incorporate small things into our daily routine: taking the stairs rather than the elevator, getting regular exercise in the fresh air, and sometimes exerting ourselves and getting really out of breath. Individual goals are more important than records and ambitious plans – and sport should above all be fun.

Variety is particularly important for a healthy diet. Eat and drink whole foods according to the 10 rules of the DGE. (Source: German Nutrition Society). In addition to carbohydrates, fats and proteins, the proportion of vitamins, trace elements and minerals is also crucial.

Many foods have ingredients with a physiological effect that support our bodily functions.

Preparing the food yourself helps to adapt the nutrients to your own needs. People who suffer from gout, for example, benefit from a low-purine diet. Athletes, on the other hand, need not only extra calories but also more protein to build muscle, and heart-healthy meals are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, among other things (source: German Nutrition Society). If you cook for yourself, you can put your food together in the best possible way and won’t want to miss the added pleasure of varied, home-prepared food. On the other hand, the negative properties of sugary snacks like candy bars are often underestimated.

Snacks often provide us with empty carbohydrates, fat and protein, so we no longer feel an appetite and simply skip a meal. Then, at the end of the day, important vitamins, minerals, fiber and secondary plant substances are often missing.

Leading a conscious life also means taking periods of rest and recuperation. This includes getting enough sleep every day and listening to our bodies when we are tired and exhausted. A prerequisite for healthy sleep is to keep regular hours when eating. The last meal should be eaten at least two to three hours before bedtime.

But it is also important to have rest periods when we are awake, when our body and mind can relax. Meditation can help you to relax deeply and develop more serenity.

Stress is a constant companion in everyday life for many people. What stresses us is something different for everyone. Financial worries make 37 percent of Germans feel stressed, closely followed by hectic and stressful everyday life (36 percent). Arguments and anger in the family as well as health concerns are the number three stress triggers. This is what the Statista survey Burnout and Stress 2018 proves.

Experts advise in stressful situations to see things more calmly in order not to get out of balance. This is often easier said than done. When it comes to stress management, it can help to do everyday things mindfully and consciously and to make time for eating, for example. Good organization of tasks and free time are also part of it. Talking to family and friends about stress and looking for solutions is very helpful.

But on the subject of stress, nutrition can also help:

Increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids protects against depression because it affects the release of the happiness hormones serotonin and dopamine.

Our lives can be hectic and often heartfelt, personal encounters come far too short – this was especially true during the past Corona time. Studies show, however, that our social contacts have a great influence on our well-being. Conversations, hugs and touches have a soothing and calming effect and support your health. Why not cook a delicious three-course meal with your loved ones?. Cooking and eating together is an age-old proven way to build community and foster a sense of belonging.

Of course, in the current times of social distancing, face-to-face meetings are not possible – but together with your loved ones you can also spend time digitally – with long phone calls or video conferences.

A positive outlook on life is also beneficial for our health. People who enjoy life laugh more often – and laughter has been shown to be good for our health. It’s not a matter of sugarcoating everything. However, many people have good experiences with sharpening their focus on positive things and concentrating more on things for which they are grateful – because gratitude triggers joy.

Since it is very beneficial for health, I decided to be happy.

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