Most of us have experienced some kind of natural health tips or recipes passed down from family, friends, and the internet that seemed promising at first but turned out to be ineffective or even harmful. Here are seven natural health tips that have scientific evidence behind them, so you can feel confident using them in your daily life.
Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
If you want to start eating more natural health tips, it might seem obvious that switching from artificial sweeteners like sucralose or aspartame is a good idea. However, recent studies have shown that your body processes these fake sugars differently than real sugar (aka glucose), resulting in lower absorption of glucose into your bloodstream after meals.
Artificial sweeteners slow down digestion—in some cases up to 25 percent slower! In fact, researchers at Purdue University found that rats who consumed artificial sweeteners gained more weight over time than those who didn’t. Scientists aren’t sure why yet but there is evidence to suggest it could be due to gut bacteria.
What Is An Antioxidant?
Antioxidants are nutrients that help your body fight off diseases like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s by slowing down or stopping oxidation. Oxidation is what happens when you cut an apple—the apple begins to oxidize as soon as it’s exposed to oxygen in your air. Antioxidants work by slowing down or completely stopping that oxidation process, which is why they can be helpful in preventing certain diseases (at least according to some studies). One of their most useful qualities is their ability to scavenge free radicals—these molecules occur naturally in your body, but they also come from outside sources like pollution or cigarette smoke. Because these free radicals have unpaired electrons (aka an imbalance of charge), they look for a nearby electron buddy.
Eat Enough Omega 3 Fatty Acids
A lot of Americans are deficient in Omega 3s, which could be responsible for a number of their health problems. A lot of research has linked low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids to an increased risk for diabetes, arthritis, depression, and asthma. The best way to get more O3s is by eating foods that are rich in them (salmon!) or taking a supplement that contains healthy levels of these nutrients.
While you should always consult your doctor before starting any diet or supplementation regimen, including these natural health tips in your daily routine can increase your chances of staying healthy now and in the future.
Go Organic As Much As Possible
Eating organic is good for you, better for your health, and better for the environment. It’s not just expensive marketing hype—according to a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, people who eat mostly organic food have significantly lower concentrations of pesticides than those who don’t.
When it comes to pesticide exposure, smaller amounts can still be problematic (scientists are discovering connections between pesticides and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism). If you find yourself wondering whether to buy organic or conventional produce at your local grocery store, give these tips a try
Consider Quitting Alcohol
Quitting alcohol, even for a short period of time, can have major health benefits. In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that women who quit drinking alcohol for six months reduced their risk of breast cancer by more than 50 percent compared to those who continued to drink.
Quitting smoking has been linked to longer life expectancy (in men), but drinking alcohol has not. This suggests that there’s an upstream effect – i.e., certain habits affect mortality independently of one another. Drinking moderate amounts is still associated with longer lifespans; however, quitting is likely an important part of staying healthy overall. So consider it as you form your natural health tips!
Moderate Sugar Intake
Consuming too much sugar has been linked to a long list of health problems, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, tooth decay and cancer. And when it comes to your diet, choosing sugary treats instead of healthy options is definitely a bad idea. So how much sugar should you be eating? Experts recommend that women consume no more than six teaspoons (about 25 grams) per day; men should eat no more than nine teaspoons (about 37 grams).
If you eat out at restaurants regularly or tend to keep sweets on hand for emergencies, track your intake over a few days (or weeks) with our nutrient tracker app. We’ll calculate just how much sugar you’re actually taking in—and what that might mean for your health.
Take Supplements Correctly
Taking supplements is essential for healthy living, but there are some important steps to keep in mind. Supplements can’t undo a poor diet or lifestyle; they’re only effective if taken correctly. Take your supplements at night, wash them down with water or juice (not soda), don’t mix them with any other medications without checking with your doctor, and always make sure that you’re making a quality product.
If a certain supplement doesn’t work well for you after three months of regular use, don’t continue to take it—it might not be right for you. The only way to ensure that your supplements are helping is by keeping track of how you feel while taking them.
Eat fatty fish
Make sure you’re eating fatty fish (or taking omega-3 supplements) every day. Fatty fish contain long-chain omega-3s, which are associated with lower rates of depression. Some types of fatty fish include salmon, tuna, trout, anchovies, mackerel, and sardines.
There’s no better way to get your health back on track than by exercising. Exercise will improve your sleep, reduce stress levels, protect against disease, boost energy levels, and help keep weight down.
Use plenty of herbs and spices
Not only are herbs and spices a great source of antioxidants, but they can also make your food taste better. If you’re cooking with herbs, use about three times as much as you would salt; for spices, it’s more like two times. Not a big fan of spicy food? Some herbs that add flavour without heat include basil, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, mint and sage. Herbs have been used medicinally for centuries too—think echinacea tea or an ointment of garlic cloves applied to an open wound.
Nurture your social relationships
At times, it may feel as though our social relationships are inescapably entangled with our own sense of happiness. But that isn’t exactly true—while we can derive tremendous benefits from our friendships, studies have shown that maintaining these relationships can sometimes be more trouble than they’re worth. In one study, researchers found that having a wide circle of friends on Facebook is negatively correlated with subjective well-being.
This doesn’t mean you should delete your account; it does suggest that you may need to reassess what kind of value your social network really adds to your life. If you’re looking for scientifically-backed ways to improve your health and wellbeing, why not try some evidence-based approaches?
Everyone has an opinion on health and nutrition, but not everyone understands how to separate a good tip from one that’s based on rumor or hearsay. There are five types of bad nutritional tips you may have heard (or given), each with a healthy alternative.