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13 Habits for Healthy Living

Posted Nov 04 2013 11:24am

A guest post by Alicia Lawrence

 

1. Be Active

Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car at the far side of the parking lot and walk. Take short breaks at the office to get up and move around. Even a short burst of activity can do wonders for your metabolism.

 

2. One and Done

While one cup of red wine may be good for your health, any more can have negative effects. Too much alcohol can cause liver disease, cancer, and brain damage. Getting into the habit of only drinking one cup when social drinking will save you money, help you lose weight, and keep you healthy.

 

3. Keep a Food Journal

Keeping a food journal is a great idea, especially if you’re trying to manage your weight. It allows you to log calories, and it shows you where most of your food intake is coming from so that you can maintain a balanced diet.

 

4. Plan Meals Ahead of Time

Create a meal plan for each week so you know exactly what to buy and how much you’ll need of it. Not only will this help you eat smarter, it will also help you spend smarter too because you’ll be less likely to go out and splurge on a big restaurant dinner when you already have a nice dinner at home planned. There are all kinds of resources and social networking sites available for people who love to cook; Epicurious and Foodily are two great examples.

 

5. Eat Until You’re Just 80% Full

Initially, this strategy might sound a bit odd, but it makes sense when you consider that it takes at least twenty minutes for your brain to register fullness. Besides, eating until you’re full just makes you feel worse later. People from Okinawa, Japan practice this 80% rule, and as a result, almost 29% of them live to age 100. This percentage is quadruple the rate of centenarians living in western countries!

6. Stretch First Thing in the Morning

When you start your day off by stretching, you lower your risk of heart attack, reduce stress, and improve circulation. Dr. Oz recommends this and heeds his own advice, explaining that he starts off by stretching his hips with a toe touch and then goes on to stretch his neck.

 

7. Be Early

Occasionally showing up five minutes late for work, meetings, and appointments might not seem like a big thing, but over time, it can result in elevated stress levels, which then cause chronic inflammation and high blood pressure. What’s the fix? Tell yourself, “ If you’re not early, you’re late,” and make that your mantra for everything.

8. Take a Balanced Approach to Eating

If there’s a certain food you’re really craving, have some, but practice portion control. Have a few bites, remembering that the first taste really is the best, and then drink some water and brush your teeth or chew a piece of gum to get the taste out of your mouth and keep yourself from going back for more.

 

9. Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

Studies have shown that practicing gratitude regularly can have a significant impact on happiness levels. Make it a habit to show gratitude by writing a thank you letter every night to someone you appreciate who’s made a difference in your life.

 

10. Get Your Fruits and Veggies, and Think Red

As part of a healthy diet, you should be getting at least 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. And when reaching for produce, you shouldn’t neglect the red stuff! Cruciferous vegetables like red cabbage have proven effective in preventing cancer, and beet juice has nitrates that can help relax blood vessels.

 

11. But With Tea, Think Black and Green!

The British have clearly been onto something with their fondness for afternoon tea. Studies have shown that drinking a cup of black tea daily can boost odds of surviving a heart attack by 28%. And green tea is loaded with antioxidants that can lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, and coronary artery disease. So even if you’re across the pond, do as the British do, and drink up!

12. Go With Door #1

In public restrooms, most people skip the first stall and choose the ones farther back because they’d rather have more privacy. But here’s the thing: since the first stall tends to be used the least, it also tends to have the least amount of bacteria, so if you want to avoid the risk of an infection, the first stall is the one you should use.

 

13. Go Two by Two

So you take the stairs instead of using the elevator. That’s great; good for you! But what can you do to kick it up another notch? Try going up the stairs two at a time. It’s a great way to tone your butt, thighs, and other muscles that you might not typically use.

 

What are some of your healthy habits?

You can read more from Alicia here .

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