Stop smoking (or don’t start at all)
Sure, everyone knows that smoking is bad for their overall health, but not everyone realizes just how bad it really is. Smoking does much more than stain your teeth yellow and prematurely give you wrinkles. It damages everything from your respiratory to your circulatory system, oftentimes in serious, irreparable ways.
Eat a varied diet with lots of fruits and vegetables
Vitamin supplements may help, but there’s no better way to get your nutrients than from nine servings a day of fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables contain crucial fiber, antioxidants, trace minerals, and tons of vitamins to help fight chronic illness.
Cut down on the amount of sugar in your diet
Especially if you suffer from diabetes, it’s important to reduce and monitor the amount of sugars in your diet. While refined white sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are obvious culprits, even “healthier” sugars like agave syrup and honey are just as high in empty calories.
Stick to healthy fats
Not all fats are created equal. To help keep chronic heart conditions in check, try to eat mono- and polyunsaturated fats found in plant sources including nuts, seeds, oils, and legumes, as well as seafood. Avoid saturated fats from coconut oil or animal products like butter and lard whenever possible.
Get more sleep
Scientists are still discovering ways in which sleep helps the body heal itself. Especially if you’re suffering from a chronic health condition, a good night’s rest is imperative. Aim for a minimum of eight hours of shut-eye every night.
Watch your stress levels
High levels of cortisol have been shown to exacerbate all kinds of medical problems, including hypertension, heart function, mental health, and more. If you’re suffering from prolonged periods of stress, consider practicing yoga, tai chi, or mindful meditation on a regular basis to calm down.
Remember that not all carbs are created equal
Carbohydrates may have gotten a bad name in recent years, but many can be beneficial to your health. Swap refined grains like white rice and white bread for whole grains like quinoa, barley, whole wheat, brown rice, and farro, as legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and black beans. The extra fiber and B vitamins have all kinds of benefits.
Exercise (discuss with your doctor first)
Moderate to strenuous exercise can be beneficial to many chronic medical conditions, but it’s important not to overdo it. Talk to your primary physician before starting an exercise regime and make sure you’re not putting unnecessary strain on your body.