Don't Get Ill, Get Smart With These Clever Tips


1st Jan 2015 Wellbeing

Don't Get Ill, Get Smart With These Clever Tips

Wouldn't it be great if there was one simple thing you could do to significantly improve your chances of dodging a common health problem?

Well, in many cases, there is. There’s a whole host of ways to help avoid more than 90 common health conditions. In this article, we reveal how to boost your chances of beating...

...High Cholesterol

Have porridge for breakfast. Oats contain more soluble fibre than any other grain, and just two servings of porridge a day can lower your cholesterol by up to three per cent. Increase the benefit by adding grated apple—also rich in soluble fibre. 



Clean your nose out daily. Just as a rain shower removes pollen from the air, a saline rinse washes allergens from your nasal passages. In a University of Michigan study of 127 adults with stuffed-up noses, 60 per cent of those who rinsed their nasal passages thoroughly experienced eased congestion, sneezing and itching—compared with 40 per cent of those who just sprayed with an antihistamine.



Give ginger a go. Research shows that this warming spice contains potent compounds that are similar to those in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory migraine drugs. 
Although this hasn’t been rigorously tested, it may also be that ginger relieves the nausea that often comes with this kind of severe headache. 



Play a wind instrument. When 25 snorers at a Swiss sleep clinic started playing the didgeridoo, snoring was reduced by about 22 per cent, due to the training of 
the upper airways by the breathing technique required. If you don’t have access to a didgeridoo, try playing a clarinet, flute or tuba instead.



Say yes to soya. People with gout may benefit from limiting animal proteins in their diet and substituting them for foods derived from soya beans. Several studies show that soya reduces uric acid, the build up of which causes the condition. Try to have soya products, such as tofu or soya milk, at least twice a week.



Turn over in bed. In one study, people who slept on their left side had half as much reflux as right-side sleepers. The location of your stomach and oesophagus means that lying on your right puts increased pressure on the lower oesophageal sphincter. 


...Ear infections in small children

Spit out that dummy. Though it can be very useful at times, letting your child suck on a pacifier can increase their chance of an infection travelling from the mouth into the Eustachian tube, the passage connecting the middle ear with the back of the throat.



Walk two miles a day. At a brisk pace, this should take you no more than half an hour, but it will cut your risk of the condition by 50 per cent, according to a Canadian study of some 10,000 people. Exercise probably has numerous benefits, including increased blood flow to the brain and increased production of a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)—which encourages nerve cells in the brain to multiply and create more connections with each other.



Take brewer’s yeast. The supplement is an excellent source of biotin (also called inositol or vitamin B7), which plays an important role in how cells communicate with one another, and helps reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. Try sprinkling a tablespoon of yeast over cereal or yogurt.


...hearing loss

Snack on almonds. They’re packed with magnesium, which studies have found can help prevent ear damage and help cells make better use of the energy you need to repair it. Oat bran, pumpkin seeds, barley and spinach are good sources.



Change your position. Modern toilets work against you when it comes to haemorrhoids, since they require you to sit instead of squat. Squatting makes bowel movements easier and it prevents excessive straining. Try propping up your feet on a small footstool and pulling your knees up towards your chest.


...Knee Pain

Measure your legs. Or, better still, ask your GP to do it. It’s surprisingly common to have limbs of unequal length and this can contribute to knee and hip pain, say researchers from Chapel Hill School of Medicine, North Carolina. Having one leg as little as 8mm shorter than the other can increase the risk of knee pain by 50 per cent. Combat this with shoe inserts, which your doctor can supply.



Make rice not waffles. Starchy side dishes such as potatoes, noodles made from wheat flour (including most pasta) and other grains produce gas when they’re digested in your large intestine. Rice won’t—it’s just about the only starch that’s completely absorbed in the small intestine, making it a more comfortable choice if you’re bothered by excessive wind.



Learn the ancient art of t’ai chi. In one US study of 112 healthy adults aged 59 to 82, this gentle, flowing exercise dramatically boosted their resistance to shingles. Volunteers who practised three times a week for four months developed levels of antibodies to the shingles virus comparable to those found in 30- to 40-year-olds who’d been vaccinated against it. 


...Colorectal cancer

Season with garlic. Some six cloves a week, whether raw or cooked, can help reduce your risk of the disease by as much as 31 per cent. The benefit probably comes from allicin compounds in garlic, which prevent colorectal tumours from forming, possibly by destroying abnormal cells.


...skin cancer

Cook with turmeric. This yellow spice, prominent in curry powder, contains the chemical curcumin, considered a strong cancer-fighting agent. Laboratory studies suggest that it may offer particular protection against melanoma.


...erectile dysfunction

Eat like the ancients. The traditional Greek and Italian diet is rich in healthy monosaturated fats from foods such as olive oil. It’s also packed with fruit, vegetables, nuts, pulses, wholegrains and fish, and is relatively low in red meat. When Italian researchers compared 100 men with erectile dysfunction to 100 without it, they found that those whose diets closely matched a Mediterranean menu were significantly less likely to be impotent. The reason, researchers speculate, is probably the anti-inflammatory effect of the diet. Inflammation contributes to plaque build-up and narrowing blood vessels, which means less blood gets through to the penis, making an erection less likely.



Floss your teeth daily. Women who are trying to get pregnant should make sure they look after their dental hygiene. One study found that women who flossed regularly got pregnant 30 per cent quicker than those who didn’t. This may be because bacteria from gum disease gets into the bloodstream and causes inflammation in other parts of the body. If the lining of the womb gets inflamed, it might affect the implantation of the embryo. 

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