Lifestyle habits and behaviors that promote good health can often prevent disease and the need for drugs and medications.
Prescription drugs get widely used in the United States, where 48.6% of Americans have used at least one drug within the past 30 days. If you use at least one medication, it’s vital to know that most medications only treat symptoms and often do not treat the root cause of health problems. When you stop taking drugs, your symptoms will usually reappear and continue to affect your livelihood until you make the necessary positive lifestyle changes.
Healthy daily habits and lifestyle behaviors are critical to maintaining good overall wellness. They can often provide far more health benefits than any pill or drug. Plus, many medications produce side effects that can lead to other health problems.
Continue reading to learn more about the importance of healthy living over drugs and medications and how you can implement these behaviors into your everyday lifestyle.
Portion control can reduce many uncomfortable digestive problems. Many digestive symptoms occur due to overeating and overloading your digestive system. Eating smaller portions can often prevent weight gain, bloating, and stomach cramping, and pain. Smaller portions can also help you feel lighter and more energetic and control your blood sugar levels.
Overeating can lead to health problems, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. It can also lead to gallbladder disease and the eventual removal of your gallbladder. Medications may reduce your appetite and control symptoms of diabetes and heart disease. However, they won’t cure overeating in the long run.
Talk to your doctor about the best portion sizes for you based on your weight and activity level. Your doctor or nutritionist can help you develop a healthy meal plan and choose portion sizes appropriate for you.
Macronutrients are essential nutrients your body needs to function correctly. Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are the three main types of macronutrients. A diet rich in macronutrients can boost your energy and reduce your risk of diseases, including cancer. It can also strengthen your immune system and make you less likely to become ill.
Your diet should consist of 10% to 35% proteins, 45% to 65% carbohydrates, and 20% to 35% fats. Proteins play a critical role in your metabolism and hormonal balance. Carbohydrates provide you with energy. Fats help protect your organs and get used as an energy reserve for your body. They also help you absorb certain vitamins.
Unhealthy foods can zap your energy and increase your risk for a wide range of illnesses. Instead, eat a diet high in macronutrients and reduce your intake of sugars and processed foods.
Healthy protein sources include:
- Beans and lentils
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Fish, poultry, seafood, and meats
- Soy products, including tofu and edamame
- Avoid processed meats, including bacon, sausage, and hot dogs
Healthy carbohydrates include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Beans and lentils
- Whole grains
- Low-fat or non-fat dairy
- Avoid refined carbs, including cookies, cakes, bread, and candy
Healthy fats include:
- Fatty fish, including salmon, sardines, and tuna
- Nuts and seeds
- Olive and avocado oils
- Avoid unhealthy fats, including butter, full-fat dairy, and fried foods
Like good nutrition, exercise can prevent and fight off many diseases, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Exercise is a drug-free way to reduce high blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight. There are no pills or medications that produce the same health benefits as exercise.
Try to exercise on most days of the week. Do at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercises per week, including brisk walking, running, or bicycling. Combine cardio exercise with strength training for optimal health benefits. If you have a low fitness level, start walking for a few minutes a day. Then, gradually increase the intensity of your workouts.
Ask your doctor for help with developing the best exercise routine for you based on your current health and fitness level. Working with your doctor can help you stay safe, especially if you have a chronic health condition like heart disease.
Many people who start a new exercise routine don’t stick with it for a long time. For example, research shows that the majority of people who make the New Year’s resolution to exercise quit before the end of January. The best way to stick with exercise is to do activities you enjoy. Do exercises that are fun for you, whether it be hiking, dancing, or gardening.
Getting Quality Sleep
Quality sleep is an essential component of good health that gets commonly overlooked. Your body heals and repairs itself every night while you sleep. Sleep also helps you produce specialized hormones like melatonin that reduce your risk of cancer.
Sleep refreshes your body and brain, repairs cells, and reduces stress. It helps your body eliminate waste that can build up to cause illness and disease. Poor sleep can lead to various chronic health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can also lead to constipation, fatigue, and high stress.
Make sleep a top priority in your life. Do whatever it takes so you can sleep better and more comfortably. Hang blackout curtains that reduce noise and light. Invest in a more comfortable mattress and bedding. Consider falling asleep to a white noise machine, or download meditation apps that help you fall and stay asleep.
Sleeping pills may help you fall asleep quickly but usually only work for a short period. Many types of sleeping pills can lead to dependence and addiction. They may also cause rebound insomnia when you stop taking them. Rebound insomnia is insomnia that was worse than insomnia you had before treatment.
Talk to your doctor if you have an underlying health condition causing sleep problems, such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is often gets caused by lifestyle factors including obesity, smoking, and alcohol use. Changing these lifestyle behaviors may help you treat sleep apnea and prevent you from needing any pills or medications.
Managing and Reducing Stress
Many people believe that stress affects only your mental health. However, stress can lead to several serious physical health problems. Headaches, obesity, high blood pressure, and digestive issues represent many health conditions caused by stress.
Stress is the body’s natural response to potentially life-threatening situations. Stress usually goes away on its own after the threatening situation has passed. However, stress can become dangerous to your health if it doesn’t go away.
When you’re stressed, your body releases a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol increases your heart rate and blood pressure. When you have chronic stress that doesn’t go away, your heart rate and blood pressure stay high. That can lead to many heart problems, along with weight gain, depression, and muscle pain.
Benzodiazepines and antidepressants are the most common types of medications used to reduce stress. However, these medications are not ideal for long-term use because they cause side effects leading to other health problems. For instance, benzodiazepines can be addictive when used for longer than a few weeks.
Learn how to effectively manage stress so you can avoid taking any medications. Medications will not treat the root cause of your stress. Many of the daily habits mentioned in this article can help you reduce stress. Exercise regularly, get quality sleep, and eat lots of healthy foods. Other ways to reduce stress include doing yoga or meditation, discovering new hobbies, and spending time with loving friends and family.
Quitting smoking, or never smoking, is one of the best health choices you can make throughout your life. The CDC reports that more than 16 million Americans are currently living with a disease caused by smoking.
Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death. If you quit smoking or never smoke, you can avoid cancer, lung disease, and heart disease. You can also prevent diabetes, stroke, and erectile dysfunction. All these diseases commonly get treated using pills and medications.
If you currently smoke, ask your doctor about treatments that can help you quit. Certain medications can help you stop smoking. However, these medications should only be used for a short time until you can entirely quit.
There are also lots of non-drug treatments that may help you stop smoking. Acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and herbal supplements may work.
Exercising regularly can also motivate you to quit smoking. Smoking affects your lung health and can make it difficult to breathe, especially when doing aerobic exercises. Suppose smoking is holding you back from increasing the intensity of your workouts. In that case, you may find that quitting is easier than you think.
Health Services At Lompoc Valley Medical Center
Lompoc Valley Medical Care is home to a large team of board-certified medical doctors who can help you make healthy lifestyle changes and reduce your need for medication. Visit our provider page today to make an appointment and learn more about our many available healthcare services for you and your family.