Advertising
Advertising

20 Green Tips That Will Improve Your Health and Lifestyle

20 Green Tips That Will Improve Your Health and Lifestyle

Making the shift towards an environmentally-friendly lifestyle can help improve your health and life overall, and it’s also a major boost to the world around you. Ditching unnecessary chemicals, unhealthy foods, unfriendly Earth practices, and bad habits/routines can all add together to make an altogether healthier you, whilst boosting the environment and ecosystem. Wherever you are in the world, the following 20 tips are all achievable endeavours. Some of them are even great fun! So indulge yourselves whilst we all fight for a Greener future.

1. Save Energy

    One of the most direct steps you can take to reduce the impact your lifestyle has on the environment is reducing the amount of energy that you use in your home. Along with making your home greener, saving energy has real, tangible benefits on your life in that it can save you money. Although some energy-saving techniques require some initial financial outlay, in the long-term the money you save can really add up.

    Some energy-saving home improvements you could consider include the following:

    • Use low energy light bulbs: Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) save energy and money – typically they use one-third to one-fifth electricity compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, and last eight to fifteen times longer. This is a no-brainer – get them fitted today!
    • Switch off appliances when they are not in use: Leaving electric items such as computers, audio-visual equipment, and kitchen appliances on “standby” uses electricity. If you are not using these appliances, you should switch them off completely. 
    • Unplug your charger when your phone, laptop or tablet is fully charged: Similarly, when your phone is fully charged, unplug the charger to conserve power. 
    • Insulate your home: Insulating your home properly can make heating much more efficient. Some local authorities offer insulation schemes so it is worthwhile to take the time to investigate whether you are eligible for free home insulation.
    • Lower your thermostat: Reducing the temperature on your heating system’s thermostat by a few degrees will, over the course of a year, reduce the amount of energy and money you spend on heating.
    • Wash your clothes at low temperatures: Much of the energy used in washing laundry is expended on heating the water, so always opt for a lower temperature when possible.
    • Line-dry laundry: Tumble drying clothes uses large amounts of electricity, so use a washing line or drying rack to dry your laundry more naturally.
    • Cover pans when cooking: Whenever you cook on the hob, always try to cover the pans – this reduces the amount of energy that escapes from open pans, plus the amount of time it takes to heat up food and boil water.

    2. Save Water

    saving water

      Saving water around the home is another way to reduce the environmental impact of your lifestyle and, as with reducing energy usage, can save you plenty of money.

      •  Use short cycles for washing clothes: Modern washing machines have an “Eco Wash” option you should take full advantage of.
      •  Fix leaks: Ensuring there are no leaks in your plumbing system – including pipes, taps, toilet cisterns – helps prevent unnecessary water wastage.
      •  Take short showers:  Hot showers are an incredible luxury, so don’t waste this by spending far too long in the shower.
      •  Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth: An often-forgotten habit that wastes litres of water. Turn off the tap.
      •  Install tap aerators on all your taps:  Aerators are cheap additions to the end of taps that reduce the flow of water while improving the pressure of a tap’s stream.
      •  Install a low-flow shower head: Low-flow shower heads work in a similar way to tap aerators – aerating the stream of water, improving pressure and saving plenty of water and energy.
      •  Boil only as much water as you require: Tea and coffee drinkers can help here! Be careful with those kettles.

       3. Cut Down on Fuel

      no gas today

        Whenever possible, avoid driving in a car. Local journeys can be made by walking or cycling, and always look for public transport routes when travelling further.

        Obviously, these options are not available to everyone depending on personal circumstances, but cycling and walking will keep you active and help the local environment.

        Advertising

        4. Share Car Rides

          Following on from point 3, if you have to travel by car, investigate the possibilities for carpooling with friends and neighbours, sharing journeys for work and leisure, thus reducing the number of cars on the roads. Many busy offices actively promote such schemes so ask around to see if you can take advantage of this.

