A healthy African American family pose outside their home.

Our Health: 7 Ways To Achieve Optimum Health

It’s Men’s Health Month, but West Angeles wants us to achieve God’s best for our lives this month and every month. As we approach “Focus on the Family Weekend” here at West Angeles, here are 7 tips to keep you and your entire family in optimum health.

How do we achieve optimum health? In mind, body and spirit, we honor God when we acknowledge that we are His workmanship. Romans 12:1 (NIV) says:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

Maintaining our health is one of the best gifts we can give to God, but along with prayer, exercise and healthy eating, there are many other ways to worship Him daily.

Here are 7 ways to make achieving your best health a priority:

1. Exercise. If you’ve heard of the 21-day push-up challenge, then you know that men everywhere are being proactive about health by encouraging each other toward better health through exercise. But even if we haven’t accepted the challenge, regular physical activity still reigns as one of the most important things we can all do for our health, according to the Centers of Disease Control [1].

It can help:

  • Control your weight
  • Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Reduce your risk of some cancers
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your mental health and mood
  • Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, if you’re an older adult
  • Increase your chances of living longer.

Start slowly, and consult a doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen.

2. Eat healthy foods (Genesis 1:29). According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, an initiative to promote a healthy eating lifestyle started by First Lady Michelle Obama and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, everything you eat and drink matters [2]. Create a balanced diet by:

  • Focusing on whole fruits. Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the Fruit Group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed without added sugar. Of course, fresh is always best, and for maximum benefits, choose whole fruits more often than 100% fruit juice.
  • Varying your veggies. Vegetables are divided into five subgroups and include dark-green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, legumes (beans and peas), starchy vegetables, and other vegetables. Choose vegetables from all subgroups.
  • Making half the grains you eat whole grains. Grains include whole grains and refined, enriched grains. Choose whole grains more often.
  • Varying your protein routine. Protein foods include fish, eggs, and plant sources such as nuts, beans,

    Free Download: Men’s Health Check Poster

    seeds, and soy products (beans and peas are also part of the vegetable group).

  • Moving to low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt. Dairy includes milk, yogurt, cheese, and calcium-fortified soy, nut, or grain beverages (such as soymilk, almond milk, flax milk, etc). Choose fat-free (skim) and low fat (1%) dairy foods.
  • Drinking lots of water. Our bodies are primarily comprised of water; replenishing our intake of water keeps us hydrated, and keeps our bodies running smoothly. Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars; eliminate alcohol.
  • Making oils part of your healthy eating lifestyle. Oils provide nutrients for the body, like fatty acids and vitamin E. They also enhance the flavor of your food. Some oils are eaten as a natural part of the food such as in nuts, olives, avocados, and seafood. Other oils are refined and added to a food during processing or preparation such as soybean, canola, and safflower oils. Choose the right amount of oil to stay within your daily calorie needs.

3.  Get annual check-ups and “guard your heart.” We do annual tune-ups and oil changes in order to maintain the health of our automobiles; likewise, seeing a doctor annually must be our priority for maintaining the health of our bodies. Proverbs 4:23 says to “Guard your heart,” yet, according to the American Heart Association, “Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world today, and claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined [3]. We must make the health of our bodies a priority by going for annual check-ups with a doctor we can trust, and who share our faith in the transformative, healing power of Jesus Christ (Matthew 8:1-17 6).

4.  Our attachments can make us sick. Bad habits can be destructive to our health. Smoking, stress, and other lifestyle choices can actually tax our organs and shorten our lives. Even in our compassion for others, we can sometimes internalize their afflictions and demons. Gently remind others that laying their burdens on Jesus connects them to an eternal wellspring of life and health (Matthew 11:27-29). Surround yourself with others who are positive and uplifting.

5.  Speak The Good News. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). Speaking positiveness and light not only builds the Kingdom, it also helps to keep you and those around you healthy through faith and hope (Isaiah 52:7).

6.  “Live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). A larger percentage of what enters our bodies daily is not through our mouths, but through our eyes and ears. Be sure that the media you ingest daily is edifying for you, for your family, and for building the Kingdom.

7.  Join a church. Joining a good church can keep you on the road to good health by:

  • Surrounding you with like-minded people who are of a common, fundamental belief,
  • Presenting opportunities for giving back, and
  • Increasing your knowledge of God’s requirements for living your best life, through closer relationship with Him and His word (Proverbs 4:20-27).

Even scientists have proven that faith leads to longer life and health [4]. Keep faith in Jesus Christ at the center of your life.

Psalm 103:1-5 says:

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Maintaining your health and the health and well-being of your family, and accessing the power of Jesus Christ, is the key to a healthy, abundant, and prosperous life.

 

To read more about good health in the Bible, please see the following  scriptural references:

Romans 12:1, Genesis 1:29, Ephesians 5:18, Proverbs 3:7-8,  Jeremiah 33:6-7, Isaiah 53:4, Matthew 8:1-17, 11:27-29; Proverbs 4:20-27,  18:21; 2 Corinthians 5:7, Isaiah 52:7, Psalm 103:1-5, Deuteronomy 7:12,15.


[1] -The Benefits of Physical Activity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/. Accessed 6/29/2016.

[2] – Everything You Eat and Drink Matters — Focus on Variety, Amount, and Nutrition. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/variety. Accessed 6/29/2016.

[3] – Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – At-a-Glance, AHA.  https:[email protected][email protected][email protected]/documents/downloadable/ucm_470704.pdf. Accessed 6/29/2016.

[4] – How Faith Can Heal. The Biology of Belief.  Time Magazine, February 23, 2009.  http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1879179,00.html. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/0,9263,7601090223,00.html. Accessed 6/29/2016.

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HELPFUL LINKS:

  • For more information on how to eat healthy, click HERE to download Health.gov’s Dietary and Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf
  • For more information on recipes and healthy eating, including projects for children and the family, please Click HERE to go to Choose My Plate.gov. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/
  • For facts on heart disease, stroke, and their risk factors, click HERE to download the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – At-a-Glance.   https:[email protected][email protected][email protected]/documents/downloadable/ucm_470704.pdf,
  • To learn more about nutritional topics such as Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs, Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets, Food Shopping, Cooking, Meal Planning and more, please CLICK HERE to access Nutrition.gov. http://www.nutrition.gov/
  • For more information on ways to stay fit and other men’s health initiatives, please CLICK HERE to go to Men’s Health Month.org. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #MensHealthMonth! http://www.menshealthmonth.org/thingstodo.html

 

This post is not a substitute for the care of a doctor or nutritionist. “National Nutrition Month” is a campaign of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Poster and photo, courtesy Men’s Health Month.org.