Thursday, 4 December 2014

65 Tips to supercharge your health and fitness

This is page two of the Profound Health '65 tips to supercharge your health and fitness', giving you 31 more health tips that you can use every day to supercharge your health and fitness.

Page 1 - Read the first 34 tips for better health

Switch to lean meat

Lean meat is meat that contains less fat, and this also results in the meat having a higher percentage of protein than fattier cuts. Leaner cuts of meat benefit your health because they don't have as much cholesterol and can be a healthy way to avoid heart disease later in life.

Sit down often

Standing for long periods of time isn't healthy for your knees, hips, and other joints. When you're standing or walking, you place more pressure in your knee joints than your actual weight. Your knees are designed to take this stress, but they need to rest whenever possible or else you'll end up suffering from injuries to the ligaments and cartilage of your knee, as well as the muscles and tendons that join onto the knee joint.

This leaves you more susceptible to arthritis or even an injury that could require surgery. Rest often in-between periods of standing and exercise, and take a joint supplement where arthritis or other knee issues run in the family. You'll thank yourself later on in life when you can still walk and run without pain. Sensible joint care now means continued mobility later on when you retire.

Take care of your joints

Your joints are very important, and any misuse or overuse can dramatically increase your risk of arthritis later in life, as well as your risk of injuries. Injuries from joint overuse can include anything from a cartilage tear in the knees, to tendonitis in the elbow.

All joint issues are serious because they have the ability to greatly impact your quality of life. Losing mobility reduces your ability to exercise, do the things you love, and work. It has a direct effect on your mental health and can cause depression.

If you have joint issues, even if they seem less serious, it pays to have the problem looked over by a doctor. It is also wise to strengthen the muscles around your joints as this takes strain off the cartilage and connective tissue. Having a strong back, buttocks, thighs, and calves, is the key to reducing joint strain and strengthening your body overall.

Visit the chiropractor

The condition of your back affects the rest of your joints and an improperly aligned back can even lead to problems with your hips, knees, and ankles. A visit to the chiropractor should be a regular addition to your healthcare regime.

Chiropractors can examine the condition and alignment of your joints as well as offer treatment that realigns them into proper position, reducing pain and the risk of injuries as a result.

Take glucosamine sulfate

Glucosamine is a natural compound present in the synovial fluid of your joints. This fluid lubricates your joints and keeps them moving properly. Glucosamine plays a key part in the functioning of synovial fluid and can decrease in concentration with age.

For this reason, if you're older and suffer from osteoarthritis, glucosamine sulfate is a natural treatment for the immobility and pain associated with arthritis. It can also be taken by younger people who suffer from osteoarthritis.

However, only the sulfate salt has proven efficacy and it's currently only proven to be beneficial for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Taken for this condition, it improves mobility, reduces pain, and increases quality of life and allows you to exercise properly and return to more regular activity.

Quit your job

Feeling stressed, sleep deprived, and fatigued? Have you been called in to work again or had to stay back long hours and haven't had enough time to get a decent sleep before you start again the next day? This kind of devotion might advance your career, but it's poisonous to both your physical and mental health.

Chronic sleep deprivation and overworking damage all areas of your health, including your memory, brain function, cardiovascular health, skin, and digestion. The further you continue to push yourself, the more likely you are to suffer a breakdown or end up extremely sick. If this is you, it may be time to look for a career that doesn't suck the life out of you and allows you the time to look after yourself. If nothing else and you can't or don't want to leave your job, you absolutely need to be able to place time aside for yourself so that you can recover and stay healthy.

Cut down on stress

Stress is a mental condition, but it has physical effects on the rest of your body. Research shows that stress increases the risk of heart disease and other illnesses, as well as reduces the effectiveness of the immune system.

This is not surprising considering that corticosteroids, which are naturally released in response to stress, are well known for their immune suppressant effect. A little stress is fine, but too much can be detrimental to your mental and physical health.