          5. Go Organic

          go organic

            The food we consume has a profound effect on the global environment – as the world’s population grows, the demand for food increases and the strain on ecologies and habitats increases. The issues around food production, supply, and consumption are extremely complex, but there are some considerations that could help reduce the environmental impact of what you eat while also offering a healthy lifestyle include:

            • Choose local, seasonal produce.
            • If you eat meat, reduce the number of meals containing meat you eat each week.
            • If you eat fish, choose sustainably-sourced species and fishing methods.
            • Try and avoid fish contaminated with mercury (the result of industrial pollution) – you can use the Natural Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) guide to help you along.
            • Avoid food with unnecessary packaging, as this just leads to additional, unnecessary rubbish for your bin.
            • Always look for sustainable, fair-trade, environmentally-friendly food, as this helps the economy.

            6. Avoid Bottled Water

              Bottled water is inefficient, expensive, and produces large amounts of plastic waste. Instead, use a refillable water bottle and tap water; if you like you could use a water filter to cleanse the tap water and chill the water in the fridge. As the Mother Nature Network point out, the very concept of bottled water is failed due to our our ready access to perfectly healthy tap water.

              7. Ditch Plastic Bags

              plastic bag

                Plastic bags are appallingly wasteful to the environment. It is believed that 100 billion plastic shopping bags are used in America each year, and only 1-3% of worldwide plastic bags are recycled. This means a huge amount of waste, much of which ends up in the wild areas. You can read more worrying facts from Envirosax, but you can also help a great deal by using Earth friendly bags (such as paper, of Bags For Life), and recycle any old plastic bags you have lying around.

                8. Save the Bees!

                Advertising

                save the bees

                  There are plenty of environmental initiatives you can take up, but one of the most important is the need to save our bees. These little beasts are vital to pollenating the Earth’s vibrant ecosystem, but they have been dying out due to the use of pesticides. You can help matters by purchasing Organic Honey (to support natural bee keeping practices), or donate to bee charities to help promote their wellbeing. Friends Of The Earth are currently offering a Bee Saver Kit to help keep your garden/environment bee friendly.

                   9. Use Charity Shops

                  charity shops

                    Charity shops provide a way to recycle any unwanted items, find second-hand stuff and, importantly, supports the charitable cause of your choice.

                    10. Use Freecycle

                    freecyce.org

                      Freecycle is an internet-based service and community that allows users to share and discover reusable items. Before making a purchase, check out your local Freecycle community to see if you can find the item free of charge, and if you have unwanted goods in your house, use the service to recycle them. It’s easy to use and helps both your local community and the wider environment.

                       11. Share and Borrow

                      I love sharing

                        Books, CDs, DVDs, and more can be borrowed from libraries and friends. You can cut down on packaging and shipping by simply renting or borrowing something, and you can return the favour to your friends to get some proper social interaction going.

                         12. Green Gifts

                        green gift

                          When giving a gift consider a greener alternative, such as making your own present, or offering some of your time and skills to do a favour for your friend or loved one. You can also use environmentally-friendly companies, such as the Eden Project (pictured above). Whichever country you are in there will be suitable sources, so do a quick search to find a unique present.

                          Advertising

                           13. Grow Food in Your Kitchen/Garden

                          Bottle_garden

                            Growing food saves money, gives you an understanding of food production, and puts you in touch with nature. There is, of course, the problem of having neither the time or garden space to plant and nurture a whole vegetable patch, so head for something simple such as potted herbs or a potato sack, which can be grow effectively on a windowsill.

                             14. Make Cleaning Products!

                            galleryimage208300217-aug-3-2011-800x536

                              Modern household cleaning products are expensive, and often damaging to the environment, so a great green alternative is to make some yourself. Safe and environmentally-friendly substitutes use ingredients such as baking soda, soap flakes, lemon, cornstarch and vinegar. It’s quick to find recipes for them on the internet; try EarthEasy for a helping hand.

                              15. Choose Plant-Based Cleaning Products

                              KitchenPods

                                If you haven’t got time to make cleaning products, you can make the switch to environmentally-friendly options instead. Brands such as Ecover are made from natural, sustainable, plant-based ingredients that don’t leave chemical residue behind, and are biodegradable. Very handy for both your crockery and the local wildlife.

