14 Science-Backed New Year’s Resolution Ideas
Vague New Year’s resolutions like eating better and losing weight aren’t just overdone—they’re also pretty unlikely to stick. Instead of vowing, yet again, to just “get healthier” in 2016, draw New Year’s resolution ideas from some of the biggest local studies of the year.
1. Stop smoking e-cigs. A Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) study from December found chemicals that can lead to the respiratory disease Popcorn Lung in roughly 75 percent of e-cigarette flavors. Gross.
2. And regular cigs. This resolution is nothing new, but a September HSPH study found yet another reason to quit: a link between cigarette smoking and type 2 diabetes.
3. Go to bed earlier. The benefits of sleeping are almost too many to count. To name two: A Brigham and Women’s Hospital study found that shut-eye helps individuals remember names and faces, while Tufts research from September suggested that it may improve dietary choices.
4. Even if you do, drink more coffee. In November, HSPH made caffeine addicts very happy, thanks to a study saying that drinking three to five cups of coffee per day could help individuals live longer.
5. But stop drinking soda, already. You already know soda is bad for you—but maybe not how bad. A July study from Tufts estimated that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages plays a role in as many as 184,000 annual deaths worldwide.
6. Get fit, now. You’re not invincible, 20-somethings. A November study from a Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researcher found that a good fitness regimen in your 20s could lower your risk of heart disease and premature death as you age.
7. Cut down on saturated fat and refined carbs. Not exactly shocking, but September HSPH research says a diet heavy in saturated fat and refined carbohydrates may lead to a higher risk of heart disease and other conditions.
9. Eat fiber. A fiber-heavy diet, according to a UMass Medical School study from February, can help people lose weight, lower blood sugar, and improve insulin resistance. Consider this another reason to feast on whole grains.
10. Pass the Sriracha. Stop laughing at your friend with a hot sauce addiction. HSPH research from August says frequently eating spicy foods may cut mortality risk by up to 14 percent.
12. Choose your produce wisely. Eating produce is general is a good choice, but certain fruits and veggies—such as apples, pears, and berries—may best help you control your weight, says a September HSPH study.
13. And wash it well. This one’s for you, guys. HSPH found in March that men who ate fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue had lower-than-average sperm counts and a lower percentage of healthy sperm.
14. Do more yoga. A Massachusetts General Hospital study found in October that eliciting the “relaxation response,” a physiological phenomenon that comes from things like yoga and meditation, could help keep you out of the hospital.