These small changes will yield big health rewards in the long-run. Go on, give these 10 health-boosting tricks a go!
Speed up your walk
Women who walk about 7 km/h (not that fast, but a bit more than a gentle stroll) have a lower risk of stroke than slower walkers, says new research from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
The key is to reach a pace where you can talk, but are a bit too out of breath to sing.
To rev up your speed, start pumping your arms while you walk. “Your arms and legs work in synergy, so the faster you move your arms, the faster your legs move too,” says personal trainer Francesca Blechner. “However, make sure you don’t lean forward – most people do when they speed up – and this can lead to back pain.”
Sip a black filter coffee after lunch
You’ll lower your risk of diabetes, as coffee seems to help your body process glucose through your system (lowering blood sugar levels) – and the effect is most potent in the middle of the day, says the team of Brazilian and French researchers that found the link.
Coffee contains magnesium, a mineral linked to blood sugar regulation. The coffee needs to be filter, not instant, and can be decaf or caffeinated, and with or without sugar.
But don’t add milk! Note the cup in this study was 125ml, a much smaller serving than in coffee shops.
Doodle your way to sharper recall
Are you a compulsive doodler in dull meetings? In fact, it has been shown to help you recall and retain information.
People who doodled while listening to a recorded message had nearly a third better recall of the details than non-doodlers, according to a study in the Applied Cognitive Psychology journal.
“Doodling acts as a buffer against daydreaming,” says Professor Jackie Andrade at the University of Plymouth. It’s thought doodling provides just enough distraction to stop you drifting off, so you still focus on what’s said.
Enjoy 12 minutes of musical me time
Doctors at Seattle University asked blood pressure patients to listen to 12 minutes of Mozart three times weekly – and found their systolic measurement (which measures the pressure your heart puts out pumping blood around the body, and is the top figure in your blood pressure measurement) fell by five per cent in three months.
“It’s been suggested that a 5mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure would result in a nine per cent reduction in coronary heart disease-related death and a 14 per cent reduction in stroke-related death,” says Dr Jean Tang, who carried out the trial.
Dry-brush your teeth
Cleaning teeth with a soft, dry brush, but without paste, has been shown to reduce tartar build up and gum bleeding.
“The bubbles make so much foam, people tend to stop brushing sooner than they should – plus the minty taste can trick you into thinking teeth are cleaner than they are,” says Trisha O’Hehir, who presented the trial to the International Association for Dental Research.
Do it a few times a week before your normal toothpaste and floss combo.
Don’t sit down!
Standing up to make phone calls, on the train, or as often as you can has surprising benefits. According to experts you produce higher levels of fat-burning hormones, metabolise sugars more effectively and make more mood-boosting chemicals when standing.
Love black pepper
An ingredient within pepper known as piperine binds with nutrients in foods, helping them absorb more readily into your system. Want to make a difference? Simply grind a generous helping of black pepper over your food, say researchers at the University of Michigan.
Choose a lower-alcohol wine
If you normally drink a large glass of wine a day, simply swapping from a high-percentage alcohol wine to a lower, 10% or less-alcohol wine could reduce your risk of bowel or breast cancer by seven per cent, say researchers at the World Cancer Research Fund.
Lift your mood with a multivitamin
A study by Northumbria University has found that vitamins boost more than physical health.
In a controlled trial, one group took a mix of B vitamins, vitamin C and minerals in the form of Berocca for 33 days, while another took a placebo.
The vitamin group performed better in tests, and had more mental vigour and less stress.
Pick an apple
It’s just been found that apples are a prebiotic, which means they boost the health of good gut bacteria that not only keeps your digestion in shape, but also powers up your immune system.
Doctors at the Technical University of Denmark found that adding whole apples to the diet of rats increased the amount of healthy bacteria in their guts in seven weeks.
The key ingredient is thought to be apple pectin, which is found mostly in the skin of the fruit (so don’t peel them). Other prebiotic foods include garlic, onions, bananas and artichokes.
DISCLAIMER: You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.