Day in and day out, you are bombarded with thousands if not millions of tips, strategies, secrets, and promises that will supposedly unlock the key to better health. Sometimes, they are too good to be true (because they are) or simply inaccurate. However, scientists have found some evidence-based ways to stay healthy without breaking the bank or your back. Here they are!
21 Habits to Help You Attain Better Health
Just because you’re getting older, it does not mean ageing has to be degenerative. We hope the simple and doable tweaks below help you enjoy better health and a great sense of accomplishment as you put them into practice.
How to Eat Healthy
- Keep it real. If it’s in your power, eat unrefined and minimally processed foods instead of highly processed, foods with “empty calories.” One 20-year study even showed that processed foods and sugary drinks are most responsible for vast weight gain.
- Count colors, not calories. Now, we aren’t saying you should neglect the numbers and eat overly-sized portions. What we’re emphasizing is the importance of paying close attention to the calories you are Not sure how to do that? Just look at the colors on your plate. Filling your dish with greens, reds, yellows, and other beautiful colors will help ensure every meal is nutrient-rich.
- Fill up half your dish with vegetables. They’re not just beautiful and vibrant looking. Eating vegetables everyday will fill your body with the fiber, vitamins, and mineral it needs to function properly and fight against heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and digestive disorders.
- Freeze your food. Take a second to look at your refrigerator – if your fridge is full and your freezer is empty, here’s what you should do… Dice up your produce, pack them into Ziplocs or Tupperware, and store them in the freezer. Doing this will help prevent waste and keep the nutrient value high to give you benefits.
- Don’t stop snacking. For many of you this is good news, but it still means you have to snack right. Snacking on healthy food throughout the day will keep your metabolism active and burning fat! It also helps keep your hunger pangs at bay and energy levels high.
- If you eat out, then eat smart. We totally understand, it’s nice not having to cook every once in a while. Although, it can be hard to eat healthy when you aren’t the one in charge of menu options. So, try things like this: order dressing on the side, skip dessert, and don’t fill up on the free bread sticks.
- Drink warm beverages. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? If it doesn’t involve drinking a warm beverage, you may want to re-think your morning routine. Warm beverages actually decrease the amount of metabolic waste which helps the ageing process slow down. So, tomorrow morning, drink a green tea or glass of warm water to help boost digestion, speed up your metabolism, and improve circulation.
- Start your day with protein. Did you know your body produces a hunger hormone called ghrelin? But you don’t want too much of it in your system, so foods rich in protein are perfect for bringing it back down. Whether it’s a protein powder shake, eggs or yogurt, these protein-rich foods will keep you full and satisfied until lunch (more than a carbohydrate-heavy breakfast will)!
- Practice long, slow eating. When you eat slowly, you allow your mind to process that your body is too full. In a 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers affirmed this idea in a 2500-woman study. Researchers found that women who ate at faster speeds exhibited a higher body mass index (BMI).
How to Use Sleep for Better Health
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- Stick to a sleep schedule. For adults, the recommended amount of sleep is at least seven hours, so aim for that number. But try not to sleep for more than eight hours because oversleeping can leave you feeling groggy and lethargic. It can be challenging with certain schedules and family members but, if you can, stick to the same bedtime every night so your body can settle into a healthy sleep pattern.
- Create a restful environment. If you have trouble sleeping, you could try a number of things… Make sure your room has a cool temperature, minimize or eliminate your exposure to light, place your phone out of arms reach or, if it works for you, play some white noise in the background.
- Don’t go to sleep too hungry or too stuffed. The discomfort of either extreme can keep you up all night, ruin your sleep schedule, and negatively affect your productivity the following morning (and beyond if it turns into a habit). To do this, eat dinner at least two hours before bed and avoid large, heavy meals.
- Limit daytime naps. If you have the privilege of taking naps throughout your day, don’t nap for too long! Your speedy sleep breaks can interfere with the sleep you need a night for your body to recover and repair itself. Try to stick to naps no longer than thirty minutes per day – a fine balance between staying energized and still being tired enough at the end of a long day.
How Exercise Changes Your Life
- For every hour you sit, walk for a couple of minutes. Many people’s jobs require them to sit at a desk all day, but medical professionals continue to highlight the health risks of sitting too long and being physically inactive. Research has shown that walking just 1 to 2 minutes every hour you spend sitting can even lower your mortality risk by 33 percent.
- Schedule workouts in advance. Starting your fitness journey will be so much easier if you do – it’s true. How many times have you said you’re going to workout at home or the gym and letting it slide day after day, week after week, and month after month? Scheduling time for your health will increase the likelihood of you following through. If paying for some classes is what it will take to get you moving, maybe it’s worth it.
- Do not overdo the exercising. Exercising does not have to be a two hours a day, seven days a week ordeal. Take it slow and give your body time to recover. While everyone wants their physique to have a certain look, the most important thing is that you start feeling healthy again.
- Be active outside of the gym. If you go to the gym, change up the environment every now and then. If you dislike gyms, then this is for you. Getting out into nature can have incredible health benefits. The great thing about getting active outside of the gym is that it’s arguably more fun! Go for a walk with friends, play a bit of your favorite sport, run around with your kids or grand kids.
- Try lifting some weights. More often than not, you’ve probably heard people rave about cardio when weighing in on weight loss. Don’t get us wrong – cardio is fantastic for increasing and improving your heart rate and burning calories. However, doing gentle strength training with weights will make you stronger and even boost your metabolism.
- Exercise with a friend or workout group. There are days when it’s extremely hard to muster up the motivation to get active all by yourself. So, call up a friend or joint a group fitness class. Whether or not you’re close with them, surrounding yourself with likeminded individuals will help motivate and encourage you as well as achieve your health goals.
How to Live a Stress-Free Life
- Cheat, but don’t derail. When starting a new diet or fitness program, no one is perfect. There are days when eating well and getting active won’t even cross your mind – and that’s okay. Every day is a new one, so simply start again. First and foremost, the positive changes you’re making are for your health and longevity. So, don’t stress about missing a day or eating something junky. Keep it fun.
- Ignore the scale. While it’s good to stay aware of your weight, that number staring back at you can quickly become your worst enemy. In those moments, remember this: the number on that scale is not necessarily the best indicator of your health and fitness. For all we know, your weight couldn’t have budged a pound because you’ve lost fat and gained muscle.
Doesn’t Seem Too Hard, Does It?
With just a few minor tweaks to your daily routine, you will start noticing changes to your health – physically and emotionally – faster than you think! Remember, this isn’t a quick-fix diet plan. If weight loss is the main goal you’re striving for, it will likely come with the beneficial changes you choose to make, so take it a day at a time.
 The Best Diet: Quality Counts. (2013, November 20). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/best-diet-quality-counts/
 EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACEUTICAL AND MEDICAL RESEARCH. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from http://www.ejpmr.com/home/abstract_id/220
 Faster Self-Reported Speed of Eating Is Related to Higher Body Mass Index in a Nationwide Survey of Middle-Aged Women. (2011, July 28). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002822311005840
 Walking an extra two minutes each hour may offset hazards of sitting too long. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150430170715.htm
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