Tiny tweaks... big changes

The small­est changes to your usual rou­tine can have a big im­pact on your health, so get swap­ping, says MICHELE O’CON­NOR

Gloucestershire Echo - - HEALTH & LIFESTYLE -

SWAP YOUR DIN­NER PLATE FOR A SMALLER ONE

PEO­PLE eat 22% less when they re­place 12in din­ner plates – now the av­er­age size used in the UK – with 10in plates, which were most com­monly used a decade ago. Psy­cho­log­i­cally, it’s bet­ter to have a full smaller plate than a half-empty large one.

SWAP BAGS FOR LIFE FOR SEP­A­RATE FOOD BAGS

WE MAY be sav­ing the planet by reusing plas­tic bags, but we could be risk­ing our health, warns hy­giene ex­pert Dr Lisa Ack­er­ley. A re­cent US study found large num­bers of harm­ful and even life-threat­en­ing bac­te­ria in re­us­able bags. “When food shop­ping put your poul­try, meat and root veg­eta­bles in one bag, keep­ing po­ten­tially harm­ful bac­te­ria away from ready-to-eat foods,” she ad­vises.

SWAP TOOTH­PASTE FOR DRY BRUSH­ING – FOR THE FIRST MINUTE, AT LEAST

THIS is more ef­fec­tive for re­mov­ing plaque, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished by the Amer­i­can Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion, re­sult­ing in a 67% re­duc­tion in plaque build-up over six months. It seems we brush bet­ter – and for longer – with­out the foam and taste of tooth­paste. Add tooth­paste af­ter the ini­tial 60 sec­onds.

SWAP CHECK­ING TEXTS FOR PLAY­ING A GAME

IF YOU must look at your smart­phone con­stantly, brain­train­ing games ac­tively en­gage your brain where so­cial me­dia doesn’t. This boosts mem­ory and po­ten­tially re­duces your risk of de­men­tia, ac­cord­ing to a study by Cam­bridge Univer­sity. Try free apps such as Lu­mi­nos­ity, Peak and El­e­vate.

SWAP WHITE POTA­TOES FOR SWEET

SWEET pota­toes are lower in calo­ries, have far more fi­bre and are packed with im­mune-boost­ing vi­ta­min E. Try a mash of sweet potato and parsnip – with but­ter, ground all-spice and ched­dar cheese on top.

SWAP YOUR SHOUL­DER BAG FOR A MES­SEN­GER (CROSS-BODY) BAG

CAR­RY­ING a heavy load on one side of your body causes an im­bal­ance in the mus­cu­lar struc­ture, trig­ger­ing neck, shoul­der and back pain. Dis­trib­ute the weight across the body with a di­ag­o­nal shoul­der bag (or get into the habit of switch­ing shoul­ders).

SWAP YOUR STATIC BIKE LIGHTS TO FLASH­ING LIGHTS

US­ING a flash­ing rear light makes you 2.4 times more vis­i­ble and, with eight out of 10 cy­cling ac­ci­dents oc­cur­ring in day­light, keep them switched on day and night.

SWAP LOW FOR HIGH­TEM­PER­A­TURE WASH­ING

“CRANK up the tem­per­a­ture to at least 60C for tow­els and bed linen to kill bac­te­ria, viruses and fungi,” ad­vises Dr Ack­er­ley. “For pants and socks that can’t stand the heat, add a laundry sani­tis­ing ad­di­tive, such as Det­tol An­tibac­te­rial Laundry Cleanser (£4.50) to a lower tem­per­a­ture wash.”

SWAP YOUR ‘MAINS’ FOR ‘SIDES’

WE TEND to view veg­eta­bles and pulses as an ac­com­pa­ni­ment to meat. In­stead we should make them the main event, say ex­perts. Sub­sti­tute mince for len­tils, chicken for tofu, or meat­balls for falafel and make veg­eta­bles the star at­trac­tion on your plate. Try roasted sweet potato, aubergine, cour­gette, mush­rooms, pep­per and onion with pesto and crum­bled feta.

SWAP WALK­ING IN SI­LENCE FOR WALK­ING TO MU­SIC

HEALTHY adults who walk slowly are twice as likely to die from heart dis­ease as those who walk at a more brisk pace, a re­cent study found. Down­load­ing an up­beat playlist will en­cour­age a faster pace be­cause walk­ing to a song of 100 beats per minute has been shown to dra­mat­i­cally in­crease mo­ti­va­tion, per­for­mance and also serves as a good dis­trac­tion.

SWAP THE FLOOR FOR THE HOOK IN TOI­LETS

A STUDY by Ini­tial Wash­room Hy­giene found that 20% of hand­bags swabbed had more germs than the av­er­age toi­let flush han­dle. Leather hand­bags were the most at risk be­cause the spongy ma­te­rial is a per­fect breed­ing ground. Avoid putting your bag on the ground in pub­lic loos – use the hook on the back of the door. And get into the habit of us­ing anti-bac­te­rial wipes to clean your bag.

SWAP FRUIT JUICE FOR FRUIT

FRUIT juices are full of su­gar and are not as sat­is­fy­ing as eat­ing whole fruit. Fresh fruit is also full of fi­bre and much more fill­ing.

SWAP BRUSH­ING YOUR TEETH AF­TER BREAK­FAST FOR BRUSH­ING BE­FORE

DENTISTS warn that the acid in food and drink causes tooth enamel to soften. As a re­sult, brush­ing teeth straight af­ter meals sim­ply wears away the weak­ened enamel. Be­cause it takes an hour for the mouth ph to re­bal­ance af­ter eat­ing, it’s bet­ter to brush teeth be­fore break­fast and freshen up with mouth­wash.

