DR MEGAN ROSSI: Seven simple health tips that I practise every day

A question I often get is, do you really practice what you preach? In fact, I do (well, 99 percent of the time) — and my daily routine is largely based on things scientifically proven to help improve well-being.

They are also simple enough to hold on to no matter what chaos life throws my way. So let me share with you what I do. . .


The last 30 seconds of my shower I set the water temperature to cold.

When I started doing this 18 months ago it was an obvious struggle – after all I’m from Queensland in Australia – but the evidence was compelling enough to make it a daily habit.

My daily routine is largely based on things that have been scientifically proven to improve well-being, writes Dr. Megan Rossi (pictured)

A study published in the journal PLOS One in 2016, involving more than 3,000 people, found that those who took a cold shower (for 30, 60, or 90 seconds) had 29 percent fewer workdays compared to people who adhered to kept the rules. normal temperature. The cold shower group found they had a better quality of life and less anxiety.

The theory is that the cold stimulates leukocytes — immune cells that help fight insects — and increases levels of feel-good chemicals like endorphins.

I started with ten seconds a day and increased by ten seconds every three weeks. Now I burst into a cold shower without thinking – it could be a coincidence, but I haven’t been sick once since I started.

A word of warning: If you have heart disease, check with your doctor first.


I always have vegetables for breakfast – relying on lunch and dinner for your five-a-day immediately puts you at a disadvantage.

Plants are nutritional powerhouses that provide us with protective compounds that we can’t get anywhere else in our diet. Multiple studies show that a vegetarian diet can lead to a longer and healthier life.

For the last 30 seconds of my shower, I set the water temperature to cold, writes Dr. Megan Rossi.  Illustration: Donough O'Malley

For the last 30 seconds of my shower, I set the water temperature to cold, writes Dr. Megan Rossi. Illustration: Donough O’Malley

Sometimes I grate zucchini through my porridge or chew on a carrot, or have a few cherry tomatoes next to my granola. It is a simple step with a big profit.


To make sure I get the best boost from my caffeine, I delay my first coffee until mid-morning.

The energy kick you get from caffeine has to do with a chemical in the body, adenosine, which plays a role in our wake/sleep cycle.

Try this: Tofu scramble

This flavorful plant-based alternative to eggs is a great way to get extra fiber and powerful plant compounds, along with a healthy dose of calcium.

Serves 2

  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper ÷ 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp milk or non-dairy substitute

To serve: cherry tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, avocado

Break the tofu into small pieces with your hands and crumble them. Fry in the oil over medium heat for three to four minutes, or until the water has boiled off the tofu.

Add all seasonings to the pan (including yeast, if using) and stir to coat the tofu completely. Cook for another five minutes, stirring constantly.

Once cooked, reduce the heat and add milk of your choice to the pan as needed to reduce the consistency – you can now stir in additional vegetables as well. Serve immediately.

Tip: Check the label to see if your tofu is “calcium-set” for a calcium boost.

Our adenosine levels build up during the day, which makes us feel sleepy later on. They’re generally at their lowest levels, so drinking coffee is unlikely to be as effective then – you’ll want to have it as soon as you start feeling sluggish.

Levels of the stress hormone cortisol also tend to peak upon waking – adding caffeine can then raise them further, so waiting a few hours for your cortisol spike to subside can help stave off caffeine’s anxiety-inducing effects.

I drink my coffee (and I usually stick to it so as not to disturb my sleep) at least two hours after getting up.


Whether I fry, roast or make a salad dressing, I always use extra virgin olive oil.

It is high in antioxidants linked to a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and more.

People with the highest olive oil intake (more than half a tablespoon a day) had a 19 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 17 percent lower risk of dying from cancer, compared with those who rarely or never ate olive oil, according to a review of research in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology last year.

Some people fear that cooking at high temperatures will cause extra virgin olive oil to break down into potentially harmful compounds. That’s a myth.

Research in 2018 showed that good quality extra virgin olive oil was actually more stable for home cooking (around 180c) than other oils, including sunflower oil – the plethora of antioxidants it contains stops fat breakdown.


I eat legumes — kidney beans, butter beans, lentils, chickpeas — most days because research shows they will help me live longer.

