Wellness is more than just the feel of being healthy. It’s about making mindful decisions on a daily basis that allow you to live a carefree, healthy and fulfilling life. But how can you make the right choices in a world where you are bombarded by thousands of health threats every day, and some of these are self-inflicted? 


Often, the problem isn’t the desire to make lifestyle changes to improve health and wellbeing, or even taking the first step. The bottleneck is finding a way to remain motivated once the initial enthusiasm wears off or if we encounter some setbacks. There`s only one way to get started: Take action, and be determined about it! This is the best way to generate propelling `steam`, energy and motivation. Your excitement grows and catches on once you witness progress.


The concept of wellness lifestyle isn’t about a temporary diet to lose extra-weight or achieve a certain aesthetic goal but a true lifestyle transformation focused on strengthening and revitalizing your body from the inside out. Surely by now you`re more than familiar with the importance of a healthy diet and the need for regular workout, but there`s much more of a change you can do. So, if you’re craving for advice on how to take care of your body, consider the following additional lifestyle modification recommendations:


1. Get enough sleep!


Sleep is a non-negotiable asset for health, with some sleep experts claiming that it is even more important than diet and exercise combined! Sleep helps our bodies recover and heal and is fundamental for hormone production. It also improves mood, boosts daytime performance and much more. In brief, if you aren’t sleeping well, you aren’t really that healthy.


Adults need at least 7- 8 hours of continuous sleep each night to be well rested. To restore your sleep balance, you need at least two nights in row of unrestricted good quality sleep. Sleep is free and it`s a pretty simple – yet extremely effective – lifestyle modification to make if you commit to it.


2. Drink water!


Water does more than just quench your thirst and regulate your body’s temperature; it also keeps your body tissues moist. Surely you are familiar with how it feels when your eyes or mouth gets dry! Just like sleep, water is essential for proper digestion and prevention of constipation, mental health, detoxification and flushing out of waste and more.


A good rule of thumb is that you should not let yourself get really thirsty. Trust your thirst; it`s there for a reason (feeling thirsty indicates your body is not receiving adequate hydration). According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.


3. Get fat…in your diet!


Hold on, this is not a license to make fried food a regular plate on your dining table. But healthy dietary fats from foods like avocado, fatty fish, and nuts are essential for optimum immune system function, healthy heart and bones as well as a glowing skin.


Olive oil, in particular, is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which are considered a healthy dietary fat that may help lower your risk of coronary artery disease by improving related risk factors, such as lowering total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. Just a tablespoon or two every day is all what you need to reap a multitude of health benefits. Bottom line, olive oil is super healthy!


4. Take a probiotic!


Which supplements you need and don’t need can be really confusing, but scientists are increasingly coming to believe in the vast health benefits that can be reaped out of a healthy balance of gut bacteria; from an improved mood, reduced anxiety and depression to a better-functioning immune system and reduction of `bad` LDL-Cholesterol. Your body`s microbiome protects you against germs, breaks down food to release energy, and produces vitamins. One easy way to start working on your microbiome is to take a high-quality probiotic daily. Not all probiotics are the same, ask your doctor about the ideal probiotic for your health. 


5. Cut down on caffeine!


Caffeine can greatly reduce the amount and quality of a person’s sleep. Drinking coffee too late in the day can interfere with falling asleep quickly since the half-life of caffeine is 4-6 hours. Therefore, it is highly advised that drinking coffee, tea and soda drinks should be stopped at least 4 hours before bedtime.


Have you been feeling increasingly anxious lately? A blaming finger may be pointed at too much caffeine. Caffeine comes with a burst of energy, which is why so many of us – and probably you – crave for it. However, that energy also stimulates our `fight or flight` hormones. This may induce anxiety, nervousness and heart palpitations.


It`s also clear that caffeine alters the mood. Many people state feeling grumpy until they’ve had their morning coffee or complain of feeling lethargic when the caffeine level begins to wean off in the afternoon. Moreover, caffeine is a major trigger for headaches and migraines. So, should you cut down on it? If you are addicted to your coffee mug or fizzy drink but you are keen on modifying your lifestyle for a better health, then you already know the answer!


In conclusion, effective lifestyle modification involves knowledge, action and commitment — which many patients think is too difficult to do. The hardest thing for people to do is to change lifestyles. Elevated blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose don`t just develop overnight, they develop over decades of exposure to unhealthy lifestyles. Since it takes decades to develop these health burdens and the habits that precede them, reversing the process takes determined, long-term effort. Be patient with yourself and remember that making healthy lifestyle changes is a long-term investment to support your health and quality of life.


Dr. Sarwan Saleem

General Practitioner

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