The 25 Best Health Tips We’ve Ever Published

Here are 25 simple health solutions that stand out above the rest.

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Get Figgy With It

Figs are loaded with iron, which helps stave off anemia and fatigue. And according to one report, a single serving of this chewy fruit contains more polyphenols (recently linked to longevity) than tea or red wine.

 

Click here to read the rest of the 5-Minute Energy Fixes slideshow.

Photo by Elena Elisseeva

Just Breathe

Ongoing studies suggest that focused deep breathing may help reduce the frequency of hot flashes by lowering core body temperature. Think of it as Lamaze for hot flashes: As you feel on coming, slow your breathing rate by half and take deep-belly breaths.

 

Click here to read the rest of the 12 Ways to Cool Hot Flashes slideshow.

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Watch Out for the "Shoulds"

“One of the greatest drains on our youthful energy and vitality is the internal taskmaster, the voice of ‘shoulds’,” says Tara Sophia Mohr, an expert on women's leadership and well-being. “Pay attention to thoughts that include the word ‘should,’ such as ‘I should lose ten pounds’ or ‘I should do the dishes.’ Question that voice. Is what it is saying really helping you live a more vital, enjoyable life? Change your should thoughts to ‘I want to’ or ‘I choose to’ or drop them entirely."

 

Click here to read the rest of the Forever Young: Expert Tips for Aging Gracefully slideshow.

Tolga Sipahi

Calculate a New Target Heart Rate

Reaching your target heart rate, which is typically between 60 to 70 percent of your max to burn fat and within 75 to 80 percent to increase endurance, is recognized as the best way to achieve an effective aerobic workout. However, the way to calculate your maximum heart rate (and thus your target heart rate) has changed. According to a recent report in Circulation, the previous formula (220 minus your age) was derived from research on men and results in a max heart rate that’s too high for women. The new calculation (206 minus 88 percent of your age) would lower a 40-year-old woman’s peak rate about nine beats a minute, making it easier for her to reach and maintain her target heart rate, say researchers.

 

Click here to read the rest of the 17 Exercise Rules to Break slideshow.

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Try New Activities

Have you always wanted to try Bikram yoga but didn't want to buy an expensive package? “Deal-of-the-day websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial offer deep discounts on monthly packages and are great ways to take advantage of a new type of workout,” says Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, founder of Nu-Train and author of Bread is the Devil (out January 2012). “Buy two coupons and surprise a friend for her birthday or upcoming holiday.

 

Click here to read the rest of the 35 Fun Ways to Lose Weight With Friends slideshow.

Jakob Kamender

Eat Almost Everything

In the Okinawa Centenarian Study, Bradley J. Willcox, MD, of the University of Hawaii, examined the Okinawan lifestyle. Instead of being admonished to "clean your plate," elders tell children to "hara hachi bu" — stop eating when they are 80 percent full.

 

Click here to read the rest of the 18 Simple Steps to a Younger You slideshow.

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Hold the elevator

You’ve probably heard that keeping a gratitude journal increases happiness, but what about recording every time you give someone a compliment, hold the elevator door open or let a car merge during rush hour? When Japanese researchers asked a group of adults to keep track of every act of kindness they performed for a week, they found that study participants’ happiness increased significantly compared to both when they started and a control group. Already happy? Even better. People who were happier to start with became even happier, kinder and more grateful by jotting down their good deeds.

 

Click here to read the rest of the 12 Free Ways to Feel Better Fast slideshow.

dtimiraos

Lift Weights to Prevent Diabetes

In a major study of nearly 14,000 subjects, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, concluded that each 10 percent increase in muscle mass (as a percentage of body weight) correlated to a 12 percent drop in prediabetes. Improvements occurred even in individuals who exercised but did not lose weight. To boost your odds of preventing type 2 diabetes, strength-train at least twice a week by lifting weights, exercising with resistance bands or doing push-ups and other moves that use your body weight for resistance.

 

Click here to read the rest of the Lifesaving Health News You Missed slideshow.

Pete Saloutos

Eat Real Food

When you're at the grocery store, choose quality over quantity. Not only is eating “real food” more satisfying, but it also doesn’t contain any hidden ingredients or sneaky calories. “The French eat a lot of different food, but everything they eat is real," says Will Clower, MD, neuroscientist and author of The French Don’t Diet Plan. "Their cheese is not cheese food; their bread is not plastic wrapped I-wonder-what-it-is bread; it’s not made with high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, stabilizers or chemicals that give it shelf life…The coffee doesn’t come in a bucket with caramel, other syrups and things. It’s just coffee. The stuff the French eat is made with real ingredients.”

 

Click here to read the rest of the 21 Ways French Women Stay Thin slideshow.

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Go Wild

Push the envelope by doing quasi-dangerous or novel activities as a couple. Adventurous experiences increase the production of dopamine, which, in return, increases sexual thoughts, the likelihood of acting on those thoughts and the desire to seek sexual rewards, says Susan Kellogg, CRNP, PhD, co-founder of the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute of Philadelphia where she is the director of Sexual Medicine. Schedule some time to go kayaking, hiking or to try new foods.

