In one of the richest and most advanced countries in the world, it’s alarming that we have such poor health. With an army of health care practitioners and an arsenal of drug remedies for just about any form of illness, we are still some of the sickest people in the world. Partly this dichotomy results from the Americanized lifestyle of “sin now and pay later,” but a bigger contributor is our tendency to react to a major health problem instead of modifying our lives more towards prevention. This problem stands out even more in the communities of color because many people do not know about alternative and preventative methods of living.

With hypertension, kidney failure, heart disease, some kinds of cancer and diabetes leading as some the most debilitating – yet often preventable – afflictions, it is odd that in the communities of color these cases keep rising. It is not a lack of education that leads to many people contracting such health problems; it is a lack of compliance. We have been taught that there are pills to treat any ailment, so we forget that ultimately we are the ones to blame for most of our health problems. Also if you contend, like popular culture, that drug companies have your best interests in mind, be advised that they do not – and will not as long as we allow ourselves to become dependent and not take responsibility for our own actions (or, more accurately, inaction). Despite the evident grimness, there are a few things that you can do to improve your health.

Get a check-up by a preventative-based health care promoter. This check-up will establish your baseline and help you set some goals. Seek out a professional who is familiar with both conventional and alternative health prevention formats. Some prevention may include taking temporary medications and/or herbs. At a minimum, you should get your blood pressure, cholesterol level, and blood sugar checked.

Spend more time sleeping and less time hooked on artificial stimuli. Overuse of caffeinated beverages and large amounts of sugar-containing substances have negative long-term health effects and can expose your body to an unhealthy stress cycle. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine the average adult need 7-8 hours of undisturbed sleep per 24 hour. Oddly enough researchers have found that people that get adequate sleep tend to have less frequent episodes of common illnesses

Create good habits of fluid intake and eating. A licensed nutritionist can help you in this area and can best show you which foods and beverages resonate with your personality without depriving you completely of an occasional treat.

Exercise all day and you will live healthy all day
. The common belief is that you need at least 20 minutes per day of heart-stimulating exercise. However you may want to consider incorporating exercise into your entire day, which in the long run may yield better results than exercising one time for 20 minutes each day. Use steps rather than elevators, and carry items in your hand instead of using a shopping cart. Walk whenever possible at a comfortable yet brisk pace, and ride a bicycle to work if possible. If you drive somewhere, such as the mall, try to park as far away as possible from the entrance so that you get some more exercise. Finally taking a stroll after a meal will often help your health much more than sitting for hours after eating.

Manage your stress. You may think that most people have stress under control, but often the cause of sickness comes more from a constant state of tension than it does from contact to a harmful substance or germ. When under stress, your body is less capable of fighting off invaders, so practice patience and develop mindfulness to life’s little challenges. Other ways to reduce stress include meditation, prayer, acupuncture, counseling or talking through challenges, and massage therapy. All can be effective in rounding out a good health maintenance program based on prevention rather than reaction.

Follow steps such as these and you will find that good preventative health is rewarding and easy to achieve.

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