6 unforeseen rules to follow for superior health

Discover the ultimate formulas that guarantee a fitter, improved and restored you in no time

Umnia Shahid January 17, 2016

Devouring paalak ki sabzi, coupled with your recent metamorphosis into a gym fanatic aren’t the only elements that shape a healthier you.  Have you wondered how often you down coffee, or get up from your desk? Do you even know how many hours a week you’re busting your mind and body at work? As compiled from Shape, Men’s Health and Reader’s Digest magazine, discover the ultimate formulas that guarantee a fitter, improved and restored you in no time.

1. Slow down meals: have no more than five forkfuls
per minute

Do you find yourself gorging a massive double-pattie burger for lunch in less than five minutes? Not cool. Wolfing down your food faster than five morsels per minute could mean your brain doesn’t notice signals of fullness and in turn, you actually end up overindulging and that, later gives rise to the dreaded and un-ignorable sugar cravings. British scientists found that eating more slowly results in a much lower calorie intake per sitting. According to Iowa State University research, normal-weight people take 27% more time to chew their food than overweight individuals.

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2. Wash your kitchen towels: once a week

Forgetting to wash these sticky rags and deciding to reuse them for another couple of days could raise your risk of food-borne illnesses. According to new Kansas State University research, dish towels contribute to cross-contamination or the dispersal of germs, in many other areas of the kitchen, including appliance handles and countertops. “Kitchen towels are used for so many different things, like cleaning up spills, wiping down the counter, and drying hands, that it allows germs to quickly spread from food to surface to hands and back again,” says study author Jeannie Sneed. Use a different set of towels for hands and for dishes and wash them once a week. Wipe up spills with paper towels to help avoid cross-contamination.

3. Limit office hours: stick to 40 hours a week max

Latest research that analysed data on more than 600,000 people found what any workaholic might already know about their stressful schedules — people who log more than 55 hours a week have a 33% greater risk of stroke and a 13%  higher risk of coronary heart disease as compared to people who work 35 to 40 hours a week. “Long working hours are not a negligible occurrence,” said Urban Janlert, a professor of public health at Umea University in Sweden, who added that stress and overwork contribute to a shorter lifespan. No matter how tough, strong and resilient you think you are, you’re not a machine. Not only can you not work round the clock; you also can’t put in a nonstop work routine of 12- and 14-hour-days six days a week. The study was published in UK medical journal, Lancet.

4. Drink coffee: Three to five cups a day

Caffeine devotees, celebrate! According to Health magazine, recent research suggests that consuming three to five cups of coffee a day could help lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. According to a Japanese study of more than 76,000 participants, men consuming one to two cups of coffee daily reduced their risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease by as much as 38%. Not just that, researchers discovered that participants who drank this amount of coffee daily had about a 65% decreased chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia later on in life. Looks like you might want to start taking your coffee breaks seriously!

5. Stand up: for eight minutes after you’ve been sitting for 20

Sitting constantly for extended periods of time is detrimental to your health. This formula of standing up every 20 to 30 minutes you’ve been seated can significantly boost your health. “This is the ideal healthy balance per 30 minutes to avoid the dramatic health effects of too much sitting,” explains Cornell ergonomics professor Alan Hedge, as per a recent report in the Wall Street Journal. He says, basking in your chair or on the couch for more than 20 minutes at a time tends to cause people to lean, which can lead to back problems and other musculoskeletal issues.

6. Eat lunch: Twice a day

I know this sounds contradictory to everything you’ve ever heard before but this little trick can seriously boost your health. Make it a habit to pack a second light lunch, like a small portion of daal chawal or cheese and fruit, for work and eat it before you head home for dinner. This daily practice can, in fact, help you eat fewer calories at dinner, according to Spanish researchers. They found that people who had “merienda” or a small meal between lunch and dinner, were 36% less likely to have abdominal obesity than those who didn’t.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2016.

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