Counter-intuitive Approaches to 9 Health Problems

1. Help Your Diet by Ditching Diet Soda

For the sake of your health, ditch soda altogether. Yes, that includes diet soda. “In addition, many people think ‘low-fat,’ ‘low-sugar,’ or ‘light’ means fewer calories, but that’s not always true,” says Amy Goodson, RD, dietitian for Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine. “Typically when manufacturers cut something out and the end result tastes just as good, they’ve added something like additional sugar.”

Just because it’s labeled diet does not mean it helps drinkers lose weight; there’s research to prove it. For instance, overweight adults drinking diet beverages consumed more calories than those who drank regular soda, according to research from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In addition, the University of Texas discovered after a 10-year trial period that diet soda drinkers had a 70% increase in waist circumference compared to those who don’t drink diet soda.

2. Cool Off by Drinking Hot Beverages

It’s 100 degrees out and you’re at Starbucks. Do you order a hot latte or an iced coffee? Though it seems counteractive, the hot coffee will cool you down. According to research, your body senses the temperature change when drinking hot beverages. As a result, your body increases sweat production. When the sweat evaporates in the hot weather, you cool off naturally.

3. Exercise when you’re tired

If you’ve just had a long, exhausting day at the office, the last thing you’d want to do is hit the gym. Interestingly, exercising actually energizes you. In a study, published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, one 30-minute, moderately intense workout noticeably improved fatigue, mood, and depression.

4. Take More Efficient Notes by Hand

Even though typing is faster, thus enabling extensive note-taking, hand-writing increases retention. As you look at the page upon which you are writing, you naturally review the material, reinforcing the information you’ve processed. Moreover, hand-writing usually leads to generative note-taking, meaning summarizing, paraphrasing, and concept-mapping. Generative notes process the information significantly better than typing verbatim.

5. Maximize Nap Time by Drinking Coffee

Ever heard of a “coffee nap?” It essentially consists of downing about 200 mg of caffeine (about one to two cups of coffee) and then immediately taking a 20-minute nap. A Japanese study researched the merits of this napping technique; they found that those who took a “coffee nap” felt more alert and performed better on computer tests than those who only took a nap.

A 20-minute nap is just enough time to rid the brain of adenosine, making you more alert. Plus, it ends just as the caffeine kicks in. “As adenosine levels increase, we become more fatigued. Napping clears out the adenosine and, when combined with caffeine, an adenosine-blocker, further reduces its effects and amplifies the effects of the nap,” says Allen Towfigh, MD, medical director of New York Neurology & Sleep Medicine.

6. Don’t Brush Your Teeth Right After Eating

If you’ve just finished your morning glass of OJ, then you may want to wait before brushing your teeth. Acidic foods (i.e. citrus fruits, soda, sports drinks, etc.) soften tooth enamel. So when you brush your teeth immediately after eating/drinking something acidic, you’re catalyzing the acid’s effect on the enamel. Doing so can erode the layers under the enamel. Howard R. Gamble, past president of the Academy of General Dentistry, suggests waiting 30 to 60 minutes.

7. Cut Inches by Gaining Weight

Muscle weight, that is. A pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle. However, muscle takes up less space, says Mark Nutting, fitness director of SACO Sport & Fitness in Saco, Maine. As a result, a woman who weighs 130 pounds and lifts weights will likely fit into a smaller pant size than a 130-pound woman who doesn’t lift weights.

“You can get bigger muscles and get smaller overall if you lose the fat,” says Nutting. “The bulk so many women fear only occurs if you don’t lose fat and develop muscle on top of it.” Cut back on calories and add weight to your workout to lose inches.

8. Eat Less by Eating More

While you might think your being health-conscious when you grab a low-cal snack pack, it makes you hungrier later and craving more carbs. Goodson says, “Eating small amounts of carbohydrates does nothing but spike your blood sugar and leave you wanting more carbs.” She recommends adding protein to your snack; eat an apple with peanut butter for example. “Protein and fat helps you get full faster and stay full longer—and you end up eating fewer calories overall,” she says.

9. Reduce Bloating by Drinking Water

Even though it seems like it’d make matters worse, drinking water actually helps relieve bloating. For example, if you eat a high-fiber diet, then the water helps your body work efficiently. James Lee, MD, gastroenterologist with St. Joseph Hospital in California, says, “Water mixes with water soluble fiber and makes it into a gel like substance. This affects the motility of the gut and reduces the symptom of bloating.”

Additionally, dehydration can cause bloating. When dehydrated, the body clings to the water it does have, causing bloat. So, drinking water can help in this regard as well.

In addition to the health tips listed up, there’s one more crucial piece of advice regarding your health – health insurance. Are you insured? If so, do you have enough coverage? Does your coverage fit your needs? Reach out to a licensed agent today to go over your health insurance options.

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