Monday, February 02, 2009

9 Healthy Resolutions for 2009

Just in case your New Year's Resolutions didn't make it to see February, consider adding these to your "TO DO" list:
  • Healthy Resolution 1: Control Your Portions. Studies link smaller plates and bowls with weight loss because it helps prevent overeating.
  • Healthy Resolution 2: Get Active. Try to inject each day with more activity (adults should aim for 30 minutes daily – remember this can be broken up into segments!). The opportunities are endless once you've developed the right mindset.
  • Healthy Resolution 3: Stash the Salt. Studies show many Americans consume close to
    twice the recommended limit of sodium, which is a teaspoon, or 6 grams daily (2,400 milligrams). Try to have less than this amount. Most sodium is consumed in the form of sodium chloride which is table salt. Other forms of sodium are also found in food, so watch out for salt AND sodium. Kosher salt and sea salt are just that — salt. Don't forget to include them in adding up your sodium intake for the day. Besides contributing to water retention, sodium can raise your blood pressure. Processed foods contain the most, so make sure to read labels. Lower sodium diets are linked to decreased risk of heart disease, but are also associated with lower hypertension and weight management.
  • Healthy Resolution 4: Increase Antioxidants. Antioxidants are present in foods as
    vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and polyphenols, among others. Many antioxidants are often identified in food by their distinctive colors—the deep red of cherries and of tomatoes; the orange of carrots; the yellow of corn, mangos, and saffron; and the blue-purple of blueberries, blackberries, and grapes. The most well-known components of food with antioxidant activities are vitamins A, C, and E; β-carotene; the mineral selenium; and more recently, the compound lycopene.
  • Healthy Resolution 5: Quit Smoking. We know quitting smoking can be one of the hardest resolutions to stick. With some of the helpful resources available today, this year could just be the year you become smoke free!
  • Healthy Resolution 6: Floss Your Teeth. Harmful bacteria that lives in your mouth can lead to serious problems if you neglect your oral health. During a routine exam, your dentist can spot indications of diabetes and heart disease. One simple thing you can do to head off bacteria is floss your teeth.
  • Healthy Resolution 7: Wear Sunscreen… All Year! UV radiation comes from the sun, sunlamps, tanning beds, or tanning booths. A person's risk of skin cancer is related to lifetime exposure to UV radiation. Most skin cancer appears after age 50, but the sun damages the skin from an early age. UV radiation affects everyone. But people who have fair skin that freckles or burns easily are at greater risk. These people often also have red or blond hair and light-colored eyes. But even people who tan can get skin cancer. People who live in areas that get high levels of UV radiation have a higher risk of skin cancer. In the United States, areas in the south (such as Texas and Florida) get more UV radiation than areas in the north (such as Minnesota). Also, people who live in the mountains get high levels of UV radiation. UV radiation is present even in cold weather or on a cloudy day.
  • Healthy Resolution 8: Strength Train. Regular strength training can help you reduce your body fat, increase your lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently. Building muscle also protects your joints from injury, boosts your stamina, and can help reduce the signs of chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, depression, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis. And it might even help you get a better night's sleep.
  • Healthy Resolution 9: Expect good things from yourself. Having healthy expectations for yourself is important to both your physical and mental health. A mean inner-critic can ruin relationships, keep you from meeting personal goals, and prevent you from being an active participant in your life. Resolve to distress and have a positive outlook in circumstances beyond your control.

Source - Adapted from Reader’s Digest, ‘9 Healthy Resolutions for 2009’; Amy Zerello; Mayo Clinic, 2008


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