Physicians on the television show The Doctors bring important and interesting conversations about health to your living room every day. Now, they're sharing 6 of their must-read health tips with you.
Hug your main squeeze (at least) twice a day. Doctors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that when happily married women hugged their spouses for 20 seconds, their blood pressure and stress hormone levels dropped–and their level of the heart-healthy hormone oxytocin increased. Of course, we imagine you'd get this effect from a snug with anyone who supports you and makes you feel loved.
Eat four walnuts a day. An Italian study found that eating just a few walnuts a day may significantly increase your blood levels of essential fatty acids and reduce your risk of stroke. Increasing your intake of walnuts can improve the function of your blood vessels, reduce your LDL ("bad" cholesterol) levels, and relieve systemic inflammation. Be sure to choose raw and unsalted, and try to find organic.
Have a laugh—an intense one. Researchers at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California have shown that regular intense laughter can affect the body almost like physical exercise, lowering blood pressure, decreasing stress hormones, increasing "good" cholesterol, and decreasing "bad." Try to get at least an hour of hard-core laughing a week, even it's just 10 minutes a day of getting tickled by your toddler or partner.
Chew twice as long. When you chew for twice as long, you're likely to feel satisfied after eating less and be more apt to get up from the table before overeating. Chewing twice as long is also a gentle reminder that we should slow down and enjoy our food.
Get on the mole patrol. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you do a thorough self-exam to get to know your skin's quirks. Work it into your weekly grooming routine. Keep a particularly close eye on existing moles. If you notice any changes, share your observations with your dermatologist. Visit American Academy of Dermatolog (AAD's) website for more information on how to check your own skin.
Be wary of tartar control toothpaste. If you're a vigorous brusher, the added abrasive agents can contribute to receding gums, leaving your mouth (and, therefore, your whole body!) more vulnerable to germs. Play it old school: Get plain fluoride toothpaste, without all the fancy bells and whistles.
Source: Tips adapted from The Doctors 5 Minute Health Fixes (Rodale 2010–used with permission)