Tag Archives: healthy lifestyle

8 Myths and Facts About Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits-and-VegetablesWe all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us. However, you’ve probably heard some things about fruits and veggies that are touted as facts but aren’t necessarily entirely true. Many rumors were started when low-carb diets became the latest trend. The natural “sugar” in fruit and the starch in potatoes also got a bad rap.

Here are some of the common myths about fruits and vegetables, as well as the facts you should know:

Myth 1: Fresh is best
Many people believe that only fresh fruits and vegetables count toward your daily intake. In fact, all fresh, dried, and frozen fruits and veggies can be used to make up your daily allowance of fruits and vegetables. All forms are full of essential nutrients. The most important thing is that you eat them!

Myth 2: Juice is bad
Consuming 100% juice is nutritious for you and an easy way to add fruits and veggies to your healthy diet. However, drinking all your fruits and veggies doesn’t cut it. You should mix in other sources fruits and vegetables into your diet.

Myth 3: Organic is more nutritious
In fact, there is no proof that organic fruits and vegetables are more nutritious for you than traditionally harvested fruits and vegetables. If you are concerned about consuming pesticides, the risk associated with consuming them is far less than the risk of not eating enough fruits and veggies.

Myth 4: Potatoes are fattening
When potatoes are dripping with butter, bacon and high-fat cheese or deep-fried, then they are full of calories, fat and cholesterol. A plain medium potato can actually help with weight loss. Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, B6 and fiber. And, potatoes have more potassium  than bananas.

Myth 5: Colorful fruits and veggies are better
In general this is a good rule to follow, but white foods have appealing nutritional values, too. Cauliflower is full of antioxidants, vitamin C and folate. Mushrooms and cabbage also provide many vitamins and minerals.

Myth 6: Vegetarian diets are lacking
Research has shown that vegetarian diets and lifestyles can lead to maintaining optimal health and having a longer life expectancy. The key to a healthy diet is providing your body with a balanced amount of nutrients, carbohydrates, protein and fat.

Myth 7: Sugar in fruits is bad
Fruits do contain sugar, but this is different than the added sugar in many of our processed foods. Added sugar lacks the multiple health benefits of fruits, such as phenols, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Myth 8: Fruits and veggies are expensive
Even on a budget, you can include fruits and vegetables in your regular diet. You may even find that buying fruits and veggies is less expensive that some of the more processed foods that come in boxes and packages.

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, what matters most is MORE. Americans overall are not eating enough fruits and veggies, and studies are showing they have an even greater role in human health than we once believed. Enjoy your fruits and vegetables in every color of the rainbow every day!

16 Habits of Extremely Healthy People

healthy-life-sign-250x165As we head into cold and flu season, I wonder how some people always seem to stay so healthy. I blame my kids for spreading germs, but I’d like to think there are things we can do to stay healthier during the fall and winter months.

Real health is about more than just the physical aspects of wellness. It encompasses much more. You need to include your mental, emotional and spiritual health in your plans for a healthy lifestyle.

While there’s no magic plan or potion that will guarantee your health, you can take steps to increase your overall health. In the process, you may also boost your immune system to ward off those pesky cold and flu germs.

Here are 16 habits that healthy people incorporate into their daily lives:

Look on the bright side
Healthy people are optimistic. They don’t waste time and energy complaining. If they need to make a change in there lives, they do it. A positive mental attitude goes along way to promoting and supporting other healthy behaviors.

Commit to a healthy life
Healthy people aren’t born that way. They have made a choice to live a healthy lifestyle. They take it one day at a time just like the rest of us. Do healthy people slip up and revert to bad habits occasionally? Absolutely. However, they know not to let one setback hold them back and continue to actively work toward living a healthy life.

Eat for nourishment
Eating right isn’t just about what you eat. It’s also about how much you eat. Your body will let you know when you’ve had enough. Healthy people pay attention to their bodies and listen when it tells them they are full. You can stop eating when your hunger is satisfied, and before that bloated, full feeling sets in.

Believe in moderation
Healthy people don’t deprive themselves of the foods they love. They eat healthy the majority of the time, but enjoy their favorite unhealthy foods once in a while without feeling guilty. Eat a couple pieces of pizza or have a cookie. Just remember to stay on your healthy course the rest of the time!

