The Caring Corner - Blog

Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Health Today!

By Emma Dickison

In celebration of National Nutrition Month, this is the second in a two-part series where I’ll share tips on how to pursue a healthier lifestyle.

In celebration of National Nutrition Month, this is the second in a two-part series where I’ll share tips on how to pursue a healthier lifestyle.

National Nutrition Month

In my last blog, I shared three simple steps to help you get started on your quest for your best self, including thinking long-term, opting for fresh instead of processed foods and planning ahead. This week, I’ll share 10 ways you can improve your health today!

  1. Drink more water: You hear it all the time, but sufficient hydration is one of the easiest ways to flush your body of toxins and keep your organs functioning at their best. It can also help control your appetite – according to an article on www.LIVESTRONG.com, researchers from Virginia Tech found that drinking 16 oz. of water before meals three times a day over a 12-week period increased average weight loss by about 5 lbs., compared with those who did not increase water intake.*
  2. Get a good night’s sleep: Insufficient sleep has been linked to several health risks, including weight gain, high blood pressure, decreased immunity, memory loss, depression, substance abuse and more. The exact amount you need depends on your age and individual needs, but the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night for adults and even more for teens and children.
  3. Opt for the real deal: Instead of drinking fruit juice, eat the fruit instead. You’ll be getting the same vitamins and minerals as the juice, with less sugar and more fiber.
  4. Don’t fear fat: Just because something says “low-fat” doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you. In fact, good fats, including omega-3s found in salmon, walnuts and avocados, are essential to your physical and emotional wellbeing. They also help satiate your appetite so you don’t overeat later on.
  5. Prep food first thing: When you get home from the grocery, take a few minutes to chop up fruits and veggies and pre-portion snacks so they’re easy to grab throughout your busy week. It’s a lot easier to make smart choices when you’re on the go if they require minimal effort.
  6. Make food fun: Tantalize your taste buds with new, healthy recipes, rather than eating the same boring meals over and over again.
  7. Spice things up: Rather than dousing your dinner in fatty condiments, like butter and mayonnaise, liven up your entrée with fresh salsas, herbs and spices. They’re usually low in fat and calories, and high in fiber and antioxidants. Plus, you can grow many of them in your own garden, making them free and convenient!
  8. Everything in moderation: Trying to eliminate a certain food from your diet will likely backfire because you’ll overeat other foods in an attempt to satisfy your craving. Instead, save your favorite “forbidden” food for special occasions – holidays, your birthday or simply the end of the work week!
  9. Savor each bite: A study published in the “Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism” found that those who ate slower felt more satisfied with less. Gather together with friends and family for your next meal and enjoy one another’s company rather than mindlessly munching while multitasking.
  10. Grab a buddy: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is much easier and a lot more fun with a friend or family member. You’ll help keep each other motivated and accountable for your progress. A Home Helpers caregiver can also help to ensure you and your loved ones are eating a well-balanced diet by helping with the grocery shopping and meal preparation.

Food is not only fuel; it’s meant to be enjoyed!

*Reported at the 2010 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society