Everyone wants to be healthier. But not everyone wants to put in the miles of legwork to be healthier. Look, we get it: Lifestyle changes are hard and, with the rewards so far on the horizon, it can be easy to ask yourself if it’s even worth the slog. But what if you could be healthier in no time at all? Would it be worth it then?
Of course it would be. Even better: it only takes one minute. All you have to do is follow these instant health upgrades, none of which take more than 60 seconds—and some of which you may be following to a tee already—and you’ll be on the path to healthy living in no time. Literally. And for more great health advice, don’t miss The 100 Ways to Be A (Much) Healthier Person.
Add a dash of cinnamon to your coffee.
According to a study in Diabetes Care, a mere half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day can set your blood sugar, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides levels straight. Plus, if you swap out your go-to cream-and-sugar for cinnamon, you’ll cut back on about 70 calories per 8-ounce serving. And take it from us: Your coffee will taste just as good—if not better. Plus, as is, your coffee is already one of the best everyday health upgrades: Check out The 75 Amazing Health Benefits of Coffee for proof.
Turn up the heat—on your lunch.
Spicy may make send you to a world of pain, but make no mistake: The heat does wonders for your body. Per a study in Open Heart, capsaicin, the compound in peppers that induces a spice sensation, capsaicin increases the calcium into your body. There’s also a widely-held belief that capsaicin speeds up weight loss via boosted metabolic function, but the scientific community has yet to come to consensus on that. Though sprinkling some heat on your next dish couldn’t hurt…unless you really have no tolerance for spice.
Start brushing your teeth with coconut oil.
Artificial sweeteners, fluoride, diethanolmine—yes, your everyday toothpaste is full of potentially harmful ingredients. Swap it out for coconut oil, which has all of the cleaning properties as a normal tube of Crest or Colgate, to steer clear and stay clean.
Swap your chips for apples.
Snack cravings are, of course, unavoidable. (Trust us: We are well aware. So aware, in fact, that we even reported out the 27 Smartest Ways to Control Your Cravings.) But if you need some crunch, don’t reach for chips or crackers; grab an apple instead. Apples are chock full of ursolic acid, which, according to a study in PLoS One, significantly slashes your inability to process glucose and your risk for liver disease.
Eat white-fleshed produce.
We know: They said to eat your fruits and veggies, but they never said which fruits and veggies. But being selective in what produce you consume can have outsize effects. Springing for white-fleshed options—apples and pears, cauliflower and cucumbers—can, according to the American Heart Association, cut your risk of stroke by up to 10 percent.
Put your healthy snacks on the middle shelf.
Chances are, you keep your produce in the crisper. Well, don’t. Move healthy snacks—baby carrots, sliced peppers, that sort of thing—to the middle shelf of your fridge and you’ll be more likely to munch on those when hunger strikes. And for more great snack ideas, check out the 5 Best High-Protein Snacks of All Time.
Live by the 20-20-20 Rule.
Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet (or more) away. That’s the 20-20-20 Rule, and, according to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, it’s a proven method at reducing eye strain—especially if you’re glued to a screen for eight hour every day.
Wash your hands.
Look at the person to your left. Now look at the one to your right. One of them didn’t wash their hands after their last visit to the bathroom. (Unless it’s you, in which case… not cool.) Yes, per a study from the Bradley Corporation, only 66 percent of Americans wash their hands after the going to the bathroom. And considering the average bathroom contains 200,000 germs—including staphylococcus, which leads to dreaded staph infections—a surefire way to be healthier is to wash your hands. Seriously, it only takes a minute.
Cut back on the ibuprofen.
It’s second-nature to reach for ibuprofen when you have an ache—head- or otherwise. But you really shouldn’t; it’s been shown to increase your risk of heart attack by up to 50 percent. If you’re in pain and have no need to reduce inflammation—which ibuprofen does, but it’s pain relief counterpart, acetaminophen, does not—reach for acetaminophen instead; in other words, Tylenol over Advil.
Sweat your tail off.
No, you can’t spend a mere 60 seconds to working out and expect to see huge benefits. But you can only dedicate 60 seconds of a particular regimen and see results. According to a study in PLoS One, if you redline just one minute of your normal regimen three times per week, you’ll see your oxygen intake (that’s your endurance level) increase by 12 percent.
Stretch it out.
Here’s a frightening figure: 80 percent of Americans will suffer from debilitating neck or back pain at some point in their life. But spending just a minute in child’s pose—balasana, for you yogis—can work wonders at both preventing pain from happening and remedying it when it inevitably does happen. And for more ways to fix any back pain, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide on How to Conquer Lower Back Pain Once and For All.
Add lemon to your water.
Lemons—and all citrus, for that matter—are an excellent source of potassium citrate, a nutrient that has been shown to reduce high blood pressure and increase your body’s ability to process calcium. The stuff also cuts the risk kidney stones. Yes, a cup of lemon water means you’re less likely to pee out a tiny rock down the line.
We get it: You’re chained to your desk for eight hours (or more) throughout the day. But research in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that if, every half hour, you stand for one minute, you’ll slash your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes—or suffering a premature death related to those ailments.
All right—it may take more than a minute. But getting busy is proven to decrease stress, blood pressure, and likelihood for prostate cancer. So spark things up between the sheets. And if does only take a minute, hey, no judgement. (But we do have a fix for that, if you’re so inclined.)
Easier said than done, we know. But the first step—throwing your pack in the nearest garbage can—takes mere seconds and it will immediately set you on the path to your healthiest self.
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