What does a healthy lifestyle actually mean?

"A healthy lifestyle" has become some kind of a stereotype, overgrown with a bunch of myths. If I don't drink alcohol, but I smoke, and I drink coffee only with no lactose milk, I don't eat meat, I go to the gym twice a week, and try to limit sugar, but on weekends I allow myself to have dinner at McDonald's - am I a healthy person or not? Let's sort out the muddle.

There is methodology for determining a healthy lifestyle, established by Rosstat In March, 2019:

  1. No smoking
  2. Daily consumption of vegetables and fruits
  3. Active lifestyle
  4. Salt consumption no more than 5g per day
  5. Restricted alcohol consumption

Everything is clear about smoking - definitely bad for your health: cancer, heart attack, stroke, emphysema and other terrible consequences, which are written on cigarette packs.

The second point about the daily 400 g of vegetables and fruits, most likely, might be a problem, as the price tags for them are high. Unfortunately, for the majority of average people in concrete jungles, fresh vegetables, fruits and berries are very rare on the table, unless, of course, they grow them on their own.

Though, it is a very important point. They contain a huge amount of vitamins, antioxidants and other microelements that are necessary for a person's well-being and body functioning. You've probably heard the phrase "we are what we eat." And this is one hundred percent true. By eating wholesome and nutritious food instead of junk food, we extend our happy longevity.

A sedentary lifestyle is a real scourge that has captured humanity even more, especially after the pandemic, when it turned out that it is possible to stay at home all the time. Let’s have a look at the average person, literally sitting in an office 5/2 from 10am to 7pm, also sitting in the subway on the way to work and back.

Since early childhood everybody has heard about the need of physical activity. The electric scooter, by the way, does not count. Sport gives a person a boost of vivacity, good mood, and a warm-up for muscles. Also, sport reduces stress levels and strengthens the immune system. 

Salt contains sodium, which is necessary for both cellular metabolism and the central nervous system, not to even mention the water-salt balance. The body cannot produce on its own. But too much salt is also fraught with danger: kidney disease, the risk of cardiovascular disease, leaching of calcium, potassium and magnesium.

The fact is that junk food already contains too much salt, so this is not really about the fact that “you shouldn't add salt to your dishes!”, but rather about the general diet: what do you eat, what are these dishes made of and how are they cooked?

Alcohol in large quantities is detrimental to the body, not to mention addiction. Fortunately, people are becoming more conscious, and more and more of them completely give up alcohol.

OK, and what about the newfangled rejection of milk and veganism?

It seems that this is more of a fashionable trend than real "healthy lifestyle rules". After all, if the main idea is not to harm your health, who said that the body does not suffer from all of the above? It's another matter if there are indications - some diseases, lactose intolerance or allergies. All this takes place as a simple personal preference. But since when has it become the next healthy lifestyle standard?

The same goes for gluten-free products. If you have celiac disease, then there are no questions. And if your body normally perceives it, and you have just decided to abstain, this is, again, a completely different matter.

A 7-8 hour sleep should also be added to the points of a healthy lifestyle, though. The body performs so many functions, gets tired and it needs time to rest and recuperate. You don't have to sleep 5 hours and try to be a productivity master. Most likely, it will not work. And if it works out, then not for long and it will most likely have poor consequences. 

In conclusion, once again we would like to remind you of an important idea - not to harm your health. Do not chase after incomprehensible standards and various newfangled diets, do not go to the extremes of total prohibitions, but simply adhere to the general rules and listen to yourself.

Watch what you eat, lead an active lifestyle, exercise, get enough sleep, rest, smile, laugh and enjoy life more. This is a really healthy lifestyle.