Health Quick FixWho says there are no quick fixes when it comes to our health? In our fast-paced world, it’s good to know you can speed your way to optimal wellbeing, writes Helen Foster.

We all know that losing weight, fighting a cold or healing a broken bone can’t be done overnight but, in some instances, there are ways to speed up health results so you look, feel or perform better faster. Try these:

Find a doctor you like: and get well sooner

Why? It’s believed if you think you’ve received some sympathy, your immune system will work more efficiently. But what if you don’t get on with your GP? “A lot of problems occur because we’re not at our best when we see the doctor and they are often time pressured,” says lawyer Claire Crocker, director of Melbourne’s medical mediation service, Patient Advocate.

To make life easier, Crocker advises that if you think a standard appointment might be too short, ask if you can book a longer one and try to be positive and friendly. Write down your concerns so you don’t forget them on the day and listen carefully to your doctor’s answers. “A lot of problems occur when we misinterpret what was said or how we believe it was conveyed,” says Crocker.

And if you still aren’t happy, don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion Crocker says many people who do this find their initial diagnosis confirmed and that renews faith in their original physician.

Wash painkillers down with coffee

This should start to kill headache pain 17 minutes faster. On top of that, the pain relief will last twice as long as taking the painkiller on its own, according to research carried out by Dr Frederick Freitag, director of Headache Medicine Research at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas. “Headaches occur when blood vessels expand, and we think coffee stops pain by quickly shrinking those blood vessels,” explains Freitag.

For the best results, try the coffee-painkiller combo as soon as pain starts.

Give your baby milk you expressed last night: watch them fall asleep faster

All breast milk is not created equal. According to university researchers in Spain, the composition varies throughout the day and the milk you produce in the evening contains the highest concentration of ‘restful ingredients’. They found babies given a ‘night-time’ milk, created by adding natural sedatives found in mother’s night milk to baby formula, fell asleep faster and slept longer.

The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) says freshly expressed milk will last for three to five days if stored in the fridge. “Put it at the back of the fridge where it’s coldest,” advises the ABA’s Susan Tawia.

Take vitamin D before you begin a diet and reach your goal sooner

The better your vitamin D levels before you start a slimming plan, the more weight you’ll lose. US trials tested dieters’ vitamin D levels and found for every 1ng/ml more vitamin D they had in their blood the dieters lost almost a fifth of a kilo more in the three-month trial even though everyone on the trial was cutting the same amount of kilojoules.

In his book, The Vitamin D Cure (John Wiley & Sons, $32.95), Dr James E. Dowd says “adequate vitamin D and the calcium it helps absorb may decrease the production of fat”. Dowd says low calcium levels trigger the release of a hormone that causes fat cells to store more kilojoules as fat. When you add vitamin D to your diet, you absorb more calcium from food and this reaction is decreased.