There are many ways you can improve your health and just a few small changes can give big results. Here's a list of 25 straightforward ways to improve your lifestyle and well-being.
Reduce your fat intake
The effect of fat on our arteries and general health are pretty well known, so you should try to reduce your fat intake by changing your cooking methods. Try grilling, baking, steaming or poaching, rather than frying.
Improve your sleep
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try cutting out alcohol or caffeine and other such stimulants, as this can help you to nod off and get a good night’s sleep. Also, adding a few drops of lavender oil onto your pillow at night has been shown to have relaxing effects.
Cut down on your salt intake
To reduce the impact of salt on your blood pressure, cut down on your salt intake. We suggest using herbs and spices such as oregano, nutmeg and paprika to season your food, rather than always adding salt. You may eventually find that you don’t need to add salt at all!
Enjoy a glass of wine
Drinking just one or two glasses of wine a day is thought to cut your risk of heart disease by up to a third. Make sure you go for red or rosé variety, as they contain much higher levels of antioxidants than your average glass of white wine.
Be good to your bones
A diet high in calcium and vitamin D will lead to strong bones and healthy nerves and muscles. Good sources of calcium and vitamin D include egg yolk, broccoli, oily fish and direct sunlight.
Eat a high fiber diet
Fibre aids the digestive system by helping to speed up the passage of waste material through the body — thereby ensuring that cancer-causing substances do not stay long enough in the bowels to have any damaging effects.
Have a good laugh
Laughing can help to boost blood flow by more than 20 per cent, and researchers say it may reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Laughing can also help to fight infections, relieve hay fever, ease pain and control diabetes.
Fruits for immunity and blood pressure
Fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit are a great source of vitamin C, which helps to boost the immune system. Also, citrus fruits and bananas are a good source of potassium, which can help to regulate blood pressure.
Eat more garlic
Garlic is a powerful cleanser of the body. Regular consumption of garlic (either in natural form or odourless capsules) promotes a healthy heart and good circulation by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol — and it also helps to fight infection and boost the body’s immunity.
Drink more water
The general recommendation is that we should drink around eight glasses of water a day. Taking in this amount of water will greatly enhance your digestion‚ nutrient absorption‚ skin hydration‚ and detoxification — as well as many other aspects of your health.
Drink more tea
There is general agreement that tea — both black and green — may contribute positively to your health. Tea contains antioxidants that can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, support dental health, increase bone density and strengthen cardiovascular health.
Keep your brain active
Doing a mentally challenging activity — such as reading a book or completing a crossword or Sudoku puzzle — will help to keep your brain functioning at a high level. People who do less mentally challenging activities generally show more brain degeneration earlier on in life — so get testing your brainpower!
Eat more wholegrain foods
Eating wholegrain foods such as bread, cereals and rice can reduce your cholesterol levels and greatly reduce your risk of getting heart disease. Make sure you take a look at the packaging on foods that are labeled as ‘wholegrain’ — especially cereals — to see which of them are actually the best sources of wholegrain.
Increase sexual activity
Sex may be the only real physical activity that many people get, and is a great CV workout! Having sex with your partner three to four times a week is thought to reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke by half! Sex can reduce stress and leads to greater contentment and better sleep.
Introduce olive oil to your diet
Olive oil is a monosaturated form of fat and helps to reduce levels of harmful cholesterol in the blood. You can use it as an alternative for frying foods, or use it in its uncooked form as a dressing on salads.
Improve your posture
Good posture is thought to help the flow of energy in the body — and so standing tall or sitting up straight is thought to help improve your energy levels. Slouching is a definite no-no!
Chilli peppers contain capsaicin, which helps to stimulate blood circulation and therefore reduces the risk of clots. Spicy peppers also contain antioxidants, which can help to prevent cell damage.
Exercise in water
Exercising in water is a great way of getting a good workout without stressing the body too much. The water offers resistance, and so can help you to build your muscles and stamina — plus being in the water will prevent some of the impact on the joints that other land-based exercises would bring.
Eat oily fish
Eating more so-called ‘oily’ fish — such as herring, kippers, mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna — will provide you with large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. These types of fatty acids can reduce the levels of cholesterol in the blood — thereby reducing the risk of stroke.
Build stronger bones
Weight-bearing activities such as running or dancing are great for increasing your bone health. You could also introduce some bone-building herbs like parsley into your diet in order to gain maximum benefits.
Eat carrots to help your vision
Eating carrots will help to improve your eyesight. The beta-carotene in carrots converts to vitamin A in the body, which helps to improve vision. The vitamin A forms a purple pigment called rhodopsin — which the eyes need in order to see in dim light.
Always eat breakfast
Your body needs good quality fuel to wake up your metabolism — so always eat a good breakfast! If you eat a hearty breakfast you will subsequently burn more calories throughout the day. Eating a good amount at breakfast will also prevent you from getting that lull in the morning when your body is running on empty.
Dance your way to fitness
If you’re put off by obvious forms of exercise such as sports, then get your exercise on the dancefloor instead. Dancing will tone and strengthens your whole body, and can increase your flexibility and improve your coordination and rhythm. And most importantly, it’s more fun than going to the gym!
Avoid yo-yo dieting
The majority of crash dieters regain the weight they have shed and then maintain a continuous cycle of weight loss and gain. The answer is to avoid crash diets and develop sustainable diet habits — while avoiding high-fat products.
Having an optimistic outlook on life can actually help you to live longer. Researchers have found that optimistic people decreased their risk of early death by 50 per cent compared to those who were pessimistic. Thinking positively lessens your chances of worrying, and therefore reduces stress — thereby lessening your chances of getting a physical and mental illness.