While your 20s are a time of spontaneity and experimentation, the decisions you make now set the stage for your health and well-being later in life. Fortunately, the internet provides us with a wealth of information in regard to health and wellness—but what bits of health advice are actually worth taking? The New York Times recently sought to bring clarity to this issue, asking a panel of esteemed experts in nutrition, obesity, cardiology, and more about the one piece of health advice they'd give people in their 20s. Drug abuse or smoking issues aside, here's what they had to say in their own words:
Weigh yourself often.
"Buy a bathroom scale or use one at the gym and weigh yourself regularly. There is nothing more harmful to long-term health than carrying excess pounds, and weight tends to creep up starting in the 20s. It is pretty easy for most people to get rid of three to five pounds and much harder to get rid of 20. If you keep an eye on your weight you can catch it quickly."
— Susan Roberts, professor of nutrition at Tufts University and co-founder of the iDiet weight management program
Learn how to cook.
"Learning to cook will save you money and help you to eat healthy. Your focus should be on tasty ways to add variety to your diet and to boost intake of veggies and fruits and other nutrient-rich ingredients. As you experiment with herbs and spices and new cooking techniques, you will find that you can cut down on the unhealthy fats, sugar and salt, as well as the excess calories found in many prepared convenience foods. Your goal should be to develop a nutritious and enjoyable eating pattern that is sustainable and that will help you not only to be well, but also to manage your weight."
— Barbara J. Rolls, professor and Guthrie Chair of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State
Cut back on sugar.
"I suggest that young people try to avoid excessive simple sugar by eliminating the most common sources of consumption: 1) sugared soft drinks 2) breakfast cereals with added sugar and 3) adding table sugar to foods. Excessive sugar intake has been linked to obesity and diabetes, both of which contribute to heart disease. Sugar represents 'empty calories' with none of the important nutrients needed in a balanced diet. Conversely, the traditional dietary villains, fat, particularly saturated fat, and salt, have undergone re-examination by many thoughtful nutrition experts. In both cases, the available scientific evidence does not clearly show a link to heart disease."
— Steven E. Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Head over to The New York Times for the full list of health advice for 20-somethings, and share your tips with us below!