Enjoy exercise
I am not here yet. Healthy people actually enjoy exercising. How do they do it? They spend time doing exercises they actually like doing and avoid those they hate. If you hate to run, don’t run. If you don’t like going to a gym, don’t go. Find things you like to do: taking walks outdoors, swimming laps, riding your bike or doing yoga.

Balance work and play
With technology taking over our lives, many people never really clock out from their jobs. You may check emails from your phone or send work texts at dinner. Healthy people know that work is important, but they also know that our health suffers when we don’t take time for us. Make sure you maintain a good balance between work and play.

Drink water
Everyone knows they should drink more water, but healthy people actually do it. Drinking at least six, eight-ounce glasses of water a day can help you in so many ways. You can control your appetite, avoid dehydration and be more mentally attuned. Keep a refillable water bottle with you everywhere you go.

Eat healthy snacks
Snacking can make or break your health goals. Healthy people choose snacks like vegetables, fruits, almonds and other nuts. Replace processed snack foods with raw types of snacks, and you’ll develop an important healthy habit.

Reduce stress
Some stress is a good thing. It keeps us on task and prepares us to handle important challenges. But, chronic stress can be bad for your overall health. It can even weaken your immune system. Take time to relax and do things you enjoy. Say no to stress!

Get enough sleep
Without enough sleep, your immune system doesn’t have the resources it needs to fight off illness. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Keep a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine at bedtime, relax and make your bedroom an oasis.

Just say no
Healthy people are attuned to their own needs. You can say no to friends and loved ones. It means that you are respecting yourself. When you’ve reached your limit, listen to your mind and body, and say no. Your friends and family will understand.

Kick bad habits
If you smoke or drink alcohol, it can weaken your immune system. Smoking is also likely to give you additional health problems. While a glass of wine or a couple of beers is okay, overdoing it can cause you to get sick more often.

Get a pet
Dogs and other pets aren’t just good to have as companions. They can help you get exercise and improve your health. Pets have been found to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, contributing to a healthier heart. Dogs can also be good for your immune system and help you relieve stress.

Have a laugh
Laughing can be good for you. Research as shown that laughter may help boost your immune system. Laughing and smiling also help relieve stress and put you in a good mood.

Live in the moment
Take time to enjoy life’s little pleasures. Be thankful for everything that is good in your life. The ability to appreciate the things you have, regardless of what else might be going on, helps you maintain a peaceful mindset rather than focus on what you don’t have.

Be kind
Healthy people treat others how they want to be treated. Creating a habit of kindness and respect will make you feel good about yourself and build strong relationships with your friends and family. Small acts of goodness can change your life – and can impact someone else’s life, too. Be compassionate, and you’ll give off a healthy glow!

6 Ways to Improve Your Brain Health

crossword_background_001I worry about my brain. As the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia increases, I want to do more to protect my memory and cognitive function.

While we wait for a cure for Alzheimer’s or better treatments for dementia, what can you do to help prevent the diseases? You can lead a more brain-healthy lifestyle that can slow down the process of deterioration. No matter what your age, you can take steps now to keep your brain healthy.

Here are 6 ways to start improving your brain health today:

Stay active
Physical activity is a valuable part of living a more balanced life and can also lower the risk of cognitive decline. According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, physical exercise reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 50%.

In addition to protecting against Alzheimer’s and dementia, creating a regular exercise routine can also boost your mood, increase energy levels and reduce stress.

Read more about the benefits of exercise.

Eat a healthy diet
Your brain needs a nutritious diet to perform at its best. Make sure you are eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats. Focus on creating good eating habits that reduce inflammation and provide a steady supply of fuel.

Here are more diet tips to keep your brain healthy and protected:

  • Follow a Mediterranean diet – This approach to healthy eating includes a balanced diet rich in fish, whole grains, nuts, olive oil and fresh produce.
  • Avoid trans fats and saturated fats – You should reduce your intake of full-fat dairy products, red meat, fried foods, fast food and processed foods.
  • Eat heart-healthy options – If you’re following a diet plan that’s good for your heart, it’s also going to be good for your brain. When you reduce your risk of heart disease, you’re also helping protect your brain.
  • Add omega-3 fats – Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Eat cold-water fish, such as salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel and sardines.

Keep mentally active
When you continue to learn new things and challenge your brain throughout life, you are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia. It’s a good idea to follow the “use it or lose it” approach. Activities that involve multiple tasks or include different types of stimulation, such as communicating, interacting and organization, will offer the greatest benefits and protection.

