1. Eat a healthy diet
Eat a combination of different foods, including fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. Adults should eat at least five portions (400g) of fruit and vegetables per day. You can improve your intake of fruits and vegetables by always including veggies in your meal; eating fresh fruit and vegetables as snacks; eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, and eating them in season. By eating healthy, you will reduce your risk of malnutrition and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
2. Consume less salt and sugar
Filipinos consume twice the recommended amount of sodium, putting them at risk of high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Most people get their sodium through salt. Reduce your salt intake to 5g per day, equivalent to about one teaspoon. It’s easier to do this by limiting the amount of salt, soy sauce, fish sauce, and other high-sodium condiments when preparing meals; removing salt, seasonings, and condiments from your meal table; avoiding salty snacks; and choosing low-sodium products.
On the other hand, consuming excessive amounts of sugars increases the risk of tooth decay and unhealthy weight gain. In both adults and children, the intake of free sugars should be reduced to less than 10% of total energy intake. This is equivalent to 50g or about 12 teaspoons for an adult. WHO recommends consuming less than 5% of total energy intake for additional health benefits. You can reduce your sugar intake by limiting the consumption of sugary
3. Don’t smoke
Smoking tobacco causes NCDs such as lung disease, heart disease, and stroke. Tobacco kills not only the direct smokers but even non-smokers through second-hand exposure. Currently, there are around 15.9 million Filipino adults who smoke tobacco but 7 in 10 smokers are interested or plan to quit.
If you are currently a smoker, it’s not too late to quit. Once you do, you will experience immediate and long-term health benefits. If you are not a smoker, that’s great! Do not start smoking and fight for your right to breathe tobacco-smoke-free air.
4. Be active
Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. This includes exercise and activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying out household chores, traveling, and engaging in recreational pursuits. The amount of physical activity you need depends on your age group but adults aged 18-64 years should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week. Increase moderate-intensity physical activity to 300 minutes per week for additional health benefits.
5. Avoid harmful use of alcohol
There is no safe level for drinking alcohol. Consuming alcohol can lead to health problems such as mental and behavioral disorders, including alcohol dependence, major NCDs such as liver cirrhosis, some cancers, and heart diseases, as well as injuries resulting from violence and road clashes and collisions.
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Source: World Health Organization