Lifestyle Changes for the New Year

From January 2010:

It’s no secret that Americans are spending more on healthcare than any other country, yet we continue to become sicker. Here are some simple, inexpensive and doable ideas for spending 2010 in better health:

1. Experience the benefits of safe sex

Sex has many apparent health benefits. Studies suggest sex can boost your immune system and reduce stress.

2. Keep your teeth clean

Diabetes, low birth weight babies and heart disease have all been linked to gum and bone disease in your mouth. Even heart attacks have been linked to bad dental hygiene.

3. Use the sun

A little sunshine is good for your mood and allows your body to produce necessary vitamin D, which is lacking in some 70 percent of American kids these days.

4. Drink less

After years of hearing that moderate drinking is good for your health, a study in November, 2009 found that having a drink or two each day might be something that healthy people do, rather than the drinks being the cause of their good health. And if you’re having more than a couple drinks a day, then you’re at higher risk for liver damage and diabetes.

5. Wash your hands

Hand washing remains the best prevention against the flu and many other diseases.

6. Get some rest

Serious lack of sleep — less than six or seven hours a night — has been associated with increased risks of high blood pressure, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and cancer. Lack of sleep can also contribute to auto accidents and on-the-job injuries.

7. Stop smoking

About half of all smokers die from smoking, and of these, about half die around age 50 or sooner.

8. Don’t stress

Stress kills. It causes deterioration in everything from your gums to yourheart and can make you more susceptible to a range of ills, from colds to cancer.

9. Exercise

Over and over, studies find a host of exercise benefits, not just for your body: It can raise kids’ academic performance and stimulate adult brains. Exercise makes bones stronger and alleviates many types of chronic pain. Regular exercise has even been associated with a lower risk of cancer.

10. Eat better

Choose real food instead of sugar laced with traces of real food. Cook at home rather than eating fast food, and use spices, rather than gobs and gobs of oil or sugar, to spice up your meals.

Sources: Live Science, December 30, 2009

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