Drink more water

Water is the primary component of life, and this is reflected in the fact that our bodies are mostly water. As such, your body needs a constant supply of clean, high quality water to maintain optimum health and aid the function of the kidneys.

Getting enough water can even help decrease bloating from water retention, because when the body knows it will receive enough water to function properly, it doesn't see the need to store large amounts of it under your skin. You'll look less bloated, and your body will be better able to remove metabolic waste. Drinking more water also helps to keep your skin looking great and feeling firmer.

Listen to music every day

Music makes the world go 'round, and it will certainly put a bounce in your step or cheer you up when you're feeling down. Listening to music is a great way to relax, ease stress, and improve your mental health. For best results, turn off the lights and use headphones to block out the external environment and increase your relaxation.

Reduce caffeine intake

Caffeine is the most commonly consumed drug in the world, and it's present in a huge variety of different drinks. Many people are dependent on a hot cup of coffee every morning before they can even begin to focus or truly wake up.

All this caffeine isn't without its problems however, and your caffeine intake has a direct effect on stress by increasing concentrations of the fight or flight neurotransmitter epinephrine when you consume too much.

Excess caffeine also increase the release of cortisol, which is normally released in response to stress and can inhibit the immune system and cause you to feel run down and bloated in excess. Reducing your reliance on caffeine helps to avoid all of this and reduces stress. It can also help you get a better sleep.

But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a hot coffee...

Too much caffeine is harmful to your health, but a little caffeine can actually improve several aspects of your health, as well as increase alertness and wakefulness when you need it most. The key here is to try not to consume it every day, and limit the amount you do consume.

Coffee as a source of caffeine, and even decaf coffee, is beneficial to your health because it lowers cholesterol and reduces your risk of developing diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and dementia, Parkinson's disease, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.

This is because coffee contains beneficial antioxidants and other compounds that effect health in ways that are separate to the caffeine content. Caffeine itself is noted to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancer.

Consume enough iron and zinc

Iron and zinc are two very important minerals. Iron is particularly well known for its role in fatigue and malaise when a deficiency is present, and it is necessary to consume enough iron to maintain energy levels and be able to perform at your best.

Iron is also involved in several enzymes that are crucial to health, meaning a deficiency can have more widespread effects on your body as a whole.

Zinc is highly important to the function of enzymes within your body and is also very important for men's health as it is involved in the production of testosterone.

A zinc deficiency can leave you feeling run down and tired, but it will also lead to lower levels of testosterone, decreased mental well being, and an impaired immune system. Studies have even shown that when people are deficient in zinc, they are more susceptible to a cold and have symptoms for longer than those who consume enough zinc.

Add black pepper to your food

Black pepper is hot because it contains piperine. This compound is responsible for the warmth that is experienced when you eat food that has been seasoned with pepper, and it is also a compound that has the ability to increase the absorption and bioavailability of vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients.

Curcumin, which is found in turmeric and can be used as a natural treatment for joint swelling and pain, is not very bioavailable. Piperine increases the absorption of curcumin, allowing a much lower dosage to be used to attain the same effects. Black pepper may even help prevent lung cancer and other types of tumours.

Get enough calcium every day

Calcium is another mineral that can often be overlooked and many people just aren't getting enough of it these days. As more and more people are avoiding dairy and decreasing their consumption of foods like cheese and milk, which can be high in fat, calcium deficiencies become more common.

This leads to an increased risk of osteoporosis and is detrimental to the health of your bones and joints as your body will leach it out of your bones to use as an electrolyte when external supply is low.

Getting the right amount of calcium, which means at least 1000 mg per day, will keep your bones healthy into an older age, as well as keep you feeling your best. It may even help you lose more weight according to studies.

Lose weight

Losing weight is a fairly obvious way to improve your health, but one that a lot of people can sometimes overlook. Being overweight is a significant risk factor for many illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, and even several types of cancer. Being obese can even put you at a risk of type II diabetes that is 20 times higher than someone of a healthier weight.

