October is National Family Health Month, an annual campaign that invites Americans to take a closer look at family wellness, especially since so many causes of illness and death─like cancer, heart disease, stroke and lung disease─may be prevented by daily lifestyle choices. These 5 tips can benefit you now, as well as helping to keep disease away in future years:
Enhance Family Nutrition
Improving the quality of your family menu is easier than you think. If everyone starts the day with a high-quality protein shake that includes super green foods, you’ve already got a major head start in terms of optimal daily nutrition. For other meals, consider the USDA MyPlate model, filling half your plate with fresh produce. As for the other half, be sure your protein is lean and your carbs are whole foods.
Boost Physical Fitness
Can you believe something that’s fun, easy and free can help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression and, possibly, colon cancer, stroke and back injury? Yes, exercise! You’ll feel better on every level and more easily manage your weight with daily fitness. As for kids, staying active is not only healthy, it’s also a vital key to preventing childhood obesity.
Lose Weight if Needed
Being overweight increases your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some cancers, gallbladder disease and arthritis in your weight-bearing joints. Now factor in the emotional and social problems overweight people─especially kids─typically contend with. To lose weight, balance daily activity with a protein-rich, veggie-packed diet that minimizes refined carbs/sugar and processed/fast foods. Don’t forget your daily multi-vitamin/mineral formula.
Go Tobacco Free
Does anyone in your household smoke? If so, addressing this issue is crucial for individual and family health. Tobacco use is extremely dangerous, both as an example to set and a substance to expose family members to, especially in the form of second hand smoke. More preventable illnesses are caused by tobacco than by almost any other factor. If you smoke, quit─for your own sake─and those you love. This helpful resource can get you started.
Stay Moderate with Alcohol
One drink per day for women and two for men is considered moderate, and does provide health benefits─especially for red wine, which contains antioxidant-packed resveratrol. If you greatly exceed that amount, however, you’re putting your wellness at risk. Heavy drinking is associated with cancer and increased overall mortality, as well as liver and cardiovascular diseases. Women are especially vulnerable, as alcohol is a primary breast cancer risk factor─even at moderate daily levels.1
For some families, putting these 5 tips involve into action will involve some major changes. However, increased awareness is the first step, and small improvements count. Take action where you can. You and your family deserve it.
Have a Happy Family.
1Eur J Cancer Prev. 2011 Oct 13. [Epub ahead of print]