Here are more ways to exercise your brain.

Have a social life
We are social creatures. Relationships are important to our health. If you are isolated, you’re not thriving and neither is your brain. Studies show that the more connected we are and the more relationships we have, we test better for memory and cognition.

Do you have trouble making friends? Here are a few ways to build a strong support system and develop new relationships.

  • Volunteer – There are so many great causes you can support and giving back is good for your health!
  • Make weekly plans with friends – Take the initiative and get together with friends. You can go to the movies, visit the park, creating a walking group, or check out local museums.
  • Take a class – Join a gym or sign up for classes at a local college. It’s a great way to meet new people and stimulate your brain.
  • Get to know your neighbors – You may have people nearby who have similar interests to you. Make it a point to know your neighbors.

Manage your stress
Chronic stress takes a toll on the body as well as on your brain. Stress can lead to shrinkage in key memory areas of the brain, hamper nerve cell growth and increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

There are many things you can do to prevent stress and keep your stress levels in check. Even the foods you eat can help you control stress.

Get plenty of sleep
Your brain needs to rest. A good night’s sleep helps your brain function at maximum capacity. When you don’t get enough sleep, you are cranky and tired. Lack of sleep also impairs your ability to think, solve problems and store or recall information. Deep, REM state sleep is important for memory formation and retention. Most adults need at least 8 hours of sleep per night. If you’re getting less sleep than that, your health, productivity and creativity can suffer.

To protect your brain health, embrace a balanced lifestyle that will improve your overall health. A balanced life includes exercising, eating a nutritious diet, establishing good relationships, reducing stress, and getting plenty of sleep.

Top 9 Exercise Excuses and How to Overcome Them

exerciseI don’t like to exercise. I will probably never truly enjoy exercising. However, I know that regular physical activity is an important part of living a balanced life. Exercise is good for the mind, body and soul.

I know that I should work out. I have discovered that the reasons we don’t exercise may not be what we really think. What is really preventing you from sticking to your exercise routine?

Here are the top 9 excuses why you don’t exercise and how you can overcome them:

“I’m not motivated.”
This is probably the most common excuse. Many of us think that lack of motivation is why we can’t stick to an exercise routine. If we wanted it enough, we would make it happen. However, that’s not true. If you wish you exercised more, then you are motivated to exercise. Something else is stopping you. It may be one of the excuses below.

“I don’t like going to the gym.”
Many of us are uncomfortable going to the gym and exercising in front of other people. There’s the show-offs, the machine-hoggers, and the grunters. It may be a matter of finding a gym that fits your needs and personality. You can also set up your own home gym and avoid the crowds, or exercise outside.

“It’s too time consuming.”
You may think you need to exercise for 30 or 45 minutes at a time to get any results. If you get hung up on a number, then you’ll feel like you failed if you don’t reach that goal. Maybe you’re only able to take a 10 minute walk at lunch. It counts! Then, you play soccer in the yard with the kids for 15 minutes in the evening. Maybe the next day you hit the treadmill for an hour. If you avoid putting expectations on your exercise, you will feel good every time you do something active.

“I look bad in exercise clothes.”
Even super-models have things they don’t like about their bodies. You may wish your belly didn’t bulge quite so much or worry about your upper arms flapping when you jog. You may have bad memories from gym class as a kid. We all have body issues. At some point, you have to own and be happy with what you have. The important thing is to be healthy and have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re taking care of your body.

“I don’t want to give up my free time.”
You may think you’re too busy to exercise. Or, you may feel that the time you spend exercising will take away from time you could spend doing things you enjoy. If you make exercise a priority, you can find a way to fit it into your life right now. If you wait for your schedule to open up, it will never happen.

“I am too out of shape.”
When you haven’t been exercising regularly, you know that it’s going to be difficult when you first start out. You’ll be out of breath, fatigued and sore the next day. Start out slow and work your way up. Set small goals for yourself and then create more challenging goals as things get easier.

“It costs too much.”
You can spend a lot of money on fitness. If you enlist a personal trainer, stock up on designer workout clothes or buy multiple exercise machines, it can add up. You can skip the expensive activities and stick to a budget.

“I’m not losing any weight.”
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of living a balanced life. However, if you’re only focused on weight loss, you may miss out on the other great benefits of exercising. Regular physical activity decreases your risk of many diseases, increases your life span, improves energy and helps you sleep. Focus on achieving fitness goals, such as jogging a mile or biking 5 miles.