SWAP MILK CHO­CO­LATE FOR DARK

“THE higher the per­cent­age of co­coa the bet­ter,” says health coach Olly Leicester. “For in­stance, 85% dark cho­co­late has about 10% su­gar con­tent, com­pared to 50% or higher that goes into milk cho­co­late.”

Nu­tri­ents such as cop­per, phos­pho­rous, mag­ne­sium, iron and man­ganese are also more plen­ti­ful in dark cho­co­late.

SWAP WINE FOR SPARKLING WA­TER IN A WINE GLASS

AILSA FRANK, hyp­nother­a­pist and au­thor of Cut the C**p and Feel Amaz­ing, says: “The wine glass will give you the feel­ing of drink­ing an ‘im­por­tant’ drink but the wa­ter is healthy and calo­rie free. Jazz it up with a sprig of fresh mint or rose­mary and a slice of lime or pink grape­fruit. This will help you to take back con­trol of your drink­ing.”

SWAP THE FIRST AISLE FOR THE LAST DUR­ING A SU­PER­MAR­KET SHOP

“BY WALK­ING the op­po­site way around you will have to make con­scious de­ci­sions about what you buy rather than go­ing into au­topi­lot putting the same items in your trol­ley,” says Ailsa. “This will al­low you to pur­chase health­ier food op­tions.”

SWAP SIT­TING FOR STAND­ING

“In­stead of tak­ing phone calls at your desk, get up and walk around,” sug­gests Aroosha Nekonam, per­sonal trainer at body ex­perts Ul­ti­mate Per­for­mance. “It may sound triv­ial but daily ac­tiv­ity and move­ment are vi­tal to good health.”

SWAP ‘GREEK-STYLE’ YOGURTS FOR AU­THEN­TIC GREEK YO­GURT

It’s thicker and has less nat­u­ral su­gar, twice as much pro­tein and half the car­bo­hy­drates and sodium of reg­u­lar yo­gurt. Greek-style yogurts, how­ever, may con­tain cream, gela­tine, gum blends, sta­bilis­ers, preser­va­tives and added milk solids to thicken up the yo­gurt and quicken the strain­ing process.

SWAP IBUPRO­FEN FOR A CHI­NESE HERB

SIGES­BECKIA ori­en­talis isn’t the catchi­est name but has gained a tra­di­tional herbal reg­is­tra­tion from the UK’S Medicines & Health­care prod­ucts Reg­u­la­tory Agency for the re­lief of back­ache, mi­nor sports in­juries, rheumatic or mus­cu­lar pains, as well as gen­eral aches and pains in mus­cles and joints. All this and with­out the gas­tric side ef­fects of con­ven­tional NSAID drugs such as ibupro­fen. Try Phynova (£19.99 for 60 tablets, Hol­land &

Bar­rett).

SWAP SPREADS FOR BUT­TER

BUT­TER is a nu­tri­tional pow­er­house of vi­ta­mins A, D, and K. It’s also rich in con­ju­gated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to help lower body fat per­cent­age.

SWAP SQUAT­TING OVER PUB­LIC LOO SEATS TO SIT­TING DOWN

HOV­ER­ING causes you to “push” urine out, in­creas­ing the risk of pelvic pro­lapse. Ad­di­tion­ally, the blad­der doesn’t empty prop­erly, in­creas­ing the risk of in­fec­tion, urol­o­gists warn. (Be­sides, stud­ies show the av­er­age loo seat is cleaner than a key­board…)

SWAP LIGHT­ING A PARAF­FIN WAX CAN­DLE FOR A SOY WAX ONE

THE new Gov­ern­ment Clean Air Strat­egy iden­ti­fied scented can­dles as an en­vi­ron­men­tal hazard. Swap paraf­fin can­dles for nat­u­ral wax ver­sions made of beeswax or soy, with a short wick made of cot­ton.

SWAP YOUR DISH­CLOTH FOR A PA­PER TOWEL AND AN­TIBAC­TE­RIAL SPRAY...

...WHEN clean­ing up af­ter han­dling raw chicken, meat or veg­eta­bles, sug­gests Dr Ack­er­ley. “That way you don’t col­lect bac­te­ria such as sal­monella and campy­lobac­ter on your cloth and spread them around the kitchen.”

SWAP GLOVES FOR MIT­TENS WHEN IT’S VERY COLD

IN VERY low tem­per­a­tures, the body switches off the blood flow – and there­fore heat – to ex­trem­i­ties such as the fin­gers, toes and nose to pro­tect the vi­tal or­gans. And mit­tens de­crease the sur­face area from which heat can es­cape

– four in­stead of 10 dig­its.

SWAP YOUR FIN­GERS FOR THE BACK OF YOUR HAND

IT’S A com­mon way to pick up cold and flu viruses, warns Dr Ack­er­ley. So, if you have an urge to rub your eyes, your knuck­les are bound to be less dirty than your fin­gers. (Bet­ter still, use a clean tis­sue!).

SWAP SHOP-BOUGHT SALAD DRESS­INGS FOR HOME­MADE ONES

MOST are packed with preser­va­tives, ad­di­tives and su­gar so sim­ply driz­zle salad with ex­tra vir­gin olive oil and a splash of bal­samic vine­gar and mus­tard for added flavour.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.