This post is a continuation of last week’s article. Catch up from the beginning here.
23. It makes you a good example for your loved ones.
We don’t want to creep you out, but people are watching you. Whether it’s your friends, your parents, your siblings, your significant other (or just the cute neighbor next door), your circle of friends and family observe what you do and take note. And your exercise encourages others to do the same. We regularly mirror others around us in our gestures and behaviors. So consider that every time you’re heading to the gym, you’re setting an example, encouraging others to do the same. And the more, the merrier—when it comes to cardio, nothing’s more fun than a conga line, right?
24. It makes you smarter.
So much for the dumb bodybuilder stereotype—building muscles also helps you build brain cells. A meta-analysis of the effects of exercise on the brain found that fitness improves memory, boosts cognition, helps you learn faster, increases brain volume, and even makes you a better reader. In addition, recent studies have found that working out helps prevent the cognitive decline as we age and diseases like Alzheimer’s.
25. It manages chronic pain.
When you’re living with chronic pain, getting out of bed is hard enough, much less heading out to pump some iron or go for a run. Yet research shows that a moderate exercise program gives both short-term and long-term improvements for people who have chronic pain, even if the underlying condition remains. In short, exercise may not fix all your problems, but it will help you deal with them better.
The Best Reasons to Start Eating Healthier
1. It fattens your wallet.
Oh, kale, why must you cost so much? People often lament that healthy food is pricier than processed junk food. And a recent study found that all that produce and lean meat adds about $1.50 a day to food costs. But before you ditch that apple for an apple fritter, the researchers continued to say that when you include the cost savings from preventing health problems—a savings of $2.71 for every dollar spent—you still come out way ahead.
2. It makes you happier.
An apple a day keeps the blues away, say researchers from New Zealand. Their study found that on the days young adults ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier, and more energetic than they normally did. And the scientists say it wasn’t just happy people eating more honeydew. The data showed these positive feelings were a direct result of hitting the salad bar.
3. It protects your bones.
No walker for you, sonny! Eating a healthy diet full of calcium from dairy products, vitamin D from produce, and folic acid from leafy greens supports your skeleton, preventing osteoporosis and fractures in later life.
4. It revs up your fertility.
This one’s for the dads-to-be: A recent study found that eating swimmers (as in fish) boosts your swimmers (as in sperm). For women, the effect of a good diet is even more potent, as a separate study found that access to a wide variety of healthful foods was the number one predictor of high fertility rates in women who aren’t using birth control.
5. It conquers cramps.
Ladies: Pick your PMS poison, and there’s a nutritional remedy for it. And no, it’s not based on old wives’ tales. Modern science backs up these claims: The fiber in fruits and veggies fights bloat, magnesium-rich foods (like dark chocolate!) prevent cramps, iron in red meat helps with fatigue, calcium in dairy products is calming, and the zinc in green plants helps can smooth out mood swings.
6. It gives you an iron-clad immune system.
In life, you’re going share pens, trade business cards, and shake hands with people of questionable hygiene. Translation: You will get hit with germs. But research has found that getting your five-a-day of fruits and veggies can boost your immune system and save you five (or more) sick days. One study found that people who ate more produce got sick less often, regardless of whatever other foods they ate. Another argument that carrots and cookies can coexist. And you might want to season those veggies with garlic: People who ate the clove daily got 64 percent fewer colds and recovered faster than those with less stinky breath.
7. It fixes your DNA.
Have you ever bemoaned your “bad DNA” that, say, gave you a hooked honker or a family history of heart attacks? Well, complain no more. A recent study in the brand-new field of epigentics found that eating a healthy diet can “turn on” good DNA and “turn off” some bad DNA, leading to long-term and even generational benefits. So while you probably can’t get a nutritional nose job, you can eat your way to less heart disease—and spare your children from inheriting the risk too.
8. It can help cure irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
IBS is to stomachaches what Godzilla is to the Geico gecko. Sufferers experience debilitating pain, bloating, tenacious constipation, and embarrassing (sometimes public) displays of diarrhea. But new research has found a link between the bacteria living in a person’s gut and their chance of having IBS, saying that eating probiotics helped the majority of sufferers find some respite. And don’t just look to yogurt to get your fix. Remember the three Ks: kefir, kimchi, and kombucha.
9. It makes your (future) children smarter…
There’s nothing fishy about this: A pediatric study shows pregnant women who eat a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, DHA specifically, go on to have kids with higher IQs at age four than do moms who avoid seafood. And another study demonstrated that children who supplemented with DHA or ate a lot of fish also showed cognitive improvements.
10. … And it makes you smarter too.
Fish oil isn’t only for kids! Eating more fish can boost your cognitive capacity. But it is not just about towing the (fishing) line; a diet rich in healthy fats, protein, and antioxidants from produce increases cognition and prevents memory loss later in life too, says a neuroscience study.
That’s it for today, but you can catch the final installment this Friday. Stay tuned to find out what eating healthy is the new black.