Archive for December, 2012

Ring in a Healthy New Year!


We are about to welcome in a New Year once again.  If your New Year’s Resolution is to maintain your health and eat better in 2013, then these foods (and drinks) should be high on your grocery list!

Grains

Dieticians suggest that you increase your intake of oats, barley and rye in 2013.  For years, doctors have been telling patients that eating oats can bring down your cholesterol and recent studies show that rye can, too.  The American Diabetes Association has also noted that eating a diet high in fiber and grains, like rye, can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.  Adding barley to your diet, whether it is as a side dish or inside a soup or casserole, can also lower your cholesterol and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Salmon and other oily fish

If the diagnosis is to get more vitamin D this year, then get your fill with salmon and other oily fish – such as, mackerel, sardines, herring, fresh tuna, trout and anchovies.  Oily fish are some of the only food sources of vitamin D.  These fish are also good for curbing cardiovascular disease.  The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of oily fish per week, but warns against eating too much more than that because some oily fish contain mercury, which can affect your brain and nervous system.

Soy

If 2013 is your year to help reduce your risk of cancer, then soy may be your answer.  Research has shown that soy can ward off certain cancers as well as have an impact on your heart.  The Food and Drug Administration states that 25 grams of soy protein a day can reduce heart problems by helping to lower cholesterol levels.  To add soy to your diet, you can find it in soy burgers, tofu and soy milk.

Red Wine

While you will rarely hear any doctor advising that you drink any alcohol, red wine may just be the exception. Research shows that antioxidants in red wine, polyphenols, aid in protecting the lining of blood vessels in the heart.  These antioxidants come in the form of flavonoids and nonflavonoids, which red wine has more than any other food or drink.  Experts advise that you should stick to red over white wine because red grapes have 10 times more benefit to your health than white grapes. But, as with any alcohol, red wine should be enjoyed in moderation – approximately 5 ounces a day for women and 10 ounces a day for men.

Holiday Health: How to Fit in Exercise This Busy Holiday Season


December can be the busiest month of the year for many people. From holiday entertaining to endless shopping, and from visiting friends and family to all of that food, it is very easy to get off track when it comes to your diet and exercise.

But your exercise regimen doesn’t have to falter just because it’s the holiday season. Use the following tips to help keep on track when it comes to fitness this year:

• Instead of taking that leisurely stroll through the mall when you do your Christmas shopping turn that stroll into a power walk.

• Take the stairs while you are at the mall instead of using the elevator or escalator.

• Park in the lower lot of the mall and get that extra exercise by walking a little further to the mall.

• Try working out in the morning before your busy days get underway.

• Invite your house guests to work out with you so you can spend time with them and still get your exercise in.

• If you are traveling, check to see if your gym shares their membership with other gyms and try to get in a work out there. If not visit the local YMCA or get a one-time pass to the local gym.

While these are only a few tips to help you keep fit over the holidays, these are definitely a jump start in the right direction.

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday season!

Prevent Pounds by Avoiding These Winter Comfort Foods


Studies have shown that during the months of December and January, many people gain at least one pound … every year. Why? One main reason is that besides being less active during the winter months, we also turn to comfort foods to get us through those dark, dreary winter days.

In order to prevent that one pound per year weight gain that can be so hard to come off, the following foods should be avoided or at least eaten in extreme moderation:

• Macaroni and cheese
• Cream based soups and bisques
• Cream and cheese based casseroles
• Cheesecake
• Pies with whipped cream and/or ice cream
• Cookies
• French fries, chili cheese fries, onion rings
• Creamy pot pies (with pastry top and bottom)

Just by making some slight alterations and by avoiding these fattening foods you will see that you will not only feel better but you can prevent packing on those unwanted pounds, too.

Six Tips for a Stress-less Holiday Season


The holidays can be the most joyous AND the most stressful time of the year. Instead of driving yourself crazy and worrying your way through the season, use the following advice to help de-stress this year.

1. If you exchange gifts with friends, family or co-workers, decide ahead of time a pre-set spending limit that you will spend on each other. By keeping this amount in mind when you are shopping it will be less stressful to you when you are searching for that perfect gift as you can eliminate certain gifts if necessary.

2. Don’t try to do all of the cooking for your get-togethers. Instead delegate certain dishes to your different family members or guests and let them help take the stress off of you when it comes to the meal. You will not only get a break, but your guests will feel like they contributed to making the holiday special.

3. Watch your sugar intake over the holiday season. Taking in too much sugar will not only lead to bloating, but it could also lead to depression. By watching what sugary treats you eat this season you will also avoid having to lose those extra pounds that you may put on by eating those foods.

4. Teach your children the value of gift-giving and the “reason for the season.” Children do not need an abundance of gifts, instead by getting them a few memorable gifts you will be instilling in them happiness for what they do get. This will also alleviate the stress of shopping every day for those items that will only be forgotten in a few days.

5. Don’t sweat it if things aren’t “perfect.” Believe it or not, your friends and family aren’t interested in critiquing your tree, your decorations, your food or your gifts. Stop stressing about making everything perfect and realize that this holiday is about the joys of spending time together and not the other minor details.

6. Give to a charity this season. This season isn’t about what you receive, but what you can give and what better way to give than to give to those in need? Whether it is by giving food and donations to a food bank or by donating some toys to those in need, you will feel such a calming and happy feeling knowing that you are affecting the lives of people who may do without otherwise.

Happy Holidays to you and wishes for a non-stressful season!