“It hurts.”
Exercise can be uncomfortable when you start out or if you challenge yourself to step it up. However, exercise doesn’t have to be painful. Make sure you stretch before and after exercising. Warm up slowly and gradually increase your intensity over time. While a little soreness is okay, if you feel like you can’t breathe or become overly fatigued, slow down to a more comfortable pace.

I will probably always have a love / hate relationship with exercise. Yet, physical activity is key to creating a healthy lifestyle and achieving a more balanced life. The important thing is to find something you enjoy and keep moving!

10 Ways to Improve Your Memory

notepad-1066735-mDo you lose track of your car keys? Walk into a room and have no idea why you’re there? Can’t remember the name of your child’s teacher?

I recently read that our modern lifestyle plays a significant role in contributing to our memory and brain function. Our exposure to toxins, chemicals, an unhealthy diet, poor sleep habits and stress can actually hinder our ability to remember.

A healthy lifestyle can support your brain health and even help your brain grow new neurons. This process is called neurogenesis.

By simply making healthier choices, here are 10 ways you can improve your memory:

Stay hydrated
Your brain is 75% water so even mild dehydration means that your brain tissues are shrinking, and you may experience mild loss of cognitive function. You may have heard, “Drink when you’re thirsty.” However, when you feel thirsty, you’re already becoming dehydrated. You should shoot for 8 glasses of water a day. Of course, if you exercise or work outside in hot weather, you should drink even more. Learn more about the benefits of drinking water.

Eat real food
I often cook from a box, package or can. Prepackaged foods almost always contain unhealthy ingredients that aren’t good for your brain. The best diet consists of real food. Unprocessed food helps you avoid those chemicals and toxins that can hinder your memory function. Artificial sweeteners and MSG are both known to adversely affect your brain health. Here are some tips for swapping junk food for healthy food.

Cut back on sugar
Brain cells use twice as much energy as other cells, and they get most of this energy from glucose. Your brain cells can’t store energy, so they need a steady supply of glucose. That means you should eat more sugar, right? No, the key part of the equation is a steady supply. Real sugar, including high fructose corn syrup and maple syrup, is hard on your brain and memory. They send your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride of spikes and dips. Too much refined sugar leads to poor memory formation, learning disorders and depression. It also impacts your attention span and mood. Here are more reasons to limit sugar.

Keep the fat
Many diets want you to cut out the fat. However, some fats are good for you. Not to mention, your brain is made mostly of fat. It needs healthy fats, such as the type you get from nuts, avocados, oily fish and olive oil. About 25% of your body’s cholesterol is found in the brain. Low fat diets have had a disastrous affect on our brains. We need good fats for overall health, as well as memory function.

Get more sleep
Sleep has so many health benefits. Getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep shouldn’t be considered sleeping in. You should strive to sleep 8 hours every night for your overall health and mental well-being. During sleep, your brain repairs itself, gets rid of toxins and consolidates memories. Lack of good sleep will impair your memory, creativity, judgment and attention span. Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep.

Stop multitasking
We’ve written before that there is no such thing as multitasking. You are simply switching from one task to another. Trying to multitask may actually slow you down, make you more prone to errors and make you more forgetful. You need about 8 seconds to actually commit a piece of information to memory. So, if you’re talking on the phone while bringing in the groceries, you are more likely to forget where you laid down your car keys.

Stay active
Our bodies are meant to move, yet you may spend 10-12 hours a day sitting. All this sitting can lead to memory lapses, brain shrinkage and cognitive decline. Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body, including your brain. Exercise also moves more oxygen and nutrients to your brain. Getting more physical activity can help keep your memory sharp. Here are more benefits of regular exercise.

Reduce stress
Prolonged stress leads to anxiety, depression, poor decisions, insomnia and memory loss. Too much of the stress hormone cortisol can lead to a surplus of free radicals. These free radicals can cause your brain to shrink by punching holes in the brain cell walls and causing them to rupture and die. The next time you’re getting stressed out, take a deep breath and remember that you’re killing brain cells. Here are some more ways to reduce stress.

Check your medicine cabinet
A number of medications can affect memory, including antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and sleep aids. Don’t stop taking any prescription medicines without talking to your doctor, but if you’re concerned about your memory function it may be something to bring up at your next visit.

