The beginning of a new year is always the best time to build habits that ensure the quality of your health. If you relapse to a few “bad” habits — don’t worry! We’re all human. Just pick up where you left off and try again.
How long does it take to form a new habit?
In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, health psychology researcher Phillippa Lally and her team concluded that on average, it takes 66 days or a little over two months to convert a new behavior into a daily practice. Additionally, forming a new habit can vary immensely on the behavior and circumstances of the person. In Lally’s study, it took anywhere between 18 days to 254 days for a new habit to become innate.
Which habit should I practice?
Some people can’t live without smoking a few sticks of cigarettes a day, while some can’t function without a cup of coffee every morning. Habits are regular practices, especially ones that are challenging to give up. There are many habits that can deplete your quality of life, but there are also habits or behaviors that benefit not only your physical health but even your mental and emotional condition. These “healthy” habits improve your overall well-being, ut can be difficult to develop and often require changing your mindset.
What is the significance of a healthy habit?
The good news is, you probably won’t get cancer.
“As many as 70% of known causes of cancers are avoidable and related to lifestyle,” says Thomas A. Sellers, Ph.D., associate director for cancer prevention and control at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. Proper diet, exercise, and avoidance of alcoholic and tobacco products are your first line of defense, but recent research has uncovered many surprising ways to prevent the development of cancer.
Increase your calcium intake
Epidemiologic studies suggest that higher intakes of vitamin D or calcium can help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Dartmouth Medical School researchers claim that those who take in calcium more regularly has a 36% reduction rate in the development of new precancerous colon polyps, revealed five years after the study concluded. The researchers gave 822 people 1,200mg of calcium every day or a placebo. Though the study itself was not centered around milk, you can get the same amount of calcium in three 8-ounce glasses of fat-free milk, along with 2- to 3-ounce serving of low-fat cheese, and an 8-ounce serving of yogurt a day.
Eat more whole grains
Whole wheat does wonders for the body compared to white bread. According to a Harvard Medical School study involving 38,000 women, if you overeat food that’s high in glycemic load—a measurement of how quickly food raises your blood sugar—you increase risks of developing colorectal cancer than women who eat low-glycemic-load foods. Everyday consumables that are high in glycemic load are white bread, potatoes, pasta, and sugary pastries. On the other hand, low-glycemic-load foods are the likes of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, and whole-grain loaves of bread like barley and pumpernickel.
Maintain or reduce your weight by walking 30 minutes daily
Maintaining a healthy weight increases your chances of lowering the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, colon, lung, and kidney. Physical activity also plays a crucial role. In addition to helping you maintain or reduce your weight, exercising on its own can lower the risk of cancers in the breast and colon.
Research presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology states that another significant benefit of brisk walking is how it can add up to seven more years to your lifespan. You may not have time to go to the gym, but you definitely have time to walk. For instance, you can park your car farther away and walk to your destination, or go shopping and circle the mall — there’s just no excuse not to take a few steps every day.
Filter your tap water
According to a report from the President’s Cancer Panel, drinking home-filtered tap water reduces exposure to carcinogens. A study by the Environmental Working Group suggests that in some cases, the quality of store-bought water bottles is worse than that of municipal sources. To avoid exposure to carcinogens, store water in stainless steel containers or glass bottles to prevent chemical contaminants such as BPA, which leaches from plastic bottles.
Wear more colorful clothes
This information may come as a surprise, but carefully picking your outfit of the day may protect against skin cancer, according to Spanish scientists. The research concluded that blue and red fabrics offered significantly better protection against the sun’s UV rays than those of white and yellow fabrics. Though melanoma can appear anywhere on the body, it’s more common in areas the sun hits, so it’s also important to wear a hat before heading out in the sun. Researchers at the University of North Carolina also found that the death rate of patients with melanomas located in the head region is almost twice the rate of those with cancer in other parts of the body.
Drink coffee every day
People who love coffee are in for a treat. According to a 2010 British study, people who drink five or more cups of quality, freshly brewed coffee a day have a 40% decreased risk of brain cancer. Further findings suggest that the habit may also reduce risks of oral and throat cancer. The researchers continued that coffee was a more potent protector against these cancers than tea, which also offered protection against brain cancer.
Get regular medical care
To better your chances of making it through another cancer-free year, regular self-exams and screenings for various types of cancers is a must. As always, early detection can increase your chances of defeating cancer, since treatment is most likely to be successful during early stages. Getting routine checkups may not be an advisable everyday habit, but regardless of how healthy you are today, wiring your brain to visit the doctor every six months is best for your overall health.
Take cancer prevention into your own hands. If you’re looking for a cross between conventional and alternative cancer treatments, New Hope provides the most comprehensive treatment that combats chronic degenerative diseases and immune disorders. Contact us at 480-757-6573 today.