We all know that ‘Health is Wealth’, but still most of us do not practice healthy habits.
You do not have to completely change your lifestyle to be healthier. In fact, drastic lifestyle changes are especially difficult to implement and even harder to sustain.
However, by incorporating just a few changes into your daily routine, you can be well on your way to better health and fitness. Small changes are easy to adopt, follow and maintain.
There are many simple health hacks that can make a big difference over time, and these easy and effective hacks are backed by science.
By starting small, you can build the foundation that eventually leads to a healthier you.
Here are 10 easy health hacks that you should know.
1. Take the Stairs Whenever Possible
Elevators and escalators help save time, but unfortunately, they also contribute to making us more sedentary.
Try climbing the stairs instead of riding the escalator or elevator to remain physically fit. Climbing stairs more often is a powerful incidental exercise for people of all ages.
Stair climbing is a great way to strengthen your muscles, improve your energy level, burn fat, tone your legs and improve your heart health. It can even lower your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and heart disease.
When you have to go up or down a few floors in a building, opt for the stairs. Also, when you are at a train station, metro station, parking ramp, shopping center or similar public place, simply skip the elevator and choose the stairs.
2. Use Cinnamon Instead of Sugar in Your Tea or Coffee
Rather than using cream and sugar, try cinnamon powder to add a sweet flavor to your tea or coffee.
Not only does cinnamon have fewer calories than cream and sugar, it has numerous health benefits.
A 2003 study published in Diabetes Care reports that intake of 1, 3 or 6 grams of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) and total cholesterol levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, cinnamon relieves congestion, reduces muscle and joint stiffness, fights inflammation, supports digestive health and even boosts brain function.
On the other hand, sugar contains no nutrients, protein, healthy fats or enzymes. Excess sugar intake puts you at a higher risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, Alzheimer’s and many other serious health problems.
A 2015 study published in Obesity reports that restricting sugar intake can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, strokes, Type 2 diabetes, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.
Be aware that sugar exists in many forms besides the refined sugar that is readily available at the grocery store. Corn syrup and maple syrup are basically liquid forms of sugar.
3. Try the Age-Old Practice of Oil Pulling
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, oral health has a direct impact on your overall health. Good oral health even reduces the risk of health problems like strokes and heart disease.
One easy and simple oral health hack is oil pulling, an age-old Ayurvedic practice.
A 2015 study published in the Nigerian Medical Journal highlighted the positive impact of oil pulling in decreasing plaque formation and plaque-induced gingivitis.
And its positive effects extend throughout your body. Each section of the tongue is connected to different organs, such as the kidneys, lungs, liver, small intestine, heart, stomach and colon. Thus, oil pulling helps remove toxins from the entire body.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine reports that oil pulling therapy is preventive as well as curative to purify the entire system.
You should do oil pulling when you have an empty stomach, preferably first thing in the morning. Follow these steps:
- Put 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil in your mouth.
- Swish the oil around your mouth for 20 minutes.
- Spit the oil out.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Finally, brush and floss as you normally would.
4. Take a Cold Shower before Bedtime
The right body temperature is essential in getting a good night’s rest. When you take a cold shower before going to bed, your body temperature drops, which helps you fall asleep faster and enjoy a better overall quality of sleep.
Taking a cold shower at night also improves blood circulation, reduces stress and even relieves symptoms of depression.
A 2008 study published in Medical Hypotheses found that adapted cold showers work as a potential treatment for depression.
Taking a cold shower sends electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which results in an antidepressive effect.
Proper sleep is essential for both physical and mental health, while inadequate sleep can contribute to obesity, heart disease, hypertension, strokes and diabetes.
Take a cold shower, power down your electronics and listen to music or read a book to enhance both the quantity and quality of your sleep.
5. Follow the 20/20/20 Rule for Your Eyes
Take care of your eyes by following the 20/20/20 rule, a very simple and effective eye health hack.
Many of us spend a good deal of time staring at screens on laptops, computers, smart phones, gaming systems and the television. This puts a lot of strain on the eyes and can cause eye fatigue.
