24 hours to a healthier you

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

7:00 p.m. Fight the fat
If you’re thinking about slicing into a juicy steak for dinner tonight, load up on brightly coloured veggies, too. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition noted that noshing on antioxidant-rich vegetables such as carrots and peppers with a high-fat meal can partially thwart the short-term damage caused by fatty foods. Ultimately, this can help prevent heart conditions such as hardening of the arteries. Eat the real thing, though: Steele says many antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables are not available in supplements.

7:30 p.m. Pour your heart out
Savour a glass of French, Italian, Spanish, Californian or South African red wine with your meal. Recent German research indicates that wines from sun-splashed regions are better for your ticker. Grapes produced in warm countries are thick with phenolic acids and flavonoids, plant compounds that boost cardiovascular health. But try not to overindulge: drinking a lot of alcohol ups your risk of stroke, while light or moderate consumption protects against it. One drink a day is safest, and you shouldn’t exceed two, says Dr. Douglas Wilson, a professor emeritus of family medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton. Women shouldn’t consume more than nine drinks weekly.

9:00 p.m. Catch 40 blinks
If you’ve been eyeballing your computer monitor most of the day, give your peepers a break. Staring at screens causes you to blink less often, depleting tear levels and straining your eyes. Thirty-two per cent of us experience eye-strain symptoms such as burning, itchy red eyes, according to a study from Pfizer Consumer Healthcare and Decima Research. Once the eyes’ surfaces are dehydrated, they can remain damaged for the rest of the day, says Dr. Nish Rajani, a Toronto-based optometrist. Drinking lots of water, consuming flaxseed oil and using artificial tears can help. We have a 20/20 rule, adds Dr. Rajani. Every 20 minutes in front of your computer or TV, look 20 feet away and concentrate on blinking for 20 seconds.

10:30 p.m. Make a pit stop
Before you turn off your bedside lamp and snooze, make a quick trip to empty your bladder. In a recent study, Swedish researchers found that midnight bathroom runs disrupted sleep patterns and affected participants’ productivity the next day. Dodge these visits by avoiding liquids two to three hours before bed, especially those containing caffeine and alcohol, suggests Dr. Sidney Radomski, a urologist with Toronto Western Hospital. Then settle in for a blissfully uninterrupted sleep.


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