I have in my hand, easy fixes for some of your toughest problems – like heart disease, depression, and acid reflux. But there won’t be any pill popping. Here are the essentials you need to be healthier and happier according to the experts:

  • First, let’s talk about lowering your risk of heart disease. According to Dr. Karen Allen from State University of New York at Buffalo, having a pet can lower your risk of heart disease as much as a low-salt diet. It’s all down to oxytocin – a nurturing hormone that’s released when we connect closely with another living thing. Which pet is best? There’s no difference between the effects of a dog or cat – and researchers have found that even a goldfish, snake, or a parrot can have the same results. And as well as lowering your risk of heart disease, a pet lowers your stress level and blood pressure.
  • On to acid reflux. Buy a bigger pair of jeans! That’s the word from gastroenterologist Dr. William Dickey. He says that tight jeans can cause indigestion, heartburn, and acid reflux. That’s not all. British research found a link between too-tight pants and endometriosis – which can cause pelvic pain and infertility in women! The solution, get custom made jeans! Get yourself a tape measure and you can have affordable jeans made to order – $37 from Target.com, $54 from LandsEnd.com, or $39 from MakeYourOwnJeans.com.
  • And if you want to fight off depression, get together with your best friend. How much does having a best friend matter? Put it this way, according to a Harvard study, not having one is as harmful to a woman’s health as smoking or being overweight. Other studies show that people are less likely to become depressed by major life changes when they have someone close to turn to. And psychologist Dr. Karen Gail Lewis says people who don’t have a close friendship are more likely to find life meaningless. If you’re having trouble finding friends, try a site like MeetUp.com, which helps people with common interests unite. From stay-at-home moms to sci fi lovers.