 

Click here to read the rest of the 13 Quick Tips for Sizzing Sex slideshow.

Steve Cole

Shun Sugar-Free Foods

They often contain sugar alcohols, low-calorie sweeteners that linger in the intestines where bacteria ferment them, causing gas and bloating. Mannitol is especially known for this, but be sure to check a product’s ingredient list for any sugar alcohols-they commonly end in "tol." If you’re concerned about calories, eat a smaller serving of the full-sugar version.

Click here to read the rest of the Flatten Your Belly Fast slideshow.

Arne Bramsen

Happy music, healthy heart

Protect your ticker with cheerful tunes. Scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that when people listened to music they found joyful, their blood vessels widened by 26 percent. Such expansion means that the protective chemical nitric oxide has been released, which reduces the risk of blood clots and hardened arteries, says researcher Michael Miller, MD. On the other hand, hearing music that listeners described as anxiety-causing narrowed blood vessels by six percent and produced artery harming chemicals. The Rx: Listen to music that boosts your mood at least three times a week.

 

Click here to read the rest of the Health News You Need to Knows slideshow.

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Chill Out Before Exercising

To perform better, cool down before you warm up. Research shows that lowering your body temperature prior to exercise increases the amount of heat your body can tolerate, which delays fatigue. The best way: Slowly sip a flavored ice slushie starting 30 minutes before you exercise. Athletes who did this before running on a treadmill in hot room ran an average of 10 minutes longer than those who drank cold, flavored water, according to a 2010 study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Because the runners’ bodies had to convert the slushies from ice to water, they may have transferred more heat to the drink rather than store it internally where it would have raised their core temperatures, say researchers.

 

Click here to read the rest of the 10 Summer Workout Mistakes That Stall Results slideshow.

Kasia Biel

Avoid Crab Sushi

Surimi is the fake crab or other seafood that you find most commonly in California rolls at sushi restaurants. It’s the contemporary and industrialized version of a traditional preservation method used by the Japanese for some 900 years and is among the most processed foods I know. Marion Nestle describes the modern-day version of this technique in What to Eat: “They wash the flesh of the fish repeatedly until it loses all odor and color; drain it; add cornstarch, other binders, sugar, flavors, and maybe even real fish; shape it into blocks; form it into a paste that they can shape and paint to look like whatever they want it to be; and freeze it. That is surimi.” Wow. There’s nothing naked about that. Avoid it.

 

Click here to read the rest of the Clean Eating: How to Pick Natural Foods slideshow.

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Follow the 90/10 Rule

When you’re working on getting healthy, it’s easy to see things as black or white. No more chips, ever again. Exercise six days a week, forever. And so on. This mentality becomes draining very quickly and makes it harder for you to maintain a positive outlook on achieving your goal. If you aim to eat healthy and to exercise most days of the week, then don’t feel badly if you allow yourself to splurge on a treat or to relax in a nonphysical way during the other days. For instance, if you strive to eat lean protein, plenty of fresh produce, lean dairy, and whole grains 90 percent of the time, not eating as well the other 10 percent isn’t going to derail your efforts.

 

Click here to read the rest of the 12 Quick Fixes for Lasting Weight Loss slideshow.

iStock

Try Sun-Bella Mushrooms

Mushrooms are the only plant-based food that naturally contains vitamin D. But what is now sending their "sunshine vitamin" quotient into the stratosphere is a new and unique kind of processing: Once harvested, Sun-Bella mushrooms are exposed to ultraviolet light. The net result is that a three-ounce serving of this new but widely available brand supplies 100 percent of your daily value of D. Why does this matter? Insufficient levels of D have been linked with obesity and abdominal fat, notes Dave Grotto, RD, author of 101 Optimal Life Foods.

 

Click here to read the rest of the 11 Foods (and One Trick) to Fight Belly Fat slideshow.

Photo by: iStockphoto

Do More Cardio, Less Weights

New to exercise or coming off a long hiatus? Instead of doing multiple sets of the same strength training move, do cardio work between single sets, suggests Andrea Metcalf, author of Naked Fitness. “Multiple sets for those just starting out do not reap significant strength gains compared to single sets.”

 

Click here to read the rest of the Celebrity Trainers' Favorite Fitness Tips and Toys slideshow.

Tom Schmucker

Downsize Your Dishes

Replace large dinner plates with smaller salad plates and you cut one-third of the calories in each meal, according to Milton Stokes, RD.

 

Click here to read the rest of the 42 Belly Busters That Really Work slideshow.

