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7 Less-Known (But Powerful) Ways to Improve Your Health

7 Less-Known (But Powerful) Ways to Improve Your Health
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Health is wealth – you’ve probably heard that before… and it’s absolutely true. It doesn’t matter how much money you make. If you’re not healthy, you’re not going to enjoy it.

But here’s the thing – living healthy isn’t as difficult as most people think. In fact, with a little nudge in the right direction, healthy living may be one of the easiest things to achieve.

So, in this article, I’ll take you through simple, not so popular, but proven ways of kicking your health up a notch. Let’s get into it.

1. Adopt a Pet

Alright, pets can be scratchy, chewy and downright messy at times, but that’s not all about them. Pets can also save your life… at least so says the experts. “Pets lessen our stress levels, resulting in decreased cortisol production, reduced blood pressure lower risk of heart attack,” says Megan Tieber, DVM and leading pet expert at Tuft+Paw.

But that’s not all – there are so many other science-backed reasons why you should consider owning a pet… especially if healthy living is your goal.

  • Pets can help you stay active. If you lack motivation for exercise, a pet may be all you need. In a particular study, the researchers found that almost half of dog-owners effectively exercised for half an hour each day for at least five days a week. [1] That’s 150 hours of exercise per week… exactly what the CDC recommends![2]
  • Pets can help to fight depression. Depression isn’t a good thing and no one should have to go through it! The good news is that pets can help. According to a study conducted on college students going through depression, there was a 60% reduction in depression symptoms after the participants spent a few hours with a therapy dog. In an Australian study, cat owners reported better psychological health than non-pet folks. [3] What’s more — studies have also shown that cats can help to improve the physical and mental health of kids.[4]
  • Pets can keep you away from the doctor’s office. Believe it or not… it’s true. According to an Australian study conducted on dog owners, it was observed that dog owners had 15 % fewer visits to the doctor that folks who owned no pets.[5] Make of that what you will.

2. Start a Garden

You probably didn’t think you could improve your health by getting your hands into the mud… but as far as scientific evidence goes, gardening can actually benefit your health on so many levels.[6] Here’s how.

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  • It exposes you to vitamin D. Remember vitamin D… you know, the sunshine vitamin? Well, as it turns out, gardening (outdoors, that is) can help you get an ample amount of this important vitamin. Among other things, vitamin D helps to strengthen the bones and immune system.
  • It’s a great form of exercise. If you want to work out without even being conscious of it, then all you need is gardening. Gardening is a nice form of aerobic exercise that gets you breaking a sweat without even paying attention. The various moves involved, such as bending, twisting, squatting all work various muscle groups and help to improve stamina and flexibility.
  • It can help to fight loneliness. Gardening can have a huge impact on mental health. In many occasions, people who keep a garden have reported improved mood. Furthermore, community gardens can offer a unique opportunity for socialization, especially in seniors.
  • It lowers the risk of dementia. According to a 16-year long study published in the Medical Journal of Australia, physical activity, particularly gardening can help to reduce the risk of dementia. [7]

3. Break up with Belly Fat

Sorry to burst your bubble buddy… but if you want to live a long, healthy life, you absolutely need to get rid of excess body fat… especially belly fat. But why is belly fat such a big deal? Well, let’s just say it does way more harm than puncturing your swagger and social acceptability.

Among other things, belly fat accumulates around your internal organs and this has been linked to various metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes.[8] And that is really not good.

The easiest way to know you have excess belly fat is by monitoring your waistline. Usually, a waistline that exceeds 40 inches (102 cm) in men and 35 inches (88 cm) in women is considered abdominal obesity. And this is a better indicator than weighing scales.

