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25 best health tips to help you live well

ByAlex

Jul 4, 2023

Improving your health doesn’t need to mean making huge, scary adjustments. You don’t need to follow a strict diet or start a vigorous workout regime to live well; stretch the years of your life and make them happier and more energized.

Making simple and easy tweaks to your lifestyle can make all the difference – like adding more herbs to your meals, standing more than you sit, taking up gardening, and watching yoga videos on YouTube.

When it comes to our health, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and only you will know the areas where you need to make changes to feel your absolute best. Perhaps you want to improve your sleep, maybe you want to work on your stress levels, or perhaps you want to keep your heart and lungs fighting fit. So to help you on your way, we have gathered 100 of the best health and well-being tips here in one place for you. Get ready for a healthier, happier you…

Health tips on how to live well

1. Sit on the floor

OK, it may not be as comfy as your super-squashy sofa, but according to studies of the world’s longest-living populations, sitting on the floor can help us stay healthier for longer. For example, in Okinawa in Japan, home to the longest-living women in the world, most sitting, whether to read, eat or talk, is done on the floor. The reason it’s so beneficial? Repeatedly standing from a seated position on the floor is suitable for flexibility, strength, and coordination, all known to have favorable influences on life expectancy.

2. Drip with health

A small knob of butter or drizzle of oil on veggies isn’t just delicious but can be health helpful, too. “Some nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E and K (found in green vegetables and sweet potatoes) are fat soluble, so a smidgen of fat, such as olive oil, helps with nutrient absorption,” says Ian Marber, a leading independent nutrition therapist (ianmarber.com).

3. Wean off wine o’clock

A glass of wine in the evening might help you fall asleep but can impact the quality of your slumber, leaving you sluggish the following day. To help prevent this, avoid drinking close to bedtime to give your body time to process the alcohol. As a rough guide, it’s thought to take one hour for your body to process one unit of alcohol, although this varies between individuals. To find out more about the units in your drink – and to ensure you’re not exceeding the maximum 14 units a week – use the Unit Calculator on drinkaware.co.uk.

4. Cuddle up

In one study, volunteers had regular weekly hugs to catch a cold over two weeks. It’s believed this is because hugs are one of the fastest ways to get the feel-good chemical oxytocin flowing in the body, which helps to reduce stress and, in turn, protect immunity.

5. Know the three Cs

More of us are suffering from hay fever than ever before, with reactions lasting longer and affecting those who haven’t suffered previously. “The interaction of pollen with rising pollution, as well as climate change, are added factors,” says Dr. Beverley Adams-Groom, chief palynologist at the University of Worcester. Reducing your exposure to pollen is critical, so know the three Cs: Count (check the Met Office’s pollen forecast); Cover (try oversized sunglasses, Vaseline around your nose, and closing the windows when the pollen count is high); and Clean (when you come home, shower, change clothing; and wipe down pets with a wet cloth).

6. Watch dry fruit

Delicious dried fruits like apricot, fig, and mango are very high in sugar, so it’s worth checking your intake. Aim for 30g – or about 1 tbsp – which counts as one of your five-a-day.

7. Listen to your gut

Have you noticed how your stomach reflects what you’re feeling emotionally? If you’re stressed or anxious, this can slow digestion, triggering bloating, pain, and constipation, but in other people, it may speed up digestion, causing diarrhea and frequent trips to the loo. So, when feeling angsty, don’t rush your food. Eat slowly, put your fork between bites, and chew each mouthful well.

8. Get your vitamin green

It’s official: surrounding yourself with green views has a powerful effect on health and well-being, reducing psychological stress and boosting energy, self-esteem, and mood. As well as regularly getting out in nature, position the chairs in your house so you naturally gaze out of the windows, fill your home with indoor plants, and set your computer screensaver to your favorite landscape.

9. Be snack savvy

Know the four Ps for smart snacking on the go: Plan, Pack, Protein, and Produce. So, Plan; Pack your snacks in spill-proof containers; include Protein to keep you satisfied for longer; and add fiber-rich fresh Produce like fruit or vegetables. An apple with Greek yogurt, a cheese stick, or a few nuts can satisfy your cravings more healthily.

10. Nail it

Podiatrists see 10,000 ingrown toenails each year. The problem develops when the sides of the toenail grow into the surrounding skin, causing redness, inflammation, and sometimes infection. Ouch! To keep them at bay, don’t use nail scissors. Instead, use clippers to cut straight across the nail and avoid cutting them too short.

11. Morning, sunshine!

“Throwing back your curtains in the morning can help you to sleep better at night,” says Dr. Alanna Hare, a consultant in sleep medicine. “Light is key in regulating our sleep patterns, so natural sunlight helps sync your body’s sleep/wake cycle.”

