When it comes to being healthy, there are so many rules-in fact, it's honestly pretty hard to keep up. Don't eat this, don't drink that, do more of this, do less of that-it's basically a never-ending list. So what should you actually take to heart when it comes to living a long, happy life? Well, it's actually fairly simple. Instead of focusing on the craziness of the health world-whether it's the trendiest new diet or coolest new workout-go back to the basics.
These healthy living rules are nothing fancy, but following them will help you look and feel just as great in 50 years as you feel right this second. (Or, you know, after you start checking some off your list.) And to get you on the right track, start by finding out the Single Best Thing For Your Health.
1. Don't eat foods that come in a box
If you think about it, the majority of unhealthy, highly-processed foods are found in boxes in the supermarket. Sure, the packaged stuff is delicious-but it's also some of the worst options for your body. Instead of eating products packed with additives, preservatives, and sugar, stick to the produce section as much as you can so your food doesn't keep weighing you down, both physically and mentally. And to keep your body and mind in the best shape, learn The 40 Best Foods for Your Brain.
2. Yes, eat mostly plants
It might be more appealing to follow a trendy diet or pick up the latest buzzy health book on what to eat, but the reality? The best thing you can do for your body is to eat mostly plants. It's not a sexy answer by any means, but they're the holy grail of health: You'll be getting a healthy dose of protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and nutrients-and you won't be eating empty calories in the process.
3. Meditate every single day
It can be hard finding 10 or 15 minutes a day to devote to meditation, but it's going to make a huge difference in your well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, it doesn't take long to Zen out once you close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Plus, you'll get rid of stress and anxiety in the process, which will make you happier, sleep better, and feel more youthful overall. Believe it or not, meditating is only one of the 25 Ways to Be Happier Now.
4. Focus on clean beauty
Clean beauty is blowing up for a good reason: Consumers are sick of not knowing what's in their products-and are so over toxins in everything they use. Clean out your cabinets and invest in natural, cruelty-free items that won't just do your skin some major favors but are great for the environment, too.
5. Find a workout you actually like doing-and stick with it
Know what's crazy? People spend a lot of time doing things they absolutely hate. For absolutely no reason. Instead of dragging yourself to the gym for a HIIT class you despise, find something you get excited about doing. When you discover your perfect fit, you'll actually want to work out-and you'll get into a routine that will keep you feeling top-notch now and in years to come. Need help figuring out what's the best move for you? Here's The 10 Best Cardio Workouts for Men.
6. Make eight hours of a sleep a priority
No more staying up late and only getting a handful of hours of sleep. Your time in dreamland is what resets your body for the next day-and when you don't have a proper amount of time to rest, you'll feel it. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a lack of sleep typically results in poor memory, feeling low energy, drowsy, and irritable, and can even change your personality. Make catching Zzz's a priority because being sleep deprived isn't good for anyone. If you need a little extra help, check out the Secret Sleep Cure Everyone's Talking About.
7. Stop being afraid of carbs
Carbs tend to get a bad rap for no reason. Sure, there are a handful of options that are horrible for your body-but there are also wholesome foods that should be in your diet. According to a 2017 study published in The Lancet, a moderate consumption of carbs is best for your health, helping lower the risk of death-so eat wisely. Avoid the white stuff and fill up on brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and bread, legumes, and quinoa instead.
8. Drink eight glasses of water a day
Why is everyone always so dehydrated? Water is the most accessible liquid, yet we don't take the time to drink it throughout the day-and according to the Cleveland Clinic, that's only going to make you tired and low on energy. Make sure you're filling up your water bottle all day long to keep yourself replenished and you'll feel better than ever almost immediately.
9. Stop skipping breakfast
Breakfast is probably an afterthought most days-especially when you're running late. But making time for the meal is important. A 2014 study published in the Nutrition Journal found a protein-packed meal helps with weight loss and controlling cravings throughout the day-and that will set you up for a healthy future.
10. Stay active throughout the day
As nice as it would be to be active all day, the reality is most people are stuck at their desks at work. But that doesn't mean you can't move around at all. Take breaks to get your steps in, walk over your lunch break, and ask for a standing desk. Sitting around for long periods of time is only going to hurt your body-but if you get the chance to move, take it. It will certainly benefit you down the road.