This Not That – 4 Ways to Improve Your Health and Life

As mothers, we know how “this not that” works with our children. At snack times, we encourage our kids to reach for fruits over chips. But if that’s too big of a reach, we have chocolate-covered health bars in the closet so that the choice is better by degrees. Using the “this not that” method provides you with options that fulfill your needs while not being a minus in your life.

In our own lives, there are surprising ways we can use this approach to trade up and make better choices for ourselves. Want to give it a try? Here are a few that can improve our health and ultimately our quality of life.

  1. Pick dental implants, not bridges or partial dentures.

If you have recently visited a dentist, and you are facing getting a tooth pulled, you know you have a couple options. The most common option, however, might not be the best.

According to Arun Garg, DMD, “While dentures, bridges and partial bridges and other teeth replacement methods all still have their place in dental treatment, dental implants are the closest analog to natural teeth. With proper care they can last a lifetime, giving patients the confidence and smile they’ve longed for, for years.” Dental implants by Arun Garg may cost between $3,000 to $4,000. But if looked at as a lifetime investment, the price looks about right. Studies have repeatedly shown smiling is essential for happiness, health, and social engagement.

  1. Choose red wine; skip the cocktails.

Red wine has regularly been linked to fewer heart attacks. And while this link isn’t entirely understood, the connection is there. Some experts believe that the antioxidants in red wine help to prevent an artery disease that often leads to heart attacks. Exactly what is it about red wine that makes it heart healthy? It could be that resveratrol is the key. Resveratrol seems to reduce the presence of bad cholesterol in the blood. It also appears to prevent blood vessel damage and lowers inflammation risk.

Healthline states that red wine has been linked to other benefits, including…

  • a reduced cancer risk
  • a reduced dementia risk
  • a reduced depression risk
  • a reduced type 2 diabetes risk
  • a reduced insulin resistance risk

Along with all this good news, an average glass of red wine is about 120 calories. Whereas cocktails are often sugar and calorie bombs. Not to mention the detrimental effects that sugar can have to one’s health.

  1. Fall asleep before midnight, not after.

Do you think that all sleep hours are equal? And as long as you are getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per 24-hour cycle, you are doing OK? Maybe you consider yourself more of a night owl and your regular bedtime is just after the midnight hour?

According to experts, your sleep quality changes during the hours after midnight. During the hours before midnight, your sleep is non-REM. Non-REM sleep has been shown to be more restorative than REM sleep. It is also deeper and contributes to your feeling refreshed upon waking. Once the clock hits midnight and the closer the clock gets to daybreak? The more you have REM sleep, which tends to be lighter and less restorative.

What does this mean for the busy parent with a lot on their plate? Get to sleep well before midnight and do those tasks early the next morning. This simple shift in when you sleep will not only help you feel more recharged, but you will still get to those tasks that need to be done.

  1. Choose whole fruits over fruit juice.

A new study was published earlier this year that linked eating more than 5 servings of veg or fruit a day with reduced risk of early death. The biggest benefit was connected to those who ate about 10 servings, or 800 grams, of either fruit or vegetables. What does this mean for families? Make sure there are fruits or vegetables with each meal and make them available for snack times, too.

Can fruit juice take the place of whole fruits in this case? No. Fruit juice is high in sugar and is therefore more of a liability to one’s health than a plus. But if your family struggles with eating fruit or vegetables, try smoothies or fruit juices at home from whole fruits you buy at the store. (As long as you don’t add sugar to the smoothies, this can be added toward your 10 servings a day.)

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