Feeling happy and healthy during the summer and beyond is an absolute must. Luckily, these easy lifestyle tweaks for better health give you the stamina, strong immunity, and sound sleep you need to enjoy every gorgeous day to the fullest!
Outsmart colds with pretty blooms.
Those lilacs you placed in a vase on your kitchen counter are more than just a pretty piece of decor. They can also ward off spring sniffles! Spending a few minutes admiring flowers increases the brain’s production of the happiness hormone serotonin. Carnegie Mellon University scientists say that feel-good boost energizes virus-killing immune cells, plus speeds recovery from pesky colds by 30 percent.
Protect your heart with strawberries.
Yum! Fresh fruit like strawberries, cantaloupe, and grapes are readily available in local stores. And savoring these juicy gems daily keeps your ticker strong. Japanese researchers reporting in Public Health Nutrition found that women who enjoyed the most water-rich foods and drank the most water were 40 percent less likely to develop fatal heart disease and 30 percent less likely to suffer a fatal stroke over the course of a 19-year study. The reason: High fluid intake gently thins the blood, preventing the formation of heart-harming clots.
Burn fat faster with an ice tea swap.
Swapping your usual cup of black tea for a sweet and floral oolong brew (delicious hot or iced!) is a simple way to shed weight faster. According to a new study in Nutrients, when folks relaxed with two cups of oolong tea daily (one at breakfast and one at lunch), their bodies broke down fat 20 percent faster. Even better: Researchers say the fat-burning effects weren’t just short-term — they continued throughout the night.
Quiet back pain with an extra pillow.
After a fun day in the garden, bring an extra pillow to bed to sidestep back twinges. Experts at the North American Spine Society say placing a pillow under your knees if you’re a back sleeper or between your knees if you’re a side sleeper takes up to 55 pounds of pressure off your back, allowing inflammation to ease overnight.
Avoid insomnia with an overnight hug.
Swap your lightweight cover for Grandma’s quilt or a heavy blanket that feels like a hug. In a study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, insomnia sufferers who used a “weighted” blanket for a month were 20 times more likely to snooze through the night. The slight pressure switches off the body’s “fight or flight” system for more restful Zzzs.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.