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6 Good Habits You Can Make Healthier Without Even Trying

The physicians of The Doctors explain how to extend these wellness practices with little effort.

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When you sip tea, steep the bags for five minutes

Research links this beverage to lower risks of heart attack, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. More antioxidants were unleashed in tea steeped for five minutes than for just one or two, according to a British study. Just don’t bother with these 13 “healthy” food habits that are actually bad for you.

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When you blow your nose, do one nostril at a time

A University of Virginia study found that honking your nose hard produced a lot of pressure and pushed mucus into the sinuses, which could increase infections. Gently blow one nostril at a time instead. Check out these other 50 healthy habits your whole family should start.

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When you get a flu vaccine, work out the same day

Flu vaccines are the best way to prevent the virus, but they’re only 50 to 70 percent effective. Exercising before or after getting the vaccine may prime your immune system to produce more infection-fighting antibodies. In one study, Iowa State University students who jogged or biked at a moderate pace for 90 minutes after receiving the shot had nearly double the amount of antibodies of those who were sedentary. Find out which mistakes could make your flu shot less effective.

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When you eat more protein, add it to breakfast

It’s common nutrition advice for anyone on a diet: Eat fewer refined carbs, more protein. But timing matters. Americans typically eat three times more protein at dinner than at breakfast. However, studies show that people who eat protein-rich morning meals have fewer blood sugar spikes throughout the morning (which can prevent cravings) and are less likely to snack on junk food at night. On the other hand, these are the 12 healthy habits you should always do at night.

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When you stand up, do it in a work meeting

Getting off your duff is undoubtedly good for your health: Research links too much sitting—even if you hit the gym regularly—with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Now new Washington University research suggests that standing during work meetings can lead to more creativity. Workers were given 30 minutes to create a university recruitment video. The group that worked in a room without chairs suggested more inventive ideas and produced better videos than the team that was more sedentary. But feel free to skip these 37 “healthy” habits that aren’t actually helpful.

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When you floss your teeth, do it after you brush

Once you’ve removed large pieces of food with your toothbrush, floss to better clear tiny particles and bacteria that remain between your teeth, some dentists say. Don’t jerk the floss up and down. For a more thorough cleaning, make a C shape with the floss around each tooth and gently move it up and down. Here are 51 more health hacks you’ll want to make a habit.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest