They may seem odd, but they come science backed.Most tried and tested methods to up your health game are pretty straightforward: to lose weight, eat less and move more; to boost your energy, get more sleep blah blah. Others, however, are slightly weird.
According to data released by the Medibank Better Health Index ahead of World Health Day, young Aussies are more likely to keep healthy through exercise and diet than ever before. The latest Index shows the percentage of 18-34 year-olds who’ve exercised in the past three months has risen from 56% in 2007-08 to 59% today, with those exercising more than 16 times increasing from 24 to 29%. Well done you.
What’s more, the percentage of us consuming alcohol has dropped significantly over the past nine years, going from 61% in 2007-08 to 52% today proving the health message is being heard loud and clear.
Take it to the next level with these 10 tips – even if they do seem counter-intuitive.
1. Replace paracetamol with Granny Smiths
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it turns out they can also stave off headaches. A study by The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in the US found the odour of green apple helped reduce the severity of migraines. According to researchers this may have something to do with the ability of pleasant fragrances to relax us and reduce tension to distract people from thinking about the pain of the migraine.
2. Flush with the lid down
Always flush the toilet with the lid down. Microbiologists from the University of Arizona found polluted water particles like E.coli and other faecal-based bacteria float around the bathroom for a few hours before they all land on surfaces – which could include your toothbrush.
3. Pack chocolate for the gym
Research from the Loughborough University found chocolate milk after a tough workout can aid recovery and encourage the muscle growth. How? The milk provides a source of protein, along with water and electrolytes while the chocolate is a hit of carbohydrates. Even the relatively high sugar content works to restore lost energy. Plus, it’s cheaper than a protein shake.
4. Take a coffee nap
In a Japanese study that examined how to make the most of an afternoon snooze, people who consumed 200 milligrams of caffeine (the amount in two standard cups of coffee) and then immediately took a 20-minute rest felt more alert and performed better on computer tests than those who had a nap sans skim latte.
5. New shoes improve your sex life
Wearing high heels can give you a boost – but they can also give you an orgasm. A University of Verona study of 66 women under 50 found that high heels directly work the pleasure muscles (pelvic floor muscles) which are linked to an orgasm. Chalk that up as another excuse to log on to Shopbop.
6. Drink up when you’re bloated
When you’re bloated, drinking water sounds like it will just make things worse – but it can actually help. The water mixes with soluble fibre and makes it into a gel like substance which affects the motility of the gut and reduces bloating. And check your hydration levels. When you’re dehydrated, your body clings to the water your body does have, causing you to bloat.
7. Workout when you’re worn-out
When you’re exhausted, heading out for a run is the last thing you feel like doing, but sweating it out can boost your energy levels. According to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise Fatigue, mood and depression improved after a single 30-minute moderate intensity session as exercise helps oxygen move around the body more efficiently meaning you don’t tire as easily.
8. Chew to boost your brain power
If you’re three coffees deep and still have a to-do list as long as your arm, try having a piece of chewing gum. Researchers at Coventry University found that chewing mint-flavoured gum can dramatically decrease feelings of tiredness, while separate research studies have suggested that chewing gum can improve test scores and improve memory by 35%.
9. Get hot to cool down
A study conducted by The University of Sydney found consuming a hot drink is the key to cooling off with the overall amount of heat stored in the body less than if you have a cold one. This is because the cooling effect of sweating outweighs the added heat. Explains why piping hot beef pho is such a hit in Vietnamese humidity.
10. Don’t brush after eating
Hold off on brushing your teeth immediately after meals and drinks. Acidic foods like citrus fruits, sports drinks and tomatoes can soften tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth straight after can speed-up acid’s effect on your enamel and erode the layer underneath. Wait 30 to 60 minutes before scrubbing to keep your whites pearly.