                                 16. Buy Recycled Paper

                                recycled paper

                                   Modern recycled paper is perfectly acceptable for most everyday document and letter printing.

                                   17. Go Paper-less

                                  Advertising

                                    If you want to go a step further you can choose to go paperless! You can receive all your bills and letters from banks, energy companies, and other service providers by email. And remember: don’t print off documents unless it’s absolutely vital. You can also help the process by recycling any paper and card you no longer need.

                                     18. Repurpose Household Items

                                    repurpose

                                      Everybody should be recycling household items, but this often depends on the recycling provisions available in your local area. Another option for avoiding throwing away household goods is to repurpose them – adapting them for a new purpose in life (like witth the tin can chair above). This could be anything from empty jam jars used to store other food, tin cans turned into tea light holders, wine bottles adapted to become attractive vases or lampshades, or any other example of repurposing your imagination and creativity allows. Popular social media network Pinterest has a regular stream of such ideas for inspiration.

                                       19. Celebrate the Green Way

                                      green birthday party

                                        Big celebrations in our lives are often associated with extravagance and consumption. You can keep this as it should be, but you can be Green whilst you’re enjoying yourself. For instance, gestures such as making invitations from recycled materials, asking guests to bring homemade food, and selecting local/fair trade foodstuffs can all go a long way. At the end of the party you can collect all the used goods and repurpose them into something extravagant, if you’re the creative sort.

                                        20. Green Holidays

                                        green holidays

                                          Holidays can have damaging effects on the places tourists visit via fuel consumption, damage to local habitats, pollution, and distortions in economies. When planning a holiday you should consider green alternatives, or consider a “staycation” by enjoying a local holiday, thus reducing the environmental impact of vacationing, and benefiting/engaging with your local community, ecology, and economy. Green Loons is a great place to start; they offer some amazing destinations with the feel-good Green factor.

                                          More by this author

                                          Alex Morris

                                          Content Manager, Copywriter, & Blogger

                                          10 Relaxing Games to Play Online to Help Chill You Out 53 Fun Things You Can Do This Weekend 35 Inspirational Movies That Will Change Your Life 21 Inspirational Documentaries That Will Change Your Life 16 Educational and Inspirational Classical Music Compositions

                                          Trending in Health

                                          1 14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet 2 10 Simple Ways To Live a Longer and Happier Life 3 How to Deal With Stress the Healthy Way 4 How to Plan for a Healthy Diet for Weight Loss 5 21 Best Vegan Snacks for The Afternoon Slump

                                          Read Next

                                          Advertising
                                          Advertising
                                          Advertising

                                          Last Updated on July 28, 2020

                                          14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

                                          14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

                                          Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

                                          What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

                                          The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

                                          Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

                                          It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

                                          Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

                                          In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

                                          Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

                                          Advertising

                                          Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

                                          1. Quinoa

                                          GI: 53

                                          Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

                                          2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

                                          GI: 50

                                          Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

                                          3. Corn on the Cob

                                          GI: 48

                                          Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

                                          4. Bananas

                                          GI: 47

                                          Advertising

                                          Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

                                          They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

                                          5. Bran Cereal

                                          GI: 43

                                          Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

                                          6. Natural Muesli

                                          GI: 40

                                          Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

                                          7. Apples

                                          GI: 40

                                          Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

                                          Advertising

                                          8. Apricots

                                          GI: 30

                                          Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

                                          Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

                                          9. Kidney Beans

                                          GI: 29

                                          Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

                                          10. Barley

                                          GI: 22

                                          Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

                                          Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

                                          Advertising

                                          11. Raw Nuts

                                          GI: 20

                                          Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

                                          12. Carrots

                                          GI: 16

                                          Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

                                          13. Greek Yogurt

                                          GI: 12

                                          Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

                                          14. Hummus

                                          GI: 6

                                          When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

                                          Bottom Line

                                          If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

                                          More Tips on Eating Healthy

                                          Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

                                          Read Next