24 Tips That Make You Instantly Healthier
You can make yourself healthier in just seconds, and you just proved it by clicking on this great article. Click through to the end and you'll reap noticeable health benefits in just moments. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke to some of the top health experts in the world, who revealed their best tips to instantaneously transform your health and well-being—and most of them are incredibly simple!
Drink Warm Water
Dr. Velimir Petkov, DPM urges you to start your day with a mug of warm water. "Drinking warm water on an empty stomach has been proven to help maintain healthy bowels," he says. "That can, in turn, improve your digestive system." Other health benefits of drinking warm water include having better blood circulation and speeding up the urge to urinate. "It can even alleviate menstrual cramps and help treat nasal congestion!"
Get A Pedicure (Or Give Yourself One!)
Most of us think of pedicures as a luxury, but there is a health aspect to them as well. "Ingrown toenails are oftentimes hereditary and you might be predisposed to getting them. But there are certain things that people do which can also cause them," explains Dr. Petkov. According to the podiatrist, improper toenail cutting is the number one reason for getting ingrown toenails. So, either go to a professional to do it for you, or do it on your own by cutting your nails straight across. "Curving the edges can cause them to grow into your skin," he explains. "Also, don't cut them too short or unevenly."
Avoid Wearing High Heels All Day Every Day
High heels may be fantastic looking footwear, but according to Dr. Petkov they can seriously imperil your health. "Many women who wear high heels excessively tend to suffer from sore-looking bunions (hallux valgus)—a deformity of the joint where the bones meet, caused when the big toe is displaced over a period of time," he explains. "The bony bump that forms on the joint causes intermittent pain that can turn chronic if left unattended." Therefore, if you want to improve your foot health, avoid wearing them too often or for too long. "If you absolutely must wear heels, do so occasionally and choose models that are moderately high, around two inches," he suggests. Also, alternate between different heights and shoe styles frequently and avoid pointy shoes and ones that are too tight around your toes.
Eat This, Not That!
Get healthier one food at a time by swapping out your favorites with a healthier substitute. "Many foods have delicious alternatives which are also better for your body and metabolism," says Dr. Petkov. "You will still feel full, but avoid being bloated or getting hungry again in a short period of time." For example, if you are eating white pasta, try whole wheat or brown rice instead. Or, instead of your usual white rice, opt for brown or even "riced" cauliflower.
Drink This, Not That!
Yes, you want to stay well-hydrated, but you also want to make sure you are drinking the right kind of fluids. "If you're drinking anything with added sugars or artificial sweeteners to quench your thirst during the day, like a caloric soda or energy drink, immediately switch over to water, sparkling water, or unsweetened tea," suggests Jackie Newgent, RDN, culinary nutritionist and author of The Clean & Simple Diabetes Cookbook. To make sure you're getting enough fluids, simply fill up a 2-quart (8-cup) pitcher in the morning, add fresh mint, cucumber slices, or citrus peels to it, if you like, and sip it all down by the evening. "Water is the most important nutrient for your body processes, including transportation of nutrients and proper digestion!"
Shorten Your Eating Hours
Joanne C. Skaggs, MD, Internal Medicine at OU Medicine in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma suggests limiting your eating to a 10-hour window each day. "This can lead to weight loss, decrease in blood pressure, reduction in A1c (average blood sugar levels) and improvement in your cholesterol panel," she explains, pointing to a recent study published in Cell Metabolism showing that time-restricted eating in patients with metabolic syndrome on medical treatment resulted in a decline in body fat and waist circumference in addition to weight loss and beneficial changes in lab values. "So, plan to eat only during a 10-hour period of time each day. If you can do this for 12 weeks, you can see positive changes in your health," she maintains.
Downsize Your Dishes
Portion control is a great way to get healthier fast, and an effective way to cut down your sizes is by investing in smaller dishes. "We tend to eat more from big bowls and plates than we would otherwise," explains Geoffrey Nadzam, MD, a Yale Medicine bariatric surgeon. "Simple strategies like swapping cereal bowls for ramekins when serving high-density snacks or desserts can prevent overeating."
Healthy toppings can make a world of nutritional difference. "Pairing a carb-heavy snack or meal with protein or fat can help to stabilize your blood sugar and keep you fuller, longer," says Dr. Nadzam. "When you add lean protein to a pasta dish, or peanut butter to an apple, for example, you lower the glycemic load, which mitigates blood sugar spikes that are associated with weight gain."
Avoid The Dirty Dozen
Every year the EWG.ORG website lists the "Dirty Dozen," the most chemically contaminated non-organic fruits and vegetables. Talia Segal Fidler, MS, HHC, AADP, nutritionist at The Lodge at Woodloch, suggests using the list as a starting point to help yourself eat as clean as possible
Eliminate Fake Food
Most expert-endorsed diets have one thing in common—the elimination of processed foods. If you want to see instant health results, Fidler suggests cutting out all processed foods, additives, food colorings, preservatives, etc. "Eat real food that is close to the way nature made it," she encourages.
Practice Mindful Eating
If you want to eat healthier and feel more satisfied, Fidler encourages mindful eating. "Do not eat on the go, driving, or in front of TV or computer screens," she says.
Flip Your Devices To Airplane Mode Before Bed
Before you go to sleep, don't just silence your electronic devices—put them on Airplane Mode. "Not only will you take away the WiFi signal and give your body less stimulation or distraction, but you can empty out any mental noise or belief that you have to check your phone or that it might buzz or ring while you're sleeping," explains wellness and reiki expert Kelsey Patel, author of the upcoming book Burning Bright. "There is enough mental stimulation we all get during a busy day of life. When you sleep, it's time to sleep." She adds that this will also help you with your waking up routine—which shouldn't involve immediately checking your phone.
