Disease prevention is essential for maintaining an optimal health level and reducing yearly healthcare costs.
Do you know Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote? He stated that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and it is one of the best ways to approach health.
You can save a lot of stress and money by actively preventing diseases! There are numerous ways to do that and this article will present the most important ones, so keep reading.
This might be a no-brainer, but hundreds of millions of people spend money on cigarettes which are known to contain more than 4,000 toxins such as lead, cadmium and benzene.
These substances are known carcinogens and can lead to severe respiratory problems. Unfortunately, more than 6 million people die each year as a result of smoking.
Smoking can be life-threatening and it drastically reduces one’s health and fitness levels. If you smoke, try to quit and if you don’t, congratulations!
Remain a non-smoker and you have a much lower risk of developing respiratory or cardiovascular disease.
Get regular health checks
Disease prevention can be done best by getting a health check at least once or twice a year. Such tests are not very expensive and they reveal vital information related to your overall health levels.
For example, getting a blood test can provide info on your hormonal balance and whether you are deficient in certain vitamins or not.
A healthcare provider will interpret these results for you and make appropriate recommendations to improve the quality of your life.
Monitor heart rate
The heart rate is another important indicator of your overall health. The normal heart rate for an adult differs, but ideally, it should be in the 70-90 bpm range.
This indicator is important because it accurately reflects the health of the heart. A high resting heart rate (over 90) means that the heart needs to work overtime to pump blood through veins and arteries and this can be a sign of high cholesterol levels.
On the other hand, a low rate level indicates a strong heart and a flexible circulatory system. Very healthy individuals can have a resting heart rate between 50 and 60. Athletes routinely have heart rates under 50 bpm.
Monitor glucose levels
Blood glucose is a fancy word for sugar levels in the body. Anything we eat gets transformed into glucose, but this doesn’t mean that high sugar levels are good.
Quite the contrary, high glucose levels might indicate life-threatening health conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
Studies show that refined sugars also promote inflammation in the body which can lead to various health conditions. A good rule of thumb would be to simply reduce the intake of refined sugars (sodas, cookies and cakes) and get your sugar from fruits.
Reducing sugar intake should be done gradually. For example, you can start by adding less sugar to your coffee and eating fewer candies every day. By slowly reducing sugar intake, cravings and pangs won’t be as powerful either.
Exercise daily to keep the immune system strong
Your immune system is your main defense against viruses and bacteria. Weak immune systems predispose someone to colds and flu. One of the best ways to improve the immune system is by engaging in physical exercise on a regular basis.
You don’t have to run 10 miles every day or sweat in the gym for two hours straight. You can strengthen your body’s immune function by walking briskly for 20 minutes every other day, going for a mild jog once in a while and by doing other cardio activities such as biking and swimming.
Apart from enhancing your immune system, doing mild cardio activities regularly also brings other benefits such as higher metabolism (so you can burn fat quicker and maintain an ideal weight), better concentration (so you can be more productive at work) and lowering anxiety levels (boosting your self-confidence).
Yes, garlic might give you an unpleasant breath, but its main compound – allicin – is a powerful antioxidant. In fact, allicin helps the body fight viruses, it improves the immune function and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
To reap the most benefits provided by garlic, you should chop it in small chunks and let it stay on a cutting board for up to 10 minutes before eating it. This helps to activate the allicin in the garlic, allowing you to get the most out of its anti-inflammatory properties.
On top of preventing diseases, garlic has also been shown to improve cholesterol levels and reducing triglycerides. It can normalize blood pressure and if it is consumed for a long period of time (2-3 months), it can have aphrodisiac properties.
Wash your hands
No, this is not a joke. Many people rush to eat foods without washing their hands and they get different types of health problems. Washing hands is a staple when it comes to disease prevention.
Did you know that your phone and computer mouse have more bacteria than a toilet seat? Remember that you routinely put your hands on various objects which are shared with other people such as door handles, money and cutlery items.
Washing your hands is paramount to eliminate most bacteria and viruses and ensure vibrant health in the long run.
Specialists recommend washing the hands for about 20 seconds under a powerful stream of warm water and using high-quality soaps, preferably ones which have potent disinfectant properties.
Practice safe sex
Multiple diseases can be transmitted through sex and unlike common colds or flu, these diseases can have life-threatening consequences, not to mention that some of them are incurable.
One of the best ways to prevent STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) is to use a condom each time you have sex, particularly with new partners.
Getting screened regularly for various STDs such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea also puts you in control of your health and prevents more dangerous complications.
Limit alcohol consumption
Alcohol consumed in moderation doesn’t pose a problem for most people and some scientists argue that it can actually have certain health benefits.
Most healthcare providers recommend drinking one 330ml beer or one glass of wine per day at most. Higher amounts of alcoholic beverages can pose serious health problems, particularly in the long run.
People who abuse alcohol develop gastritis and stomach ulcers. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease can also develop as a result of consuming too much alcohol for years.
Lastly, acute liver problems such as cirrhosis or liver cancer will significantly reduce one’s lifespan and they are usually caused by too much alcohol.
The good news is that alcoholic beverages can be easily replaced with non-alcoholic cocktails. You can also practice sobriety by drinking lots of lemonade, green tea, milk and pure water instead. Even better, try liver-cleansing beverages that can reverse the damaged done by alcohol!
Reduce your stress levels
Stress is another important element when it comes to disease prevention as it is inevitable in our modern society when we have to juggle so many responsibilities and tasks on a daily basis.
This can drastically increase stress levels and put a lot of mental and emotional pressure. Stress is commonly represented by the cortisol hormone produced by the adrenal glands which are responsible for the “fight or flight” response.
When we are stressed, too much cortisol is released in the body. This can affect the proper functioning of the immune system which in turn can predispose someone to getting a cold or the flu.
Very stressed people usually develop more serious health complications including diabetes.
How to distress? Simple: do what you like! Take a 20-minute walk from time to time. Get a nap. Go on vacation for a few days. Take a break from time to time. Practice breathing exercises. Do yoga. Join a singing class. Watch a movie. The possibilities are endless!
Bonus – limit time spent on social media platforms
Most people probably might not like this one, but studies show that spending too much on social media platforms and engaging in negative interactions with other users can significantly increase feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
This usually happens because people tend to compare themselves to other users of social networks and attempt to copy/alter their behavior to “fit in”.
Specialists advise to spend less time on social media platforms (1 hour a day at most) and increase the time spent in the company of real-life friends, thus increasing feelings of satisfaction and happiness.
Do not feel like you should do all these things at once. Try to incorporate one of these healthy habits in your daily routine and see how they make you feel.
Disease prevention is not something complicated or something which requires a lot of effort. It should grow naturally out of a healthy lifestyle and positive attitude.
Feel free to comment on this article and share your thoughts. What are your favorite disease prevention tips?