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Skip Static Stretching

A crop of new research studies finds that not only does static stretching not prevent injuries when done before exercise, but it may actually hinder your performance. "There is a neuromuscular inhibitory response to static stretching," says Malachy McHugh PhD, director of Research Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma, which makes stretched muscles less reponsive for about 30 minutes afterward. What's better? A five to 10-minute dynamic warmup that consists of continuous movements—such as walking lunges, straight-leg marches and arm windmills—will increase body temperature, heart rate and blood flow and gradually prepare muscles for action. When golfers did this type of warmup, they had greater swing speeds and their balls flew faster, and soccer players sprinted 20 meters faster, according to studies published in The International Journal of Sports Medicine and the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, respectively.

 

Click here to read the rest of the 17 Exercise Rules to Break slideshow.

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Reclassify Cravings

"I learned that the things I used to call cravings are just thoughts," says Susan Avery, More.com's Digital Director. "I no longer act on such thoughts as, 'It’s only a little taste,' or 'I’ve been so good I can cheat,' or 'I just have to have it.' Once I learned that behavioral technique, the thoughts almost became entertaining. Like a little child saying, 'I want it!' Sorry, but I want thinness more."

 

Click here to read the rest of the Weight Loss Tips and Tricks That Worked for Us slideshow.

Lise Gagne

Outsmart Painful Sex

Got vaginal dryness? Do this: Lube up during sex. "There are so many natural-feeling products on the market now," says Cheryl B. Iglesia, MD, of the Washington Hospital Center, in Washington, D.C. "Just avoid any brand that contains drying alcohol." If itching and burning occur at other times of the day, use a vaginal moisturizer. Newer products like KY Liquibeads or Replens Long Lasting need to be applied only once every few days. Or this: Your doctor may prescribe vaginal estrogen rings, creams, or tablets. "These deliver much lower doses of estrogen than systemic hormone therapy and go right to the source of your problem, so they’re much safer," Iglesia says. Still, this is only for those near menopause who aren’t producing much estrogen themselves.

 

Click here to read the rest of the How to Beat the Top Perimenopause Symptoms slideshow.

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Beware of Yogurt With Fruit on The Bottom

Yogurt and fruit are two very healthy foods, but the corn syrup that’s used to sweeten these products is not, says Sarah Krieger, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Instead, mix fresh fruit into plain non-fat yogurt or a light brand, which has approximately 90 percent less sugar than regular yogurt.

 

Click here to read the rest of the "Healthy" Foods That Make You Fat slideshow.

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Make Like-Minded Friends

Find a community of like-minded people who have similar goals so you can motivate and challenge each other in positive ways. Can’t find one? Start your own with women you know.

 

Click here to read the rest of the Jumpstart Your Best Body slideshow.

Sean Locke

Know What "Reduced Fat" Really Means

The Facts: If a product is labeled reduced fat, that only means that it has 25 percent less fat than the original version-not that it contains a healthy amount of fat. The other problem with this is that these kinds of products tend to have more sugar, which could be worse for you than the saturated fats taken out, says Elisa Zied, RD, registered dietitian and author of Nutrition At Your Fingertips.

 

Shop Smart: When choosing between a regular product and its reduced-fat counterpart, compare the fat, calories, sugar and ingredient lists. If a product contains less saturated or trans fat (but still a high amount), and added sweeteners, you may be better off with the original version. This tends to be the case most often with salad dressing, peanut butter, yogurt, crackers and packaged snack foods. For instance, "the fat in peanut butter is an unsaturated fat, a fat that is good for your heart in moderation," says Milton Stokes, MPH, RD, CDN, owner of One Source Nutrition.

 

Click here to read the rest of the 11 Food Labels That Sound Healthier Than They Are slideshow.

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HIIT it

“I am a big fan of High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT,” says MB Regan, a New York City-based SoulCycle instructor. This training method alternates low- to moderate-intensity intervals with heart-thumping, lung-screaming high-intensity intervals. “HIIT is considered to be much more effective than normal cardio because the intensity is higher and you are able to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat,” says Regan.

 

HIIT can be applied to your cardio or strength training. Here are three routines to try. Perform as many repetitions as you can in 30 seconds. And remember, says Regan, form is key.

 

Upper body HIIT

1. Push-ups for 30 seconds

2. Bent over rows using 10 or 12-pound dumbbells for 30 seconds

3. Tricep kickbacks using (10-12lbs) for 30 seconds

4. Bicep curls (10-12lbs) for 30 seconds

5. Rest/Recover. Repeat two more times

 

Lower body HIIT

1. Squats for 30 seconds

2. Standing lunges, right foot forward for 30 seconds

3. Standing lunges, left foot forward for 30 seconds

4. Plies with shoulder press (5-10lbs) for 30 seconds

5. Rest/Recover. Repeat two more times

 

Cardio

1.Walk briskly or jog lightly for 30 seconds.

2. Sprint for 30 Seconds Sprint.
3. Repeat nine times, alternating walking/jogging and sprinting for a total of 10 minutes.  

 

Click here to read the rest of the Star Trainers' Top Workout Tips slideshow.

 

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First Published December 15, 2011

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