Prevention & Recovery

20 ways to boost your health

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Prevention & Recovery

20 ways to boost your health

Good health is built one step at a time. The small changes you make today will reward you in the future. Give these helpful tips, from quick stress busters to long-term pain solutions, a try.

1. Keep up your motivation at work by making a reverse to-do list. Instead of writing down everything you wish to accomplish today – which can leave you feeling overwhelmed – make a list of things you have already accomplished.

2. Spice up your meals. Turmeric, a staple in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines, is an antioxidant superfood that can help prevent diabetes, ease arthritis and ward off tumours.

3. Bring back the pep in your step by ensuring you consume adequate magnesium throughout the day. Fatigue, irritability and anxiety have been linked with magnesium deficiency. Adult women need 320 milligrams daily. Top sources include Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, spinach, brown rice, kidney beans and bananas.

4. Shrug your shoulders. You'll be strengthening your trapezius muscles, which run from your shoulders to your neck and upper back, and reducing chronic neck pain by up to 80 percent.

5. Banish a chill by recalling a nostalgic memory. Scientists from the University of Southampton in the U.K. have discovered that such memories have a warming effect on the body.

6. Your mom was right. Stand up straight; don't slouch. Good posture protects your joints and lessens the risk of muscle aches. It also allows for better breathing by giving your lungs more room to expand and contract.

7. Eau, what a feeling! Boost your mental focus simply by drinking a glass of water. Mild dehydration can lower your ability 
to concentrate.

8. Increase your nutrition knowledge with Fooducate, a popular free app. Use it to scan the bar code of a food item. It responds with a grade of A, B, C or D, based on the product's nutrition, fat and caloric density.

9. The ideal bedtime snack might surprise you: kiwifruit. It has a high level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked to sleep and mood. A study at Taipei Medical University found that eating two kiwifruits before hitting the hay helped participants fall asleep 35 percent faster.

10. Here are two new reasons to get your vitamin C: A daily 500-milligram dose lowers your heart rate and reduces fatigue during exercise, according to research conducted by the University of Wisconsin.

11. Have a laugh. It increases blood flow by 21 percent, says a study from the University of Texas at Austin.

12. Ease lower-back pain with a simple acupressure technique. Use your fingers to apply pressure behind one of your knees, at the crease. Start with light pressure, then increase for maximum relief.

13. Cool headache pain by applying an ice pack to the aching area every few hours. This helps soothe the inflamed nerves and muscles that are sometimes at the root of discomfort.

14.
A daily dose of yogurt (about 60 millilitres) may protect you from gum disease, says a recent study in the Journal of Periodontology. The good bacteria in yogurt combat germs in the mouth.

15. Raw, raw, raw. Snack on uncooked fruits and veggies to get their maximum fibre content, or try Metamucil, a natural psyllium fibre supplement. Upping your fibre intake keeps your digestive system in tip-top shape, lowers cholesterol and curbs hunger by making you feel full.

16. I wanna hold your hand. Because it feels good and it's good for your health. Research published by the American Psychosomatic Society discovered that holding your partner's hand for a few minutes cuts stress by 200 percent.

17. Go green with your exercise routine. Take in fresh air from the great outdoors to enhance your mood and self-esteem. One study found that being active near water, such as a lake or river, amps up those emotional benefits.

18. Adopt a fresh perspective on life with mint. Sniffing the herb combats fatigue and lifts your mood. Keep a bottle of peppermint oil in your desk drawer or sip mint tea to reap its aromatherapy benefits.

19. Say "om" (or nothing at all) and have a 10-minute meditation session. Visualize something soothing, such as a beautiful green forest or Hawaiian sunset. Meditation helps calm the mind and put the brakes on a frenetic day.

20. Ward off foot problems with simple stretches. Use a rolled-up towel to pull up your toes, stretching the underside of each foot and counting to 10. Or freeze a golf ball, then roll it front to back under each foot for 15 seconds to massage the fascia, the fibrous layer that surrounds the muscles.


This story was originally titled "20 Instant Health Boosters" in the May 2013 issue.

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Prevention & Recovery

20 ways to boost your health

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