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Five things you can do to improve your health for under $5

by Maggie Armstrong

Every day it feels like there’s a new fad diet or product claiming to improve your health. These options are often quite expensive and can make improving your health feel unattainable.

In reality, the best ways to improve your health are often the least expensive. Here are five ways proven to improve your health that cost less than five dollars! With these, getting healthy and feeling better are within anyone’s reach.

Drink more water

Despite living in the country with the most fresh water in the world, chronic dehydration is quite common amongst Canadians. The average woman requires nine cups of fluid a day, and that number is even higher for men at 12.

Fluid from fruit, vegetables, soups all count, but water is the best way to meet your fluid needs, and it’s also the least expensive. Water plays an important role in regulating your kidneys, improving your energy, and keeping your skin healthy.

By having a beverage with every meal or snack and keeping a water bottle handy, you can noticeably improve your health.

Walk 30 minutes a day

Regular exercise strengthens your bones and muscles, reduces your risk of heart disease, helps controls your weight, and improves your mental health.

This does not mean you need to join a gym; a 30-minute walk each day will give you the same benefits. If there were a pill that provided all the benefits of physical activity, every doctor would prescribe it to every patient.


Mindfulness means taking the time to be fully present in and aware of your surroundings. Focus on your breathing, how something feels to your touch, or how certain foods taste, and you are being mindful.

A mindfulness practice has been linked to improved mental health, decreased stress and improved sleep. There are tons of free resources to help get you into mindfulness, and they are only a Google search away.

Eat lentils

It’s a common myth that healthy eating is more expensive than unhealthy alternatives. That may be true if you’re looking at the latest fad diets, but there are tried-and-true options which are as healthy as they are dirt-cheap.

At the top of the list are lentils. Lentils are packed full of protein, vitamins, and fibre, and typically cost less than a dollar a pound. Try adding them to your stews, soups, or salads, or visit for more inspiration.

Eating lentils a couple times per week can help improve your heart health, bowel health and your budget.

Get enough sleep

Not getting enough sleep can increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Many people struggle to get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis, but you can improve the quality of your sleep, just by changing your pre-sleep routine.

If you practice going to bed and waking up at a consistent time every day, turning off screens (phones, TV, computers) 30 minutes before bed-time, and having a regular wind-down activity, like reading or meditating, you can signal to your body that it’s time to sleep and let it do the work for you.

For more information ask your doctor or nurse practitioner, visit or Google “family health team locations.”

Maggie Armstrong, is a Registered Dietitian with the East Wellington Family Health Team.

December 8, 2017


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