Okay, enough of talk! How can you get rid of belly fat? Let’s take a look:

  • Juice up with detox teas. I know this sounds nonsensical but hear me out. Weight loss teas – or detox teas as they’re sometimes referred to – benefit the body in so many ways… including weight loss. For instance, studies have shown that green tea can help you to lose a significant amount of weight within a short period of time.[9] However, if you’re shopping for weight-loss teas, make sure you do your research and read other people’s reviews before spending a dime… trust me, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of headaches down the line.
  • Get rid of sugar. Okay, listen up – if you don’t let go of excess sugar (and sugary stuff), all your weight loss efforts will be in vain! Sugary drinks are particularly easy to abuse. Studies have shown that sugar-sweetened beverages increase the risk of obesity in children by 60 percent.[10]
  • Eat more proteins. Did you know that proteins can help you lose weight? Well, it can! In fact, it is one of the most important macronutrients that can help you in this regard. So if you want to lose weight and keep the weight off, then stuff your plate with proteins and cut out the carbs. [11]
  • Exercise more. Okay, if you’re really serious about losing abdominal fat, then you need to exercise… no matter how little. Now, I’m not talking about abdominal exercises – those simply don’t work! To lose abdominal fat, focus more on cardio exercises like walking, running and swimming… these are way more effective.

4. Sleep Sleep Sleep!

So, you’ve probably heard how sleep is so important for brain health and productivity, right? Well, it’s true! There is no substitute for quality sleep when it comes to maintaining good health.

Apart from messing up your brain chemistry, sleep deprivation can distort your appetite, increase stress, induce insulin resistance and increase the risk of weight gain and obesity.[12] And that’s really nasty.

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So, whatever you do, no matter how busy you are, don’t substitute anything for a good night’s sleep. Experts recommend 6-8 hours of sleep every night. Have trouble sleeping? No worries… I’ve got you covered. Here are a few things to try for a better night’s sleep

  • Stay away from electronic gadgets close to 1-2 hours before bedtime. The blue light emitted by smartphones, computers, and TV has been shown to affect sleep quality.
  • Maintain a regular bedtime. It allows your internal clock to function properly and release the sleep hormone (melatonin) when you need it.
  • Take a warm bath before going to bed. It helps to relieve stress and improve sleep quality.
  • Take a melatonin supplement.[13] It is a natural sleeping aid that works effectively with your body to improve sleep quality.

5. Ditch the Diet… Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle Instead

Diets. Don’t. Work.

It’s that simple. Sure, any form of dietary restriction that results in taking significantly fewer calories will help you lose some weight in the short term. But in the long term, most diets just fall like a pack of cards! In fact, dieting can even predispose you to future weight gain.

So, what should you do? Well, instead of focusing all your attention on this diet or that diet, why not just make positive lifestyle changes. Take a daily walk to the park, slot in a tape and dance around the house when cleaning or cooking, ditch the cheap McDonalds doughnuts and eat fresh fruits and veggies instead.

These seemingly simple lifestyle changes are way more effective and easier to maintain in the long-term than a restrictive diet. However, what you eat really matters too. If you really want to be healthy, you need to ditch refined junk foods and switch to clean, whole foods instead.

Nuts are particularly helpful. So, if you need a healthy snack to keep your mouth busy, without endangering your waistline, roasted almonds may be all you need.

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6. Eat More Eggs

Okay, so you’ve probably heard how eggs ad saturated fat are bad for health. Well, that is just nonsense. Eggs are so nutritious that they are sometimes even referred to as “nature’s multivitamin.”

Eggs are usually discriminated against because of their high cholesterol content. But guess what – studies have shown that this has no effect on blood cholesterol in most people.[14]

What’s more? In another study involving over 260k participants, it was observed that egg intake had absolutely no association with the risk of heart disease. [15] What more do you need, right?

7. Take Care of Your Gut

Okay, listen up – the pillars of your health are founded in your gut! Almost every imaginable health condition originates from a problem in the gut. But how’s that even possible?

Well, as it so happens, the gut is home to millions of bacteria… referred to as the microbiome. And these bacteria hold the key to your ability to adequately digest and utilize food, immune response and a host of other important stuff.

Interestingly bad lifestyle choices like eating junk foods, stressing yourself excessively and sleep deprivation and excessive antibiotic use can all have a negative impact on your microbiome. So, what happens when you piss off the bacteria in your gut?

