Food/Nutrition Columnist
Need A New Year’s Resolution – Try One of These
Dec 30, 2013 - 12:07:05 AM

( - Keep moving - Good work, nearly 20% of Americans are meeting the federal government's physical activity recommendation for both aerobic and muscle strengthening activities. 50% are meeting the aerobic activity guidelines - walking, jogging, bike riding - and 30% are involved in strength training activities each week. As a nation we are heading in the right direction. Are you?

Lead a healthy lifestyle, it minimizes stress - People with stressful jobs who also lead an unhealthy life - smoking, not exercising, and drinking alcohol regularly - have a greater risk for heart disease. You may not be able to change your level of stress but you can change the way you live - stop smoking, exercise more, drink less, and eat well. Healthy habits can reduce the risk of heart disease by 50%.

Cook more and brown bag lunch -- take-out less - Over one-quarter of young adults, 18 to 34 who live in cities buy lunch every day. Three-quarters of this group eat out at least twice a week and close to that number order take-out twice a week. It is harder to control calories, sodium and fat when someone else does your cooking.

Walk your blood sugar down - Walking for 15 minutes after a meal lowered blood sugar for 24 hours. Short bouts of walking are an easy way to help control blood sugar, especially for older adults at greater risk of type 2 diabetes. Take a walk after lunch.

Pregnant? Take iron each day - Iron deficiency is the most widespread nutrition deficiency in the world and common during pregnancy. A daily iron supplement during pregnancy can reduce the chance of early delivery and low birth weight, as well as improve the mother's health.

Eat the Mediterranean way. The Mediterranean diet - rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and healthy fats -- protects both your heart and your brain. The PREDIMED study in Spain showed the Mediterranean Diet, supplemented with nuts or extra virgin olive oil, lowers your risk of heart disease. In a subset of this larger study it was found that those who followed the Mediterranean Diet had less dementia and a reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease.

Eat your polyphenols every day. These naturally occurring, powerful compounds found in fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, nuts, beans, whole grains and olive oil will help you live a longer, healthier life.

Overweight? Aim to lose 10% of your current weight. Losing just 10% of your current weight - 15 pounds for someone who weighs 150 pounds or 30 pounds if the scale tips in at 300 pounds - is all that is needed to lower blood sugar, lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and improve your sex life.

Use the stairs. Taking an escalator up 3 flights burns 3 calories. Walking up 3 flights burns more than 20 calories.

Eat your meals at approximately the same time each day. Researchers compared people who ate on an irregular schedule to those who ate meals at about the same time each day. They found that those with a more regular eating pattern had lower blood sugar, lower cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Eat more fiber. Read food labels. High fiber foods have 5 or more grams of fiber in a serving. A good source of fiber has 2 or more grams in a serving. Less than 4% of American eats enough fiber each day. Every gram you eat counts. Add a little fiber to your life.

Eat an apple every day. It truly will keep the doctor away. Apples provide a great deal of chewing satisfaction, along with the soluble fiber pectin which is effective in controlling appetite and lowering cholesterol. Eating an apple also boosts your fruit and vegetable intake by 1 serving.

Do not follow celebrity medical advice. Your doctor or other health care professionals are trained to give you accurate, current health and medical information. Celebrities, however passionate they may be about a treatment or cure, have little if any medical training. Let celebrities entertain you and let your doctor provide reputable health information.

© NRH Nutrition Consultants, Inc.

Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and the author of the nutrition counter series for Pocket Books with sales of more than 8.5 million books.

Look for:

The Diabetes Counter, 5th Ed., 2014

The Fat and Cholesterol Counter, 2014

The Most Complete Food Counter, 3rd ed., 2013

The Calorie Counter, 6th Ed., 2013

The Complete Food Counter, 4th ed., 2012

The Protein Counter, 3rd Ed., 2011

The Ultimate Carbohydrate Counter, 3rd Ed., 2010

The Healthy Wholefoods Counter, 2008

Your Complete Food Counter App:

For more information on Jo-Ann and her books, go to:


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