A study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2004 summarizes it in the title: ‘Legumes: the most important nutritional predictor of survival in the elderly of different ethnicities.’

Among their numerous benefits, legumes provide our gut microbes with the kind of prebiotic fiber they love to feast on. And, as you know, gut microbes are now associated with numerous health benefits, including mental well-being and weight management. Eating them regularly minimizes the bloating and flatulence they can cause as your gut gets used to them.

Did you know?

Potatoes contain a surprising amount of water; about 80 percent (only 15 percent behind celery).

You will not notice this, because when they are cooked there is a lot of water in the cells.

Water content varies, so opt for a fluffy mashed potato for lower water content varieties, such as Idaho; for a salad, new and baby, which absorb less water during cooking, helping to keep their shape.


After lunch I have two pieces of dark chocolate – I adopted this after a patient in his late 90s attributed his longevity to his daily dark chocolate habit.

Looking into it, I found a fair amount of science behind his claim. This includes a study published last year in the European Journal of Epidemiology, which found that people who eat 12 grams of chocolate a day — about two squares — are 12 percent less likely to die prematurely from all causes, compared with those who don’t. doing. don’t eat chocolate.

They were also 16 percent less likely to die from heart disease and 12 percent less likely to die from cancer.

Flavonoids, the plant compounds in the cocoa, are thought to be anti-inflammatory (inflammation is known to contribute to many common diseases).

The higher the percentage of cocoa solids, the more flavonoids the chocolate contains. If you’re not used to dark chocolate, start with 65 or 70 percent and work your way up.

I now have chocolate with 90 percent cocoa solids with a hot drink for a ‘melt in the mouth’ effect. Higher cocoa levels also mean more caffeine – so I have mine after lunch, not dinner.


At night, in bed, I take ten minutes to practice mindfulness—which is essentially a way to quiet your mind. I use the Headspace app, but there are plenty of other free options.

It helps me sleep better, but studies suggest that calming excitatory neurotransmission (when you have a lot of thoughts running through your head) can also extend your lifespan.

In bed at night, I take ten minutes to practice mindfulness, which is essentially a way to quiet your mind (File image)

At night in bed I take ten minutes to practice mindfulness – which is essentially a way to quiet your mind (File Image)

A protein in our brains (RE1-Silencing Transcription Factor, or REST), plays a role in reducing brain cell activity, which decreases the brain’s arousal.

Studies suggest that people who live longer have higher levels of the REST protein. This mechanism could explain the longevity benefits of daily brain-calming habits like mindfulness and meditation.

Now it’s time to sign off, with my last column for a while as I’m about to have my second child (wish me luck!).

But let me give you one last message for today: remember that small changes can really make a big difference.

Ask Megan

I have intestinal problems every time I eat pork. This has only recently happened; I am in my sixties. Why did I develop an intolerance to pork at this point in my life? I have also tried taking aloe vera pills and after a few days this seems to help – but is this a safe remedy?

Denise Norbury, Macclesfield, Cheshire.

The most likely explanation for your symptoms is acid reflux. The high fat content of certain cuts of pork — plus the protein — means your stomach can take longer to digest them; this puts pressure on your stomach’s trapdoor, which connects it to your esophagus, allowing stomach acid to escape into it.

The high fat content of certain cuts of pork—plus the protein—may take longer for your stomach to digest (File Image)

The high fat content of certain cuts of pork – plus the protein – means your stomach can take longer to digest them (File image)

Another (albeit rarer) possibility is that you’ve been bitten by the lone star tick – this particular tick’s saliva contains a carbohydrate called alpha-gal, and if you’ve been bitten your immune system can become sensitive to it.

The problem is that red meat (including pork) also contains alpha-gal, so when you eat red meat, the body marks it as a toxin. Essentially, the bite causes an allergy to meat (the first published case of this allergy in the UK was in 2021).

Symptoms can vary – for some it can be as severe as a peanut allergy, resulting in anaphylaxis; for others, it may be isolated by intestinal problems. If your GP suspects you have this, they may refer you to an allergist.

While aloe vera works wonders for skin healing, the evidence is less conclusive for gut-related issues, though it may help with reflux and constipation.

So if you find occasional use helpful, it’s probably harmless as long as you follow the instructions on the package and it’s a reputable brand.