Take "Me Time" in The Morning
Since your phone is still on Airplane Mode from the night before, keep it that way for the first moments of your day, urges Patel. "Instead of turning your phone on right away to check emails or texts or social media, you can begin the day by tuning inward and doing a self-awareness scan," she suggests.
Here's how: sit up in bed and take a few deep breaths to awaken to the day. Let your mind empty out any first thoughts and just slowly begin to scan your body starting from the top of the head and going down the body to the feet. Breathe and connect to your upcoming day and decide what you can give or do for yourself that day as you begin anew. Tune into your mind and notice from a peaceful place what would make your day feel great and make you feel healthy that day. Make a commitment to honor whatever it is you've decided to give or do for yourself that day—even if it's to take a short walk, make a cup of tea in the afternoon and sit for a few quiet moments to reset, or to call a loved one en route to work. "These small acts of self-awareness and an open mind start to make all the difference in your day to day health," she says.
Get Educated About Your Body
The first step in taking control of your health is understanding your body. "One of the most important and powerful things we can do in this new year and new decade is to get familiar with what's happening inside our physical bodies," says Patel. "If you don't know the intimacies of what's happening inside your body and how things are functioning, then you don't know what to give it from the outside." She explains that so many people are taking supplements and herbs, eating trendy foods, and following fad diets because they've read about it—but might not have taken the time to really look at all of their levels and body mechanics to know if it's actually right for them. "One of the best gifts you can give yourself this new year is a deep-dive into your own inner system and better awareness of what it's doing so you can give it what it needs," she continues. "A functional medicine doctor is a great place to start!"
Relax With A Sound Bath
Looking for a way to immediately destress without any medication? Los Angeles-based sound healer, reiki master, yoga and meditation teacher, and sobriety coach Susy Markoe Schieffelin of The Copper Vessel suggests attending a sound bath (or even listening to one online), claiming that it can immediately shift your energy into a healthier state of being. "Sound baths can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, help with insomnia, improve overall sleep quality, and help you to feel calmer and more balanced on a daily basis," she maintains.
You might think that you know how to breathe, as it is an essential element of life. However, many people take breathing for granted and do so unconsciously and even improperly, according to Schieffelin. "In yoga and meditation, dedicated breathwork practice—or pranayama—is a key tool for reaching heightened mental states of awareness and living a vibrant healthy life," she explains. Luckily, conscious breathing can be done almost anywhere and can elicit immediate benefits. "You can stop what you're doing at any point of the day, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths down into your belly, and let go. Not only will this simple breathing exercise balance your central nervous system, it will also help you feel calmer, less reactive, and more energized right away."
In the fast-paced world that we live in, many of us have the go-go-go mentality. One of the best ways to regenerate, is by giving yourself a rest. "Learn to listen to your body and rest," encourages Michelle Reed, DO. "If you are tired that increases the likelihood of you getting an infection. Rest will help to boost your immune system."
Amp Up Veggie Intake
Plant-based diets are all the rage. While you don't have to go full vegetarian, Dr. Reed amping up your fruit and veggie uptake and dialing down on carbs and meat.
Improve Sleep Quality and Quantity
Sleep is so important when it comes to health. Skaggs points out that not getting enough of it can lead to emotional and physical symptoms and multiple disease processes, including elevated blood pressure, heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, anxiety or depression, concentration difficulties. It's not just the quantity of sleep that matters—it is the quality of it—points out Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN. "When well rested you may have more energy for exercise, be more focused to make better decisions, such as food choices, and be less stressed." If sleep is difficult for you try to disconnecting from your phone at least one hour before bed, make sure your bedroom is cold, less than 68 degrees, and dark.
Gans also urges the importance of staying hydrated—throughout the day and night. "Your body may function at it's best when well-hydrated," she says. She recommends keeping water by your bedside and try to drink upon awakening. Also keep by your desk and sip throughout the day. Basically, keep water with you at all times. Don't like the blandness of water? Infuse it with some flavor. "If you don't like the taste of water you could flavor by adding fresh fruit or veggies, such as cucumber, watermelon or lemon, for sweetness or choose other low-calorie beverages," she suggests.
Do yourself a huge health favor and quit smoking. "Stopping smoking makes you healthier instantly," says Monique May, MD. "Within just one hour your blood pressure and heart rate decrease, and within a day the risk for heart attack goes down as well." An added bonus? You will continue to get healthier as the days and months pass. "Within one month your lungs start to heal and you may notice you can exercise better."
Move Your Body
Even if you don't have time to go to the gym and do a full work out, make sure to move your body every day, says Fidler. "Three times a week take a brisk walk for half-an-hour, and get up from your chair at home and work every half an hour and stretch your legs."
Manage Your Stress
Stress can be a silent killer, yet so many of us have allowed it to be a normal part of our lives. "Take time to enjoy your loved ones or friends or do something that you love that helps you relax," encourages Fidler.
One easy way to improve your health is cutting out alcohol. "Even if you're a moderate drinker, cutting out alcohol can greatly improve your health," says Schieffelin. Alcohol is full of sugar and calories, disrupts sleep, causes inflammation, aggravates digestion, affects the nervous system, and more. Studies have shown that teetotaling for even a short period can have incredible health benefits. One even found that many volunteers who participated in Dry January reported feeling healthier, having more energy, having better concentration, losing weight, feeling accomplished, and more. And to live your happiest and healthiest life, don't miss these 70 Things You Should Never Do For Your Health.