10 Tips for a Healthier 2022
The start of a new decade brings with it new resolutions to improve one’s life, including a healthier lifestyle. Here are 10 practical health tips to help you start off towards healthy living in 2022.
1. Reduce intake of harmful fats
Fats consumed should be less than 30% of your total energy intake. This will help prevent unhealthy weight gain and NCDs. There are different types of fats, but unsaturated fats are preferable over saturated fats and trans-fats. WHO recommends reducing saturated fats to less than 10% of total energy intake; reducing trans-fats to less than 1% of total energy intake; and replacing both saturated fats and trans-fats to unsaturated fats.
The preferable unsaturated fats are found in fish, avocado and nuts, and in sunflower, soybean, canola and olive oils; saturated fats are found in fatty meat, butter, palm and coconut oil, cream, cheese, ghee and lard; and trans-fats are found in baked and fried foods, and pre-packaged snacks and foods, such as frozen pizza, cookies, biscuits, and cooking oils and spreads.
Smoking tobacco causes NCDs such as lung disease, heart disease and stroke. Tobacco kills not only the direct smokers but even non-smokers through second-hand exposure. Currently, there are around 15.9 million Filipino adults who smoke tobacco but 7 in 10 smokers are interested or plan to quit.
If you are currently a smoker, it’s not too late to quit. Once you do, you will experience immediate and long-term health benefits If you are not a smoker, that’s great! Do not start smoking and fight for your right to breathe tobacco-smoke-free air.
3. Be Active
Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. This includes exercise and activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying outhousehold chores, travelling, and engaging in recreational pursuits. The amount of physical activity you need depends on your age group but adults aged 18-64 years should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week. Increase moderate-intensity physical activity to 300 minutes per week for additional health benefits.
4. Follow traffic laws
Road crashes claim over one million lives around the world and millions more are injured. Road Traffic injuries are preventable through a variety of measures implemented by the government such as strong legislation and enforcement, safer infrastructure and vehicle standards, and improved post-crash care. You yourself can also prevent road crashes by ensuring that you follow traffic laws such as using the seatbelt for adults and child restraint for your kids, wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle or bicycle, not drinking and driving, and not using your mobile phone while driving.
5.Drink only safe water
Drinking unsafe water can lead to water-borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces. Check with your water concessionaire and water refilling station to ensure that the water you’re drinking is safe. In a setting where you are unsure of your water source, boil your water for at least one minute. This will destroy harmful organisms in the water. Let it cool naturally before drinking.
6.Clean your hands properly
Hand hygiene is critical not only for health workers but for everyone. Clean hands can prevent the spread of infectious illnesses. You should handwash using soap and water when your hands are visibly soiled or handrub using an alcohol- based product.
7. Prepare your food correctly
Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, causes more than 200 diseases – ranging from diarrhoea to cancers. When buying food at the market or store, check the labels or the actual produce to ensure it is safe to eat. If you are preparing food, make sure you follow the Five keys to Safer food (1) keep clean; (2) separate raw and cooked; (3) cook thoroughly; (4) keep food at safe temperatures; and (5) use safe water and raw materials.
8.Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
Diseases such as influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis are transmitted through the air. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, infectious agents may be passed on to others through airborne droplets. When you feel a cough or sneeze coming on, make sure you have covered your mouth with a face mask or use a tissue then dispose it carefully. If you do not have a tissue close by when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth as much as possible with the crook (or the inside) of your elbow.
Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent diseases. Vaccines work with your body’s natural defences to build protection against diseases like cervical cancer, cholera, diphtheria, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, pneumonia, polio, rabies, rubella, tetanus, typhoid, and yellow fever.
In the Philippines, free vaccines are provided to children 1 year old and below as part of the Department of Health’s routine immunization programme. If you are an adolescent or adult, you may ask your physician if to check your immunization status or if you want to have yourself vaccinated.
10.Eat a healthy diet
Eat a combination of different foods, including fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. Adults should eat at least five portions (400g) of fruit and vegetables per day. You can improve your intake of fruits and vegetables by always including veggies in your meal; eating fresh fruit and vegetables as snacks; eating a variety of fruits and vegetables; and eating them in season. By eating healthy, you will reduce your risk of malnutrition and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.