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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Small Changes for a Healthier You

     So many people think they have to make huge changes in their diet and lifestyle to be healthier.   Others think they have to give up all the “good” food they eat to be healthier or they have to join a gym to get exercise.  But small changes can lead to big benefits to your health.  Jo-Ann Heslin is a registered dietitian who focuses on making small changes to a better you.  I have used some of her suggestions and added my own.  So what SMALL CHANGES can you make for a healthier you? 
  1.   Sit Less, Move More    Many studies have found that many Americans don’t necessarily eat too much but they move too little.
  •  Less TV and more movement –  if you are watching TV, get up during every commercial and move around your home.   Cut back on how much TV you watch
  •  Walk more – going to the gym is great but a walk around your neighborhood is also healthy.  Start with 15 minutes and work up to a 30 minute walk each day.   
  •   Heslin notes that  21 minutes of walking equates to 2100 steps and can burn 150 calories.   
2.         Eat a handful of nuts each day.   We always have nuts in our pantry – mixed nuts, walnuts, peanuts.   Walnuts are especially good as they are anti-inflammatory and provide the good fat, omega-3’s which are a heart healthy fat.   Just an ounce a day can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. 
3.       Eat a Rainbow of Fruits and Veggies Each Day – the rule is 5 A DAY, but more than 5 servings of fruits and veggies reaps even more health benefits.  Fruits and vegetables are not only loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber but also antioxidants.  Different colors of fruits and vegetables have different antioxidants so varying the color and having a rainbow of  colors every day is good for your health.  (Read more about the health benefits of 5 A Day at:  5 A Day)  
4.       Whole Grains Every Day – So many American diets have little to no whole grains.   Skip the white bread, the white hamburger buns, and choose whole grain breads and cereals.  (Read more about whole grains at:  Are You Eating Whole Grains?)  
5.       Eat Potassium Rich foods – there is so much focus on cutting back on sodium and that is a good thing.  However, we should also focus on eating more foods rich in potassium.  While sodium is linked to raising our blood pressure, potassium helps lower blood pressure.  Potassium rich foods include:  potatoes, oranges, tomatoes, bananas, milk, yogurt, avocados and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach.  
6.        More fish – fish is brain food and helps your memory and your reasoning skills.  Fish is also rich in omega-3’s the heart healthy fat.  Add some fish, baked or broiled, to your diet at least once a week.
So, what small changes can you make in your diet and lifestyle this week?  Small changes can add up to a healthier you.
Sources:  Live Better  Image Source:  Healthy Eating

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