12. Reap what you sew

Mindfulness – noticing your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and bodily sensations – is proven to deal with stress and anxiety and is even recommended by NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) as a way of helping to prevent depression and looking for a new way to try it. Try embroidery, which ticks all the mindfulness boxes because you must slow down and focus on the task. For a new project, try DMC The Mindful Mandala Embroidery Duo Kit (£20, John Lewis).

13. Love your lentils

Add red lentils to your next spaghetti bolognese or shepherd’s pie. They have a ‘meaty’ taste, which means they can be easily added to mince meals for a higher-fiber supper. Cutting down on meat? Replace your beef altogether.

14. Win with one

Always think, ‘Can I add one more set/movement?’ when you exercise. So, if you cycle around the park five times, make it six; if you’re playing tennis, play another set. In the end, that one little push of movement will get you fitter faster, plus, you’ll realize you can do more than you give yourself credit for, which is powerful fitness fuel.

15. Habit stack

Pair a ‘must do’ with a ‘should do’ and see those good habits stack up. For instance, while shaving your legs, check your moles for changes; while waiting for the kettle to boil, do some gentle stretches; when you’re making your dental appointment, book your smear or mammogram, too.

16. Good mood food

No, you do not imagine it: feeling ‘hangry’ – or hungry-angry – is real. This is because, unlike other organs, your brain relies on a drip-drip-drip supply of glucose throughout the day to stay adequately fuelled, so if you don’t eat regularly or skip meals, you won’t feel your best. As well as eating regularly, drop your fear of fat. The brain comprises around 50 percent fat, and our cells need good-quality fats to maintain their structure, so consider good fats found in olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados.

17. Upgrade your terrain

Move your usual walk or run to the beach or rugged countryside. The reason? Soft surfaces like sand and grass provide no rebound, so your muscles must work harder.

18. Sneak your eats

A serving of vegetables doesn’t have to be a side of green beans or a big salad. A tablespoon of tomato puree stirred into your pasta sauce, a handful of olives instead of crisps, or a bag of watercress whizzed into your pesto counts, too.

19. Get real on self-care

Self-care isn’t just about long baths and facials to live well. It’s about dealing with obstacles causing havoc with your health or happiness, whether learning to say ‘no’ or carving out more time for yourself. Many super-inspiring self-care podcasts are available right now – we’re enjoying Self Care Club by Lauren Mishcon and Nicole Goodman; Happy Place by Fearne Cotton; and Feel Better, Live More by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee.

20. Hit the water

Swimming in ponds, lakes, rivers, or the open sea is even better than a dip in the local pool, as you must work against the waves or currents. For a gentle introduction to outdoor swimming, try a lido, or find inspiration and all-important safety advice at outdoorswimmingsociety.com and wildswimming.co.uk.

21. Sit for attention

We know our standing posture is essential for bone, joint, and muscle health, but did you know many of us need to tweak how we sit, too? The most important thing to know is that your feet should be flat on the floor when sitting on a chair for prolonged periods. There should be a small gap between the back of your knees and the seat, with your knees at or below hip level. A footrest is helpful if your legs are too short to reach the ground.

22. Achieve pudding perfection

An easy way to eat more fruit is to turn it into dessert. Roasted peaches, figs, plums, and apples make flavourful sweet treats packed with fiber and antioxidants. Serve with plain yogurt or half-fat crème fraiche to replace the double cream.

23. Diversify your diet

Enjoying a wider variety of plants to feed your gut microbes is a simple, science-backed way to improve your health. The easiest way to do it is to mix up your existing diet. So, go for mixed-colored bags of peppers instead of your usual red; pick up tins of mixed beans to replace kidney beans; reach for the mixed frozen veg or stir-fry pack rather than one variety; and snack on mixed nuts instead of plain almonds.

24. Watch out for coffee creep

Did you know coffee is one of our diets’ most significant sources of antioxidants? But caffeine can also release high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. If you’ve become over-reliant on coffee to get through the day – and have the headaches and jitters to prove it – try brewed cacao in the afternoon. It’s ‘coffee’ but made with cacao beans instead of coffee beans. Try Peru Trailblazer from Cacao Brew.

25. Chase’s persistence, not perfection

You don’t slash the other three if you get one flat tire. You don’t turn around when you stub your toe and stub another. So, why let one bad meal or day of eating turn into weeks and months of bad eating, or one missed workout into weeks of doing nothing? Avoid getting derailed by remembering it’s what you do most of the time that matters, not those occasional blips. In other words: chase persistence, not perfection.

By Alex

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