5 Daily Habits for a Healthier You
We all know the big-picture advice: Eat well. Exercise. See your doctor regularly. But there are plenty of other ways to live a long and healthy life. Here are five surprising wellness moves that will keep your mind and body in its best shape.
1. Floss every day.
Gum disease can lead to heart attack. The best way to ward off the disease: flossing. Research shows that good oral care can help prevent coronary problems. In fact, a study in Scotland found a whopping 70 percent increase in cardiovascular disease among people who didn't brush at least once a day, while another shows that people with unhealthy gums (periodontal disease) are twice as likely to suffer from coronary ailments. By some estimates, you can add as much as 6.4 years to a typical life span!
2. Take your vitamins … but not all at once.
Splitting the dose improves absorption, experts say. So if you're taking 1,000 mg of calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth, make it one 500 mg pill in the morning and another 500 mg pill at night.
3. Detox your life.
Last May, the President's Cancer Panel recommended a number of steps to reduce your risk of environmentally influenced diseases, including some kinds of cancer. Be sure to do the following:
- Filter your drinking water.
- Eat fruits and vegetables grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
- Avoid food containers that contain BPA or phthalates.
- Don't use plastic in the microwave and check the radon level in your house.
4. Think positive.
Researchers have found that people who have two positive thoughts for every negative one (you may have to work at it, since half positive, half negative thoughts is the normal) increase their resiliency. Looking on the bright side can help in another way: A study at the University of South Carolina discovered that people with a sunny outlook on life are more likely to exercise, which has been shown to add seven years to your life.
5. Get outdoors.
Scientists have discovered an association between staying indoors and a host of diseases, including high blood pressure, asthma, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. So except for extremely hot, cold or high-pollution days, get outside daily. The National Wildlife Federation’s “Be Out There” program encourages kids to spend an hour outside every day -- and adults can take a lesson from that too.
Susan Crandell writes about health for such magazines as Prevention and Ladies' Home Journal. She is the founding editor of More, a magazine for women in their 40s and 50s and the author of Thinking About Tomorrow: Reinventing Yourself at Midlife.
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