Health

24 hours to a healthier you

From burning calories to getting great shut-eye, find quick ways to boost your well-being—anytime

10:30 a.m. Be a loser
Skip the 425 empty calories in a chocolate-chip muffin and eat some bone-building low-fat yogurt instead. Watching your weight may boost your lifespan, even if you don’t drop pounds. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga., studied 6,400 overweight people for nine years and discovered that people who attempted to lose weight but didn’t still enjoyed a 24 per cent lower mortality rate than those who didn’t try at all. Joining a structured weight-loss group can help. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, people who dieted with commercial programs lost almost 13 more pounds than those who tried on their own.

12:00 p.m. Learn while you lunch
Has your head been throbbing for days? Can’t grab a wink of sleep at night? Surf the Web during your lunch hour to prepare for an upcoming doctor’s visit. Researching health conditions on credible Web sites such as www.canadian-health-network.ca can empower you to ask better questions, says Dr. Gunther Eysenbach, a University of Toronto researcher. A typical consultation with a family doctor lasts less than 10 minutes, says Dr. Eysenbach. Make sure you know what to ask, and ask the most important questions first.

12:15 p.m. Clean your plate
Be sure to eat those bread crusts on that turkey sandwich. A German study reports that crusts contain more antioxidants than any other part of baked bread. Consistently choosing bread with whole—not refined or enriched—wheat flour listed as the first ingredient and less than two grams of fat per slice can help thwart diseases such as type 2 diabetes and colon cancer. Keep in mind that bread with nutritious seeds or nuts may have more than two grams of fat per slice, so watch what you put on yours.

3:00 p.m. Down citrus
If you’re craving something sweet mid-afternoon, reach for an orange or a grapefruit. These tangy citrus fruits not only boost energy but also contain zinc and the antioxidant betacryptoxanthin, which may help ward off rheumatoid arthritis, according to researchers conducting the Iowa Women’s Health Study. About 25 per cent of the population may not be getting enough zinc in their diets, says Steele. Women need about eight milligrams per day. Don’t exceed more than 40 milligrams of zinc a day.

6:00 p.m. Strengthen in numbers
Working out together might be the key to keeping you motivated, so get a loved one to join you for exercise. Research from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City noted that pairs of moms and daughters who tried community- or home-based exercise programs kept up with them when working out together. Both participants increased their aerobic endurance, muscular strength and flexibility. Try jogging for 15 to 20 minutes outside or walking up and down stairs three to five times. Stop occasionally to do strength-training exercises such as squats or wall pushups.