If you're struggling to lose weight and have been for some time, it may be about time to see your doctor and have them assess your health and provide you with some assistance to lose the excess weight. There is no quick way to do this other than exercise and a healthy diet.

Exercise daily

Maintaining a healthy diet and weight is important for achieving a high level of health, and daily exercise is the best way to maintain your fitness. Daily exercise can also reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels, your risk of stroke and diabetes, and will lead to stronger muscles and better endurance as a whole. This keeps you feeling and looking great, well into old age.

Perform gentle cardio

Cardiovascular fitness is paramount to a healthy heart and lungs, and the best way to achieve a healthier cardiovascular system is through the use of gentle aerobic exercise every week. Whilst resistance exercise builds muscle and strength, aerobic exercise strengthens the heart.

Adding more cardio to your exercise routine is as easy as going for a walk or jog. You can also try swimming, jumping jacks, rowing, or any other exercise that gets your heart pumping. The key is to maintain a moderate pace. Doing so will strengthen your cardiovascular system, endurance, and also burn fat.

Eat blueberries

Berries are a nutritional powerhouse, brimming with antioxidants and vitamins. Blueberries are even better though, with studies suggesting that a daily serving of blueberries can help you maintain a healthy weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and steer clear of cancer. On top of that, they taste great and can be eaten by themselves or added to your favourite salads, yogurt, or desserts.

Cook with coconut oil

Virgin coconut oil is a promising new way to lower LDL cholesterol—the bad kind—whilst increasing HDL cholesterol. It has also been shown to lower triglycerides and phospholipids, and can even decrease the oxidation of LDL cholesterol into artery clogging atherosclerosis. This is because of the polyphenol content and the medium chain triglycerides found in virgin coconut oil.

To make the most of coconut oil, use it as a dipping oil, a base for mayonnaise, salad dressings, or infuse it with different flavours. You can also use it whenever you need to fry anything; especially if you're sautéing meat or vegetables for a curry that is going to use coconut milk or cream. The use of coconut oil here fits with the flavour profile of the recipe perfectly.

Avoid trans fats

Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat, but they don't share the benefits of other unsaturated fat. This is because they're chemically different, and although they are rarely found in nature, they are artificially produced when foods are processed in a certain way.

The most common method of production is when vegetable oil is hydrogenated to create margarine and other spreads. Trans fats are an unintentional by-product of this process and any margarine or other product containing margarine is likely to contain trans fats.

These fats are proven to contribute to heart disease as they raise LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, decrease HDL cholesterol, and promote inflammation. To maintain good health, you shouldn't consume any trans fat wherever possible, or at least greatly limit your intake.

Eat good fats

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are examples of good fats. This kind of fat helps your body produce healthy cell membranes, as well as lowers your risk of heart attack and stroke.

They achieve this through lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol, as well as positively affecting blood pressure and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Unsaturated fats like this are most commonly found in vegetable oils like olive oil. Olive oil itself has a range of health benefits beyond that of the unsaturated fats found within it and is a great oil to use for cooking or as a dip for bread and dukkah.

Eat more vegetables

It's something you hear constantly, but still worth repeating nonetheless. Many people simply don't eat enough vegetables, and no, potato chips don't count. For optimum health, and to ensure you're getting a wide variety of different nutrients, you need to eat a wider variety of vegetables, and more of them.

Some of the different types of vegetables you might want to incorporate into your diet include carrots, spinach, pumpkin, beetroot, onion, broccoli, beans, lentils, chickpeas, capsicum, tomatoes, and eggplant (Admittedly, capsicum, pumpkin, eggplant, and tomatoes are fruit, but they're tasty regardless).

Add chili to your food

Chili causes a hot sensation because of a compound called capsaicin. This binds to TRPV1 receptors in your mouth and stimulates them to produce the same response that would occur when you feel actual heat, albeit without the physical effects of the heat itself.

