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8 Fast ‘Formulas’ to Follow for Instantly Better Health

How often to do yoga, eat fruit, get up from your desk, and more healthy habits to reduce pain, prevent serious illness, and stay slim and happy.


Slow down meals: Have no more than 5 forkfuls per minute

Gobbling your food faster than this rate could mean you don’t notice signals of fullness and wind up overeating. British scientists found that eating more slowly results in a much lower calorie intake per sitting, Men’s Health reported. According to Iowa State University research, normal weight people take 27 percent more time to chew their food than overweight folks, the magazine noted.


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Wash your dish towels: Once a week

Forgetting to include these rags in your weekly laundry could raise your risk of food-borne illness. According to new Kansas State University research, dish towels contribute to cross-contamination (or spreading germs from one surface to another) more than many other areas of the kitchen, including appliance handles and countertops, Shape magazine reported. “It is used for so many different things, like cleaning up spills, wiping down the counter, and drying hands, that it allows germs to quickly spread from food to surface to hands and back again,” says study author Jeannie Sneed, PhD, told the magazine. Use a different set of towels for hands and for dishes and launder them once a week. Wipe up spills with paper towels to help avoid cross-contamination.


Limit your office time: Stick to 40 hours a week

New research that analyzed data on more than 600,000 people found what any workaholic might guess about their stressful schedules: People who log more than 55 hours a week have a 33 percent greater risk of stroke and a 13 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease than people who work 35 to 40 hours a week. “Long working hours are not a negligible occurrence,” said Urban Janlert, MD, PhD, a professor of public health at Umea University in Sweden, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study published in the Lancet.


Drink coffee: 3 to 5 cups a day

Caffeine lovers, rejoice! Studies are mixed, Health magazine reported, but recent research suggests that this range of coffee consumption could help lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Asterisk alert: A cup is only 8 ounces, which is less than you might think; by comparison, one “tall” (the small size) coffee at Starbucks is 12 ounces.


Stand up: For 8 minutes after you’ve been sitting for 20

Then move/stretch for two minutes. This is the ideal healthy balance per 30 minutes to avoid the dramatic health effects of too much sitting, according to Cornell ergonomics professor Alan Hedge, per a recent report in the Wall Street Journal. The recommendation is based on “a review of studies that [Dr. Hedge] has presented at corporate seminars and expects to publish. He says standing for more than 10 minutes tends to cause people to lean, which can lead to back problems and other musculoskeletal issues.”


Eat lunch: Twice a day

Pack a second light lunch, like cheese and fruit, for work and eat it before you head home for dinner, recommends Men’s Health. This habit can help you eat fewer calories at dinner, according to Spanish researchers. They found that people who had merienda, a small meal between lunch and dinner, were 36 percent less likely to have abdominal obesity than those who didn’t.


Do yoga: 3 times a week

People with arthritis who started doing an hour of yoga three times a week reported having more energy, less depression and pain, and better flexibility and mobility after just two months of practice, reported.


Have fruit: 2 to 3 times a day

Berries, grapes, apples, and other resveratrol-containing fruits convert excess white fat into beige fat, which burns calories, according to research in the International Journal of Obesity, reported
The Doctor Will See You Now
. Mice were fed a high-fat diet; some animals were given resveratrol equal to about two or three servings of fruit a day. The animals who consumed the antioxidant resveratrol gained 40 percent less weight than mice that did not eat the potent antioxidant. “Resveratrol enhances the oxidation of white fat so it turns into beige fat, which burns lipids off as heat and prevents health problems like obesity and metabolic diseases,” the site reported.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest