the 7 best expert tips we received in 2022

We are approaching the end of another eventful year and so we have to look back again. We could talk about how a certain world leader invaded a neighboring country and destabilized the world, but we’d rather talk about the most surprising insights experts shared with us over the past year for a better life.


1. The most common brain disorders are strokes, and you can do a lot about them yourself

All organs are essential, but only one can be the most important, and that is the brain. The human brain is the most complex system in the universe, many of the mysteries of which we may never unlock. Yet there is also a lot to tell about what we do know.

What we already know for sure, and may also cause concern, is that strokes are the most common brain disorders. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, it is the second leading cause of death worldwide.

That was the bad news. The good news? We can do a lot about this ourselves, says Professor Veerle Visser-Vandewalle, neurosurgeon and internationally renowned expert in deep brain stimulation. A “healthy lifestyle” is essential in this regard. A simple insight, but not always easy to put into practice. The neurosurgeon already gives four tips with which you can get started.

  • Do not eat too much fat, because fats clog up the blood vessels, causing brain tissue to die.
  • Movement is essential: it improves blood circulation in the brain, as well as the areas responsible for thinking and intellect. Everyday movement already has an effect.
  • Get enough sleep. Then fluid flushes through the brain tissue and waste products are cleared away that can lead to dementia. The less you sleep, the fewer cycles are completed, and the less there is to clean up.
  • Try to think positively. If you think positively, your body will function better

Lees the extended conversation with Professor Veerle Visser-Vandewalle, in which she takes us on a journey through our most important organ.

Veerle Visser-Vandewalle: 'Excessive alcohol consumption undoubtedly leads to a decrease in brain tissue.  Smoking is also very bad because it narrows the blood vessels.'  Image Geert Van de Velde

Veerle Visser-Vandewalle: ‘Excessive alcohol consumption undoubtedly leads to a decrease in brain tissue. Smoking is also very bad because it narrows the blood vessels.’Image Geert Van de Velde

2. We tie our shoelaces incorrectly, and neglect our feet so massively

From the top of our body we descend all the way down to our feet. The body parts that are furthest away from our head are “our most neglected body parts”, says foot expert and physiotherapist Rob Donkers.

“We have gyms on every corner of the street and almost all of us do exercises in shoes that we have put on too tight when tying them, so that the foot muscles can hardly move,” he says. For example, the muscles in our feet become weak and lazy, but they can be trained again, according to the foot expert.

  • Do ankle mobility exercises. A stiff ankle can lead to heel spurs or a pinched nerve in your forefoot and is also a risk factor for getting a crooked big toe.
  • Do exercises with your small foot muscles: try picking up and moving small objects with your toes, or put a towel on the floor in front of you and pull it towards you with your toes.
  • Otherwise, learn to tie your shoelaces, in toe position. Not with the foot flat on the floor, but with the foot arched, leaning on your toes. With the foot flat on the floor, the instep is at its lowest point. If you then tighten the bow, the instep can never rise normally again. That hinders your walk.
null Beeld Getty Images/Science Photo Libra

Beeld Getty Images/Science Photo Libra

3. Our impoverished Western diet is a big problem, and it’s not so much about calories

Our bodies are important, and what we put into them is essential. But contrary to what we’ve long believed, a healthy diet has little to do with counting calories or even the amount of fat or sugar we eat. “More important is the effect of food on our intestines,” says Tim Spector, seven years after he also came to the same conclusion in the controversial book De dieetmythe.

“Due to our lifestyle, modern humans have only a fraction of the bacterial species in the gut that our ancestors had, and that is mainly due to our impoverished diet,” says the professor of genetics. It is precisely that impoverished microbiome that he believes is one of the causes of the obesity epidemic.

So how do we take better care of our intestines? “I always say treat your microbes like a garden,” Spector points out, “and there are several ways to do that.”