An interesting benefit of this however is that it also lowers blood pressure through nitric oxide release, and may increase metabolism to help you lose weight faster by burning more energy at rest.

Eating food containing chili can also slow down the rate at which you eat so that your body has more time to tell you when you're full and you don't overeat. All of these benefits help you maintain a healthier weight.

Eat more slowly

When you are hungry and eat something to satisfy your hunger, your body doesn't realise that it's full for a while. This means that you continue to eat even after your body is actually satisfied. The easiest way to combat this, whilst enjoying your food more, is to take the time to eat slowly and really enjoy and taste your food while you eat it. This allows more time for your body to indicate that it is full and you will eat less as a result.

Try lentils

If you're a vegetarian, not a big fan of meat, or simply eating on a strict budge, lentils are one of the cheapest ways to add more protein to your diet, as well as essential vitamins and minerals.

They're inexpensive, healthy, and can be incorporated into a variety of different recipes to bulk up the nutrition of your meals.

Get a massage

The benefits of a massage to your mental health are obvious. Massages are an easy way to relieve stress, relax, and get to sleep easier. They also have health benefits for your physical health though, which can range from benefits to your circulation to a reduction of pain in overused muscles and joints.

Use low fat dairy

Dairy gets a bad reputation for being high in fat, even though it has many vitamins and minerals, high protein, and other benefits. Low fat or no fat dairy gives you the best of both worlds by allowing you to lower your fat intake while still getting the vital nutrients that dairy offers.

In particular, skim milk, reduced fat cheese, and low fat yogurt are some of the best low fat dairy products that taste very similar to their higher fat counterparts. What's better is that you can add them to all your favourite recipes to decrease the amounts of fat in your meals. You can even substitute evaporated milk for cream in some circumstances, or top baked potatoes with low fat Greek yogurt for a tasty yet lighter meal.

Ditch the soft drinks

Soft drinks are like a liquid version of candy and they share the same lack of nutritional benefits. Whilst delicious and refreshing, they are full of sugar and absolutely nothing else. All these drinks do is increase the size of your waist and promote teeth decay.

Ditching the soft drinks will see you feeling and looking better. If nothing else, at least reduce your intake and you'll still experience better health.

Eat wholegrain and multi-grain foods

Wholegrain and multi-grain foods are less refined because the entirety of the grain is used in the product. In the case of multi-grain, several different types of grain are incorporated into the product, which boosts the amount of nutrients that are present in the food. These food products also contain a lot more fiber and protein than processed white flours.

Limit refined carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates like white sugar, white flour and other processed carbs are terrible for your waistline, as well as your health in general. These carbohydrates are also devoid of many beneficial nutrients that are present in the less refined and natural alternatives. The easiest way to limit your consumption of refined carbohydrates is to switch from 'white' products to wholemeal products.

This means instead of baking with white flour, try to use wholemeal flour or even try different types of healthier grains and flours like rye or flax seed. Sugar, on the other hand, can be substituted with honey, molasses, or another healthier sweetener that includes vitamins and minerals.

Consume more fiber every day

Fiber is not a nutrient in the traditional sense like protein or vitamins and minerals are as it isn't actually absorbed and used in the maintenance of your body. The benefits of fiber are actually directly related to this lack of absorption though. When consumed, fiber acts to assist the digestive system by adding bulk and helping to keep things moving smoothly.

On top of this, a type of fiber called soluble fiber is beneficial in an entirely different way because there is mounting evidence that it can help to absorb and remove LDL cholesterol. This has direct benefits for the health of your heart.

Living healthier and happier doesn't mean you need to control every single aspect of your diet and every little thing you eat, nor does it mean you have to jog for 8 hours a day. Living a healthier lifestyle can be as easy as using these tips to improve your health.

Each small tip helps contribute to your health in various ways and the benefits mount as more of the tips are used together. Taking care of yourself is important, and you can do it with one small change at a time, every day.

Page 1 - Read the first 34 tips for better health

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