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Well in most cases, your metabolism gets affected and you gain weight. But in darker cases, the immune system gets compromised and that opens the door to various diseases.

Okay, enough with the doomsday talk. How can you take care of your gut to avoid all these nasty stuff? Here’s a low down:

  • Eat plenty of fiber. Fiber serves as food to the bacteria and it can also help to mediate the proper passage of food along the gut. High fiber foods include popcorn, oats, almonds, carrots and chia seeds.
  • Eat slowly. It will aid proper digestion and absorption of nutrients, which promotes gut health.
  • Take a probiotic supplement. Probiotics are supplements containing good bacteria that can help to promote the balance of the microbiome. Just be careful and ensure you get the right one.
  • Drink more water. The good bacteria love it. It also helps to keep the lining of the intestines nice and healthy.

The Bottom Line

Living healthy isn’t as hard as most people would have you believe. Sometimes, it comes down to the simple, overlooked things. However, your health goals will remain an ever-disappearing mirage if no action is taken.

So, get off your butt and get to work. Go on… plant a garden, adopt a pet, eat some eggs, hit the mattress, walk around, drink some weight-loss tea, make some changes in your pantry… just do something. And it doesn’t need to be a big step… start at your own pace. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day.

One thing is certain though – you can achieve your health goals… with a little work, of course. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] NCBI: The impact of dog walking on leisure-time physical activity: results from a population-based survey of Michigan adults.
[2] CDC: Physical Activity Basics
[3] TendfOnline: Psychological Health in a Population of Australian Cat Owners
[4] Research Repository St Andrew: Quality of Life and adolescents’ communication with their significant others (mother, father and best friend) in adolescents: The mediating effect of attachment to pets.
[5] Informit: Pet Ownership is Good for Your Health and Saves Public Expenditure Too: Australian and German Longitudinal Evidence
[6] The Daily Gardener: Gardening Benefits: What You Should Know?
[7] NCBI: Lifestyle factors and risk of dementia: Dubbo Study of the elderly
[8] NCBI: Ratio of visceral‐to‐subcutaneous fat area predicts cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes
[9] NCBI: Effectiveness of green tea on weight reduction in obese Thais: A randomized, controlled trial.
[10] Science Direct: Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis
[11] NCBI: The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance.
[12] NCBI: Meta-Analysis of Short Sleep Duration and Obesity in Children and Adults
[13] Nootropics Resources: Melatonin: Everything You Need To Know About the Natural Sleeping Pill
[14] NCBI: Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations.
[15] BMJ: Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies

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Richard Adefioye

Richard has a unique passion for healthy living and productivity.

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Last Updated on July 12, 2021

100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier
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Want to learn some quick and easy life hacks that are easy to do, low cost and saves you time?

By tweaking little things in your daily life, it can make your life much more convenient!

Here’re 100 of the most practical life hacks so you can just pick up any of them right away!