  • Make sure that the soil, i.e. the large intestine, is well fertilized with prebiotics, fibres, polyphenols and fermented foods, so that the good microbes can grow and toxic bacteria don’t stand a chance.
  • Eat as wide a variety of seeds and plants as possible so that you have the maximum variety of nutrients. Try something new regularly.
  • Give your intestinal floor a rest every now and then by fasting.
  • And don’t poison your microbial garden with antibiotics, preservatives, ultra-processed foods, sweeteners and other chemical junk. You will then be more resistant to infections, tumors and other threats.
Tim Spector: 'The carotene in spinach and carrots is better absorbed when accompanied by the fats in olive oil' Image dm

Tim Spector: ‘The carotene in spinach and carrots is better absorbed when accompanied by the fats in olive oil’Image dm

4. A liter of hot water costs more than 70 times as much energy as a liter of cold water

From our body to our wallet, because as much as we had hoped for it: energy prices just won’t go down. But don’t worry, we’re not going to bombard you with 99 saving tips again. Instead, we want to focus your attention on one component in your home that can save you hundreds of dollars every year: your shower head.

A regular shower head uses on average between 7 and 12 liters of water per minute. A rain shower quickly consumes 20 liters of water per minute. Old shower heads use an average of between 12 and 15 liters of water per minute. You can save a lot with water-saving shower heads: they use between 4.5 and 7 liters per minute.

In this calculation example we assume a shower head that uses 8 liters of water per minute, and we assume a high-efficiency boiler. Assuming a 10-minute shower, you will spend 17 cents on water and + 55 cents on gas = 72 cents for a shower. That also means that a rain shower quickly consumes twice as much.

Another nice fact: a liter of hot water costs more than 70 times as much energy as a liter of cold water. So there is still a lot to be gained from showering.

Still hungry for more detailed savings tips? The morning calculated how you can tackle the various gluttons in the house. View the full overview.

null Beeld Getty Images

Beeld Getty Images

5. If you have money and space, put your roof full of solar panels

Those who look more in the long term and can afford it should urgently start thinking about solar panels, experts advise The morning. In fact: “If you have money and space, fill up your roof”, advises independent energy consultant Kris Voorspools. But what should you pay attention to?

One of the most important choices you have to make is the choice of the inverter, which converts the direct current generated by the panels into alternating current. “The inverter is the most delicate link in the installation,” says Ghyselen. “It may therefore make sense to invest in a slightly more expensive model.”

More expensive inverters usually offer more options. “That can be interesting if you want the inverter to communicate with appliances in order to maximize your own consumption,” says Bram Van Dun, energy advisor at the Campina citizen cooperative. “These kinds of applications will only gain in importance.”

null Beeld Getty Images

Beeld Getty Images

6. Moisture problems due to lower heating? With these rules of thumb you can keep mold at bay

However, saving money can also saddle you with new problems. For example, your energy bill will benefit if you turn down the heating and keep the windows closed, but it can also cause problems with moisture and mould. With these tips you can heat smartly and mold-free.

  • A rule of thumb to avoid condensation problems is that it is best not to let the temperature in inhabited areas fall below 15 degrees Celsius.
  • It is important to limit moisture production. Don’t forget to turn on the extractor hood when cooking and open a window after the shower until the condensation from the bathroom mirror has disappeared.
  • If necessary, purchase a humidity meter. In rooms that are evenly insulated, without colder spots, you usually avoid problems by keeping the humidity below 60 to 70 percent.
null Beeld Getty Images

Beeld Getty Images

7. Stay in touch with your partner

Possibly even more important than caring for your home is caring for your partner, even if you feel disconnected for a moment. Because even then they can be found as a couple, says matchmaker Rika Ponnet.

“It sounds like a platitude, but it’s always about taking time for each other. Going for a walk around the block every evening or cooking together, these can be great moments when you can create some time for coordination with each other. But you can also do household chores together. Do the dishes together. That used to be the place where most conversations were held in our home.”

According to the matchmaker, people often do these kinds of household tasks separately in order to be efficient: one does the ironing, the other the dishes. “But then you are both on your own island again. It is often better to say, “I’ll help with the ironing and put the clothes in the closet, if you help me with the dishes afterwards.” That is more fun, but you also make sure that you set aside some space to talk to each other.”

  • Try to do something every day that will make your partner’s life a little more pleasant or easier. Just listen, clean something up, make tea…
  • Take time for each other. Go on a weekend together, or spend a few hours in the woods together. Time to just be busy with each other, you really have to give yourself and each other.
  • Dare to talk about the problems in your relationship with the people close to you. You will feel supported and see that things are not going smoothly for others on a relational level either.
Rika Ponnet: 'It sounds like a platitude, but it's always about taking time for each other.'  Sculpture Joris Casaer

Rika Ponnet: ‘It sounds like a platitude, but it’s always about taking time for each other.’Sculpture Joris Casaer

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