Green health: Tips for green home living and eating green

BOSTON — You can improve your health while benefiting the health of the planet. The April 2007 issue of the Harvard Health Letter suggests the following "green" health tips:

  1. Walk or bike to work. Combining exercise and a commute builds healthful activity into your day and reduces fuel use and vehicle emissions. Could there be a better good-for-you, good-for-the-planet twofer?
  2. Go to bed early. Studies have identified a correlation between short sleep and being overweight. Meanwhile, all the TVs and computers that help keep us up at night use electricity.
  3. Turn down the heat and air conditioning. Humans control body temperature by adjusting their metabolisms. But when air temperatures are in the thermoneutral zone–the 70s—we burn fewer calories. So by adjusting your thermostat, you may keep your metabolism from getting lazy and also reduce your energy use.
  4. Eat the right kind of fish. Eating fish is healthful in many ways. But some species are contaminated with pollutants, and others are suffering from overfishing. Making the right "eco-choice" involves homework. Find useful guides at www.oceansalive.org and www.blueocean.org/seafood.
  5. Eat local fruits and vegetables. Flying fruits and vegetables long distances is energy intensive. Give some preference to locally grown food.
  6. Don't take more medications than you need. Our bodies only use a fraction of any drug we take; the rest gets excreted. Pharmaceuticals in waste water adversely affect ecosystems. So your own sake and that of the water supply, don't take unnecessary medications.
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