I spend a lot of time following the latest science and medicine on how to best keep my patients and viewers healthy. Most of the time, I find new research on breakthroughs that are changing the way we think about health. But sometimes the discoveries are simple solutions to improve health that have been sitting under my nose the entire time. What we take in through our mouths play a huge role in our health and I’ve talked at length about how eating well is one of the best things you can do for yourself. This week I wanted to remind us all of five simple food and drink solutions for better health we’ve all been taking for granted.
Often vilified for their fat content, these nuts are actually high in healthful unsaturated fats that can help keep your cholesterol under control. They’re also a surprisingly filling snack that can replace other treats that leave you hungry soon after you munch. New data is now showing that they may also be good for staving off diabetes. In a group of prediabetic individuals, eating pistachios was associated with lower levels of the inflammatory markers and better blood sugar and insulin levels and fewer markers of insulin resistance.
I’ve talked about the benefits of wine for your heart before, but a study out this week has confirmed the link when combined with something else I recommend for everyone: exercise. Red wine can lower both your LDL and total cholesterol, protecting your blood vessels from plaques that can block flow. But it seems as though the benefits might only hold when you’re also doing exercise. Another study found that even if you have high blood pressure, your heart can still benefit from small amounts of wine drinking.
Coffee has always been a staple for my early mornings and I recommend it in moderation for the variety of health benefits it can provide. Researchers have now found that combining it with a nap may maximize brain benefits for the sleep deprived. Having a cup of coffee right before a nap seems to boost productivity in ways doing either alone don’t, which gives you one more reason to pour yourself a cup just before a rest.
I love tea and have always talked about its many benefits. New research agrees, as a study found regular tea drinkers could reduce their risk of dying by 24% on average. The more tea you drank, the better the benefits, with those who drink four cups or more per day seeing a 57% reduction.
This is an obvious one, but we get so used to hearing about how good fruits are for us it’s good to be reminded with some solid numbers once and a while. A new study out this week looked at 450,000 people and found that those who eat fruit every day drop their risk of cardiac disease by 40% compared with those who never eat fruit.
Adding these foods to your diet should be easy. But remember, don’t go crazy. Start with small amounts of each to make sure you tolerate them if you’re not used to eating them. You may not notice any differences right away, but you can rest assured you’re boosting your health in a big way.