If you’ve decided you want to be healthier but don’t know where to start, here is a piece of advice for you: start slowly and do one thing at a time. There are many things you can do to be healthier and in this post, you will find some of the best tips you can incorporate into your lifestyle to improve your health.
Have an apple a day
Remember that old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? There is actually some truth in it… A natural antioxidant called quercetin, found in red apples (as well as broccoli and green tea), may give an immunity boost to people who are stressed.
A study conducted by Appalachian State University found that in a group of cyclists who were given 1,000mg quercetin a day for 5 weeks, only 5% of them reported upper respiratory illness during a two-week period following extreme exercise.
Meanwhile, 45% of the cyclists who took a placebo reported illness following extreme exercise. So get back into the apple habit, just buy organic if you can to avoid pesticides.
Soak nuts and seeds before eating them
Did you know that raw nuts and seeds naturally contain a compound called phytic acid? This acid can block the absorption of minerals by binding to them, especially when it comes to zinc, calcium and iron.
Cooking will reduce the phytic acid to some degree but more effective methods are soaking, lactic acid fermentation and sprouting.
Soaking nuts will make them easier to digest and your body will be able to absorb more minerals from them.
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The best is to soak nuts overnight and eat them the next day when needed.
Reduce your sugar intake to reduce your risk of cancer
The Singapore Chinese Health Study discovered that consuming two or more sugary soft drinks a week increases your risk of pancreatic cancer by 87%. This is only one of the many studies linking sugar consumption to cancer and it’s one of the reasons why you should not consume too much sugar.
How to reduce your sugar intake:
First, read the food labels to discover any hidden sugar in your supermarket-bought foods. You will be surprised where you will find the sugar – soups, sauces, bread, etc. Next time you are shopping, pick healthier options, with no added sugar, if possible.
Watch your drinks
Stop adding sugar to your hot drinks such as tea and coffee! – It may be hard in the beginning so start decreasing the sugar you add slowly. If you normally have 3 teaspoons of sugar in your drink, reduce them to 2.5 for one week.
Then the next week, add only 2 teaspoons of sugar and the following week try 1.5 spoons. Over time your taste buds will adjust and you won’t feel the need to add that much sugar to your drink.
If you cannot have your drink unsweetened, buy one of the natural sweeteners which are lower in calories and not harmful to your teeth. You could try xylitol, for example.
Stop the treats
Stop buying sugary treats, such as biscuits, cakes and desserts! If you have them at home, you will not be able to resist the temptation and you will easily have them every day.
It’s better not to have them at home at all but you can still have a treat once in a while if you want, just don’t stock up on these foods.
Did you know that 10 to 15 minutes of laughter daily burns an additional 50 calories? Plus, it decreases the level of stress hormones & lowers blood pressure. So if you want to be healthier you should definitely laugh more especially if you want to lose some weight.
Build muscle to burn more calories at rest
Muscle is the most metabolically active part of your body and burns up to three times as many calories as any other tissue.
Add some resistance training to your workout to boost lean muscle and help you burn off calories in your downtime.
Drink coffee & tea independently of a meal
Coffee and tea both contain chemical compounds called tannins. Tannins can reduce the absorption of iron, calcium and thiamine so it’s better to drink these beverages independently of a meal. This is especially important if you are already struggling to consume enough iron and calcium through foods.
Make sleep a priority in your life
You may not realise it but sleep is more important for your health than anything else. Here are just some of the reasons why it’s so important :
- If you want to lose weight, getting quality sleep is absolutely crucial. That’s because short sleep duration is associated with an increased risk of weight gain and obesity.
- Lack of sleep affects your immune system so if you often get colds and viruses it’s time for you to start sleeping more (your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases).
- Not getting enough sleep may result in a type of brain abnormality associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Regular sleep deprivation impacts the working memory or your ability to store and retain information in the short term.
Enjoy mini silent breaks every day
Nobody would probably think of this, but it’s true: Silence is good for overall physical health and well-being. Here is how it can help:
- It lowers blood pressure
- It boosts immunity
- It decreases stress levels in your body
- It helps you be more creative
Try a walk in the park or find the quietest room in your home or at work to enjoy some silence.
Eat mindfully to decrease your chance of getting obese
A study of 59, 717 type 2 diabetics found that the slowest eaters were less likely to be obese. Mindfulness matters! Choose wisely, slow down, & savour what’s on your plate. Just as importantly, be more mindful – mindful eating means:
- no distractions (you should put your phone/laptop away)
- sit down
- relax and focus on food
- don’t stand up
- slow down and take your time to chew food
For better health stand when you can
Excessive sitting (roughly more than eight hours a day) increases the risk of premature death and some chronic diseases by 10-20% so try and stand more whenever you can.
After an hour or so of sitting, stand up, walk around, or do some push-ups if you like. Try to mix it up, but don’t sit for too long. You can stand while you read and walk while you talk.
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