As a general rule those who regularly exercise and have a well-balanced, healthy diet will have a better standard of general health.
Your daily diet should consist of foods from all food groups; these include carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fruit and vegetables. Complex carbohydrates should form the basis of your calorie intake; these foods, which include pasta, rice and bread, release energy slowly making you feel full for longer. Proteins are essential for growth and repair of cells and tissues; foods from this group, which include meat, eggs and fish, should make up 10-15% of your daily calorie intake.
Some foods that are high in fat can be harmful; however, some foods contain essential fatty acids which are used to transport minerals and nutrients in the body. Fat intake should be limited to unsaturated fats and should not exceed 70 grams per day for women and 95 grams per day for men. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients; these substances help to boost the immune system and fight off illnesses.
Poor diet can contribute to several serious illnesses which may include heart disease, diabetes and cancer; while it is impossible to say that a healthy diet will prevent people from suffering from these illnesses, research has consistently proven that people who eat a healthy diet are much less likely to become ill.
Exercise is an important activity for both physical and mental health. It is recommended that people do at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three times per week. Cardiovascular exercise helps to keep the heart healthy, the joints loose and the muscles active. Strength exercises, such as weights help to improve muscle tone. Exercise also provides a release from the grind of daily working life; this can reduce stress and anxiety and increase self-confidence. Exercise is also important to keep weight stable; being severely over or under weight can have serious implications on health and can contribute to several serious illnesses.
Lifestyle choices undoubtedly influence our general health; choosing to smoke, take drugs or drink excessively can have serious implications on health and can contribute to illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and liver cirrhosis, as well as mental illnesses such as depression. There is a great deal of help available for those who may feel they have an addiction and want to quit; several charities run 24 hour phone lines and the NHS offers counselling services and group therapy sessions as well as a key worker system which will ensure one to one help; details of these services can be obtained from your GP.