Eye strain can lead to itchy eyes, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, increased sensitivity to light and poor concentration.
To reduce eye strain and improve your vision, follow the 20/20/20 rule. The rule is: for every 20 minutes you spend in front of your screen, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away.
At the same time, try to blink your eyes more often to keep them from drying out.
6. Meditate for 10 Minutes Daily
Meditation is an age-old practice that everyone should try for at least 10 minutes daily.
It works as a type of mind-body complementary medicine. As it produces a deep state of relaxation and a calm mind, it enhances physical and emotional well-being.
Meditation helps reduce stress, which is very common in today’s world. Mindful meditation can help people perform under pressure while feeling less stressed.
A 1992 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry highlights the effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Regular meditation can result in better focus, better memory, improved concentration, lower blood pressure and good immunity.
There are different ways to meditate. As a beginner, you can try focused-attention for 10 to 15 minutes daily and gradually increase the duration of your sessions.
In this type of meditation, you need to focus on one specific thing, be it your breathing, a sensation in your body or a particular object outside of you.
7. Carry Your Water and Snacks
Two things that hamper your health the most are not drinking enough water and munching on unhealthy snacks.
To solve these problems, start carrying a big water bottle and some healthy snacks with you everywhere you go.
Water is essential for hydration, which regulates body temperature, lubricates your joints, protects your tissues, aids the body in removing waste products and improves digestion, to name a few.
Carrying a water bottle is the best way to ensure hydration throughout the day. This way you can also be sure of drinking clean and purified water and avoid relying on sugary soda drinks to quench your thirst. You can set a reminder to drink water at regular intervals.
Along with water, carry some snacks with you. Snacks like whole apple, oranges, homemade juice and roasted nuts offer the right nutrients to get full satisfaction from your munching.
As an added bonus, you will not be tempted to look for doughnuts, pizzas, hamburgers, rolls, wraps, French fries and other unhealthy snacks that are high in calories, sugar and salt, while very low in nutritional value.
8. Drink Lemon Water First Thing in the Morning
For a healthier you, instead of drinking plain water, coffee or tea first thing in the morning, drink lemon water.
This morning drink gets your organs going, due to its detoxifying nature. Not just morning, drinking lemon water throughout the day can help alkalize, or neutralize, acid in the body.
Lemon is not alkaline in nature, but it has a low sugar content and high alkaline mineral content, which offers an alkalizing effect on the body.
In addition, the citric acid in lemon aids your body in flushing out harmful toxins. It even improves digestion.
When it comes to lemon, you cannot ignore its high vitamin C content, which is essential for normal growth and development, and offers a myriad of health benefits.
To make a glass of lemon water, simply squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a large glass of lukewarm water. Add a little honey and drink it.
Note: Use fresh lemon juice rather than the bottled version.
9. Choose Fresh Products Over Canned
Always try to eat fresh produce and avoid the canned versions to stay healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables maintain more of their nutritional value. Plus, they taste the best.
On the other hand, canned products like vegetables, soups and beans contain higher levels of sodium and sugar. They also contain harmful chemical preservatives, and often canned food tastes horrible.
When it comes to fresh produce, buy organic and locally grown fruits and vegetables to prevent exposure to harmful chemicals. Although organic products are a bit expensive, their health benefits cannot be ignored.
All fresh produce should be washed thoroughly under running water before eating it. This helps get rid of any dirt, dust and even microorganisms that may have deposited on the surface during handling and transportation.
10. Use a Smaller Plate for Meals
Another simple and easy health hack is to choose a smaller plate for your meals to cut down on calories and prevent overeating.
High calorie intake is the leading cause of obesity, high cholesterol and heart disease.
As it may not be possible to always count the calories you are eating, what you can do is reduce your calorie intake by switching to a smaller plate.
A 2005 study published in Obesity Research supports the notion that the amount of food on a plate or bowl increases intake.
This study says that people use their eyes to count calories and not their stomach. Thus, having a smaller plate can play an important role in preventing unintentional overeating.