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The Six Best Things You Can Do For Your Health

The Six Best Things You Can Do For Your Health

There is so much garbage written these days about magic solutions for your health. Obviously because it’s more profitable to sell snake oil to gullible people. But what really works is some basic habits that are actually hiding in plain sight. So with that said, let’s go through my list of the 6 best things that you can do for your health. The good news is that none of them are particularly hard to implement.

Sleep

Sleep in our society is the most neglected health secret of all. So many people think it’s a badge of courage to go without sleep . “I’ve got SO much to do, I haven’t got time for 8 hours sleep”. Wow, that is so tough of you.

It’s also so stupid of you. We have a masochistic streak running through the Anglo world (I’m talking Australia, England, US, Canada, NZ and South Africa here). There’s this stupid idea that you work so hard for a boss that will retrench you as soon as look at you that the only way you can fit everything in your life is if you learn to live on 5 hours sleep.

Now I have news for you. You don’t live on 5 hours sleep; you exist. It is really bad for you. In fact for most people the 7 to 8 hour mark is set in stone. I know scientists say from time to time that anywhere between 6 and 8 hours is adequate, but I personally like and need my 8 hours. However if you feel happy and healthy on less, that’s great.

So if you’re one of those people who gets up at 5 to be able to get to the gym before work, I recommend you stop that. You will actually be healthier if you ditch the gym altogether and sleep in. Find some other time to work out. Perhaps also learn to say no to your boss. (This is known as growing a spine).

Fruit And Veg

The recommendation from health departments is for 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of veggies each day.

Apparently, only 20% of Australians achieve that figure. I know that I am quite inconsistent with it, but these days the more I have greens, the more my body craves them.

If you are struggling with getting used to getting that much fruit and veg in you, like with everything, start small. Have a look at fruit juices from the supermarket. There are many brands that will show what one glass of juice is equivalent to when it comes to your fruit requirements. One glass is usually only 200ml. I usually like at least double that. So there’s your two fruits taken care of just with a glass of juice a day. That’s a good start.

Five veggies? For convenience I use snap frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables, you ask. Aren’t they not as good for you as fresh? Well apparently they are, and often, since they are snap frozen, they can be better for you than the irradiated product on the shelves of the local supermarket.  The big exception is broccoli. Apparently there is an important enzyme in broccoli, sulforaphane, that can be destroyed by freezing.

Anyway. If you look at the serving size to get a single serve of veggies (the information is on the pack), it’s actually quite tiny. Seventy five grams will give you a serve of vegetables. I usually eat 4 times that amount in one sitting.

Like anything, if it’s done every day, it will eventually become a habit. What starts out as a chore will become something you crave.

Fibre

I recently learnt how essential the gut is to health. Apparently the gut has an important role in regulating the immune system. One of the best ways to ensure gut health is getting enough fibre. In layman’s terms, the role of fibre is to flush toxins out of your system. In addition to being good for the gut, it is very beneficial to the liver and also helps lower cholesterol.

How to get enough fibre? In addition to veggies (there’s a surprising amount of fibre in many vegetables – look on the pack) I also like to take a fibre supplement. Thirty grams of fibre a day will do the trick and you will see an immediate and substantial improvement in your health once you get enough fibre.

Probiotics

On a related note to fibre is the use of probiotics. What probiotics do is regulate the level of good bacteria in the gut. Once again, as with fibre, probiotics are an essential element in a healthy immune system, which will affect your health on a systemic level.

Exercise

Naturally, exercise is one of the big things you can do for your health, whatever it is. I personally like yoga and some weights. You may like running or walking or swimming or anything really. Whatever it is, the important thing is that you do something.

Intermittent Fasting

This one is huge. and not for the reason you think. It’s not about losing weight,  it’s about giving your cells time to take out the trash. It has been found that there is a process called autophagy that is activated when you fast. I’ve previously discussed the benefits of intermittent fasting here.

So there you have it. Six big things that will ensure good health. And not an acai berry in sight. You might be saying to yourself right now.. well these are particularly exciting or novel. No they’re not. They’re actually rather mundane aren’t they? As with most things, the secrets of success are hidden in plain sight. Because they don’t look like secrets, people overlook them and go looking for the exotic – a special berry usually. People have been looking for magical elixirs for ever; it’s human nature.

In the meantime, a few simple habits like I have outlined will be more effective than any magical elixir.

 

Image Source: Michael Nutt from New York, US – David asleep in hammock, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6898844

About The Author

Shaun

A guy obsessed with stripping down whatever field he studies to get the optimum return from effort expended. Sort of like Tim Ferriss, except with zero fame.

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