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10 Small Changes with Big Health Payoffs

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8. Get your vitamin D levels checked.

Next time you’re at the doctor’s office, request a simple blood test to evaluate your vitamin D blood levels, suggests Doreen Orion, MD, a physician in private practice in Boulder, Colorado, and the author of the memoir Queen of the Road. “We're finding that many, many women have a low level of this essential vitamin,” she says. “Low levels are correlated with all sorts of things from cancers to low energy to Alzheimer's. I've had patients who are outside all day, who still have very low levels. The fix is simple and just involves taking vitamin D for several months, then rechecking the level.”

9. Switch from instant to steel-cut oats.

If you eat oatmeal in the morning, give yourself some bonus points. The breakfast of champions, oatmeal fills you up and helps you feel satisfied longer than most breakfasts. But, to get the maximum health payoff, consider switching to steel-cut oats, says Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and the author of The Veggie Queen. “Steel-cut oats are less processed, contain more fiber and are more satisfying,” she says. “Make them in the slow cooker overnight or quickly in the pressure cooker in 5 minutes in the morning.”

10. Turn on some classical music at dinner.

“We tend to mimic the pace of the music we’re listening to,” explains David Niven, PhD, author of The 100 Simple Secrets of Healthy People. “To keep yourself from eating too fast—and too much—put on some slow music.” He cites a research study that found people who listened to fast music with meals ate, on average, five bites per minute. Those who didn’t listen to music ate four bites per minute. And the kicker: Those who listened to slow music ate just three bites per minute.

Sarah Jio is the health and fitness blogger for Glamour.com. Visit her blog, Vitamin G.

 

Originally published on November 1, 2012

 

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