Seven small everyday habits that can improve your health
Sometimes it can feel like we need to be making huge changes to our daily routine to see an improvement in our health. This isn't helped by the fact we're bombarded with adverts for drastic diets and intense exercise regimes that – let's face it – most of us don't want or need.
With the right help and mindset, there are some things that we can all do to make ourselves healthier, without shaking up our whole lifestyle and everything else with it. Here, Frida Harju-Westman, nutritionist for the health app Lifesum, shares some simple habits that anyone and everyone can slot into their day to improve their health.
Always eat breakfast
Rather than staying in bed until the last possible minute and grabbing a croissant en-route, try to get into the habit of waking up 15 minutes earlier to make a good breakfast. Your breakfast doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it’s important to make sure you have one, as research shows that missing breakfast can result in low blood sugar and slower metabolism. I recommend having eggs as they are low in calories but packed with protein, which will help you to feel more alert by the time you get to work.
Substitute your coffee for a green tea
Rather than relying on coffee to get you through a day of work, try substituting this habit for green tea. Although coffee has been shown to improve concentration, it tends to provide you with short bursts of energy followed by a sharp plunge. In contrast, while green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, it still acts as a mild stimulant, giving you a boost of energy with the great addition of improving your health due to the amount of antioxidants and flavonoids it contains.
Add spice to your cooking
Whenever you are cooking, try to always add a bit of cinnamon, chili or garlic to the dish. This simple habit will not only enhance the flavour of your food, it can also make you less hungry, improve your digestion and speed up your metabolism. This may be a small change to make to your meals, but it can really beneficial.
Make sure you get enough sleep
If you want to be fit and healthy then it's essential that you ensure you get enough sleep each night. When you have a bad night’s sleep, your body requires more energy to stay alert. This can lead to you craving carb-rich and fatty foods, as your brain associates these foods with quick energy bursts – which, in turn, can activate the reward centre of your brain, leaving you full and content. Getting a good night’s sleep will ensure that you have better energy levels throughout the day and make you less inclined to opt for unhealthy foods.
Walk to refill your water
Make sure that you drink plenty of water throughout the day, as this is essential in order to help the organs and cells to function and to flush out toxins from the body. Try to combine this habit with a leg stretch once every hour and a half by taking your glass and filling it up with fresh water. Drinking enough water will ensure you have energy throughout the day. One Australian study even found that a bit of light activity, such as walking across the room, can contribute to weight loss.
Reorder your fridge
A bad habit many of us have is late-evening snacking, even if we aren’t particularly hungry. We simply open the fridge and grab the first thing that we see to munch on. A simple and effective way to stop yourself from doing this is to move high-calorie foods to the back of the fridge, leaving the front free for healthier snacks like carrot sticks and hummus, which are much more beneficial for your body.
Sit up, stand up
If you are sitting at a desk all day, then a good habit to adopt is to ensure that instead of slouching, you straighten up and hold your head high. Not only is this good for your posture, but it will also give you a boost of dopamine and serotonin, the hormones that are responsible for our good mood.
Even better, if you can, try to stand up instead. By choosing to stand up instead of sitting down for some of the working hours you reduce the risk of developing a number of diseases. Sitting down for the entire eight hours during a working day is as harmful as smoking when it comes to health.
What little habits have you found beneficial to your health?
Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @YayEveryDay_
Thank you to Frida for her advice. Frida works with Lifesum, a Stockholm-based digital health company with over 25 million users. Using tech and psychology, it creates tailored plans to help people live happier, more balanced lives.