Best Ways To Quickly Improve Your Health
From nutritious eating to adequate exercise, your body thrives on healthy choices. But there are other decisions you can make that can help you feel happy and fulfilled. That’s why we’ve compiled this handy list of easy ways to improve your health and wellness so that you can feel your best every day.
Take Care of Your Smile
Many people make the mistake of thinking they only need to visit a dentist when they’re in pain. This belief is quite shortsighted. Regular dental visits reduce the risk of developing painful oral problems. However, a dentist can also provide screenings for oral cancer and exam the mouth for signs that could indicate problems elsewhere in the body. For example, the American Dental Association reports that poor oral health is often an early sign of diabetes or heart disease.
In addition to regular dental visits, make brushing and flossing part of your daily routine. Adults should brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once per day. Mouthwash is not medically necessary if you’re brushing and flossing regularly, but it can be helpful if you are concerned about bad breath. For best results, choose a mouthwash containing chlorine dioxide as an active ingredient. Chlorine dioxide is proven to be highly effective at killing the bacteria that cause bad breath.
Turn Down the Noise
Hearing loss isn’t an inevitable side effect of aging. In fact, one-third of permanent hearing loss is preventable.
Exposure to noise above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. A good rule of thumb is that a noise level is potentially dangerous if you must shout to be heard by someone who is just an arm’s length away. Any situation that causes a ringing or buzzing in your ears or leaves you with a feeling of “fullness” in your ears after you exit the area may also be too loud.
Removing yourself from a noisy situation or asking someone to turn down the volume is always the best bet. When this isn’t possible, wear earplugs or earmuffs to prevent damage to your hearing. If necessary, purchase multiple pairs so you always have ear protection readily available when you need it.
Hearing loss is most common among military personnel, construction workers, farmers, police officers, firefighters, factory workers and musicians or other entertainment industry professionals due to the continuously high levels of noise they experience throughout the work day. If you work in one of these at-risk occupations, check with your employer to see what steps they are taking to protect workers from hearing damage.
Take Advantage of Your Free Preventive Care Benefits
Preventive care is health care that’s designed to address small problems before they become serious medical issues. Preventive care lets you be proactive about your health instead of waiting until you don’t feel well to make changes to your lifestyle. Did you know that the Affordable Care Act makes many preventive health screenings available free of charge? Even if you normally have a deductible for your insurance, you can obtain these services without paying one cent out of pocket.
The list of screenings available as part of your preventive care benefit includes depression screening, blood pressure screening, alcohol misuse screening and counseling, obesity screening and counseling and HIV screening. Additional screenings are also offered if you fall into a high-risk group, such as lung cancer screening for adults ages 55 to 80 who are heavy smokers, or those who have quit smoking in the last 15 years, and diabetes screening for people who also suffer from high blood pressure. Visit Healthcare.gov to learn more.
Make Sleep a Priority
If you have a to-do list that seems like it will never end, it’s tempting to stay up late to polish your presentation for work or tackle the pile of laundry that needs to be done. Unfortunately, skimping on sleep is a terrible idea. Being awake for 16 hours straight has the same effect on your physical and mental abilities as a blood alcohol level of .05% (the legal limit for operating under the influence is .08%).
Getting adequate sleep is one of the best ways to improve your health. Healthy adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night, with some people saying they feel best when they get closer to nine hours of sleep per night.
Ideally, it should take you between 10 and 15 minutes to fall asleep. If you can fall asleep in less than five minutes, this indicates you’re suffering from sleep deprivation. If it takes longer than 20 minutes, you might be suffering from a sleep disorder.
Trouble sleeping can be caused by stress, illness, living or sleeping arrangements, diet, exercise and your genetic history. A lack of sleep even negatively affects your brain’s neurons. To promote a more restful sleep, develop a ritual that will train your brain to relax. Try drinking a warm glass of milk or enjoying a cup of chamomile tea while you read a book or listen to some relaxing music. Reduce your use of artificial light as much as possible during the evening hours, as there is evidence to suggest that exposure to excess light interferes with the body’s production of melatonin — a hormone needed for proper sleep.
Treat Yourself to New, Smaller Dishes
If it has been a few years since you purchased new dishes, consider springing for a set of dinnerware that includes smaller plates. The bigger your plate or bowl is, the more you’ll eat without realizing it.
Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab reported on a study by professors Brian Wansink and Koert van Ittersum that looked at the effect of large bowls on breakfast cereal consumption among people attending a health and fitness camp.
Campers with larger bowls ate 16 percent more cereal, yet their estimated consumption was actually 7 percent less than campers using the smaller bowls. This indicates that larger dishes tend to make food portions look smaller, so they are visually deceiving when it comes to determining the size of a portion you really ate.
Switching to a salad plate for all your meals is the easiest way to automatically downsize your portions. Alternatively, you can invest in a special portion-control plate with divided sections that illustrate the ideal portions of protein, grains, and fruit or vegetables. There are also portion-control bowls with lines that indicate various serving sizes. This is a quick health tip that will effortlessly cut calories from each meal.
If you’re looking for simple ways to improve your health, overhauling your snacks is a good place to start. Snacking doesn’t have to mean sitting in front of the TV with a bag of potato chips or grabbing a candy bar while you’re waiting for dinner to finish cooking. If you put some effort into choosing healthy snacks, you can satisfy your hunger while filling in some of the nutrients your meals might be missing.
Ideally, a healthy snack should include protein as well as fiber. This will provide the fuel your body needs to get through the day. Examples of healthy snacks include yogurt and apple slices, string cheese and wheat crackers, unsalted nuts and baby carrots, or peanut butter and pretzel sticks. For most adults, a sensible portion for a snack is somewhere between 100 and 200 calories.
To make snacking more convenient, pre-portion the correct serving sizes on the weekend and keep them in a basket in your pantry or refrigerator. Then, all you will need to do is grab a container when you’re hungry.