83 tie a small piece of bright colored fabric

    84 write random letter

      85 use a rubberband

        86 dorm smell bad

          87 lean your phone on your sunglassess

            89 how to waterproof your shoes

              90 take a picture of the name card

                91 iron inside out

                  92 old newspaper

                    93 tumble try shoes

                      keep a card like this

                        SONY DSC

                          94 soap bar

                            95 make a hole

                              96 drop the battery

                                97 use a coozie

                                  98 when taking a picture

                                    use a clean dust pan

                                      try a pants hanger

                                        use your cellphone light

                                          use a spring from an old pen

                                            quick and easy iphone speaker

                                              user binder clips

                                                wrap a wet paper towel around your beverage

                                                  put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle

                                                    clean out an old lotion bottle for your beach

                                                      use a muffin tin to serve condiments at a bbq

                                                        doritos are great for kindling

                                                          use nail polish to identify different keys

                                                            use a hanging shoe rack to store cleaning supplies

                                                              freeze grapes to chill white wine without

                                                                use paper clips to organize your cables

                                                                  almost finished your jar of nutella

                                                                    sick of having a box full of tangled

                                                                      unroll the rim to increase the capacity

                                                                        cut open toilet paper rolls and use as a cuff

                                                                          remove the stem from strawberries

                                                                            turn an old bottle into a simple little cord holder

                                                                              for iced coffee and iced cappuccino, use frozen coffee cubes

                                                                                how to fold a fitted bed sheet

                                                                                  tired of snoozing past your alarm

                                                                                    place a rubber band around an open paint can to wipe your brush on

                                                                                      ut a wooden spoon across a boiling pot

                                                                                        use bread clips to save flip-flops

                                                                                          take pictures of friends holding items

                                                                                            how i always know which headphone is the left one

                                                                                              put a stocking over the end of a vacuum

                                                                                                How to make sure you drink enough water

                                                                                                  user a can opener to open blister

                                                                                                    good sandwich guide

                                                                                                      turn your muffin pans upside down

                                                                                                        50 pounds of groceries and living on the 5th floor

                                                                                                          the right way to make a blt

                                                                                                            add one teaspoon of baking soda

                                                                                                              38

                                                                                                                hair straighteners equals to collar irons

                                                                                                                  stack your clothes vertically to see them all

                                                                                                                    the right way to make cookies in the summer

                                                                                                                      how to clean a blender

                                                                                                                        the right way to eat a popsicle

                                                                                                                          use bread clips to label and organize power cords

                                                                                                                            to get the built up residue off of your shower head

                                                                                                                              user a hair clip to orgainize long wires

                                                                                                                                a frozen saturated sponge in a bag

                                                                                                                                  rub stuck zipper teeth with a graphite pencil

                                                                                                                                    use a soda pop tab

                                                                                                                                      50

                                                                                                                                        51 How to multiply large numbers in your head.

                                                                                                                                          52 How to open a bottle if you dont have a corkscrew.

                                                                                                                                            rub a walnut on damaged wooden furniture

                                                                                                                                              kids fall out of bed

                                                                                                                                                use toothpaste to clear up hazy car

                                                                                                                                                  58

                                                                                                                                                    59 keep pizza out while driving home

                                                                                                                                                      60 put your straw through the tab to keep it from rising

                                                                                                                                                        hold oreos with a fork so your fingers

                                                                                                                                                          Never lose your remotes again

                                                                                                                                                            hiding your emergency money

                                                                                                                                                              use a bread tab to hold your spot on a roll

                                                                                                                                                                if you are at a hotel and run out of chargers

                                                                                                                                                                  keep a square of cardboard in a ziplock bag

                                                                                                                                                                    If you need to pee or smoke at a bar

                                                                                                                                                                      drill holes in the bottom of your garbage

                                                                                                                                                                        use an accented letter as your passcode

                                                                                                                                                                          use a squeeze ketchup bottle top with your shopvac

                                                                                                                                                                            do something unusual when locking the door

                                                                                                                                                                              when heating leftovers space out a circle in the middle

                                                                                                                                                                                dont burn yourself in those hard to reach candles

                                                                                                                                                                                  put a small amount of water in a glass when you microwave your pizza

                                                                                                                                                                                    75 use a piece of paper to organize

                                                                                                                                                                                      use half a pool noodle

                                                                                                                                                                                        pencil case to store cables

                                                                                                                                                                                          78 clothespin to hold nail

                                                                                                                                                                                            79 make blts

                                                                                                                                                                                              80 take a picture of your fridge

                                                                                                                                                                                                81 fill plastic water bottles

                                                                                                                                                                                                  82 right ways to eat chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                    99 if your plug keeps failing

                                                                                                                                                                                                      100 put the banana on the wire

                                                                                                                                                                                                        88 before you throw away a post it

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Source: Reddit LifeProTips

                                                                                                                                                                                                          There you go, 100 awesome life hacks that you can try right now to make your life a lot easier!

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