Keep learning
People who are cognitively active will have better memory as they age. How do you keep your brain going strong? Stay engaged in the world. Play games that make you think. Do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle. Find ways to challenge your memory. For instance, if you meet someone new, make up a way to remember his or her name. Here are 16 Ways to Exercise Your Brain.

Your lifestyle and habits impact every part of your life, including your memory and brain function. A healthy, balanced lifestyle can improve your memory, mood and well-being. It’s just another reason to live a balanced life!

9 Myths and Facts About Weight Loss

scale-series-4-1077712-mFor all the information that’s available about dieting and exercise, we still have a lot of misconceptions about weight loss. Sometimes, the research and studies about weight loss even contradict each other.

I read a study that said you have to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound. It has since been found that there are many variables that can affect weight loss, including age, weight, height, sex and body fat.

The biggest problem we have as Americans is that we want a quick fix and instant gratification. However, there is no magic way to lose weight and maintain it. The best results are achieved when you find balance in all areas of your life and achieve a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, eating right, reducing stress, getting plenty of sleep, breaking bad habits and setting goals for success.

Here are 9 myths about weight loss and the facts that will help you live a healthier lifestyle:

Myth: Snacking is always bad for you.
The idea that you shouldn’t eat between meals is a myth. The problem with snacking is that you may be making poor food choices. Grabbing something from a vending machine will most likely be a fattening treat. The fact is that snacking between meals may actually help you eat less. The key is to eat nutritious foods – such as a moderate amount of fruits, vegetables, nuts or yogurt. Snacking can also keep you from overeating because you won’t feel like you’re starving when you finally eat a meal.

Myth: The secret to weight loss is removing one type of food from your diet.
Any diet plan that removes a specific food – or requires that you to focus on one type of food – will fail in the long run. You may have tried to cut fat, carbs, dairy or gluten. You may lose weight initially because you are eating fewer calories, but eventually you will replace it with something else. The key is to eat a balanced diet of all sorts of healthy foods.

Myth: Eat breakfast to lose weight.
This myth isn’t completely black and white. While I do believe that breakfast helps jump start your metabolism and allows you to begin the day feeling full and satisfied, it depends on what you eat. A bowl of oatmeal with fruit and a piece of whole-wheat toast will satisfy your hunger without loading on calories. A full breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast and orange juice will jump up your daily calorie intake.

Myth: Everyone gains and loses weight the same way.
Studies of twins have shown that people gain and lose weight in different ways. Some people gain weight more easily than others, while some must work harder than the average person to burn it off. Try not to compare your weight loss efforts and success to someone else. Each person should set his or her own expectations and plans for losing weight.

Myth: All carbs are bad.
While eliminating all bread won’t help you magically shed weight, changing the type of bread you eat may help. There are good carbs and bad carbs. While all bread is high in calories, white bread doesn’t offer much nutrition. Whole-grain bread is high in fiber and provides more nutritional value. You can also enjoy the carbs found in fruits, vegetables, beans and other whole grains.

Myth: No more fast food.
You can still eat fast food and lose weight. It’s about portion control and making healthy choices. You can get a salad, grilled chicken, whole grain tacos or flat bread. Ask for sauces or dressings on the side, or scrape them off as much as you can.

Myth: Eating fat makes you fat.
Once again, it comes down to the type of fat. Some fat is actually food for you. Animal fat and saturated fat have been linked to weight gain and health problems, such as heart disease and high cholesterol. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats, like olive oil, have been found to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Myth: Don’t eat before bed.
It’s not eating before bed that is an issue – it’s what you eat before bed that may cause a problem. We tend to grab unhealthy snacks, like cookies, cake, ice cream or movie theater butter popcorn late at night. It comes down to how many calories you eat each day. Snacking before bed is fine if you make healthy, low calorie choices.

Myth: Just exercise and you’ll shed pounds.
Cutting calories by adjusting what you eat is the best way to lose weight. However, many of us think that because we exercise we can eat whatever we want. In addition, exercising may make you more hungry and then you eat more. Exercise alone won’t make you drop pounds. Keep in mind that drinking a can of soda can be 140 calories. It takes 30 minutes of moderate walking to burn it off. The best option is a healthy, lower calorie diet with regular aerobic exercise, strength training and stretching.

When it comes to diet and exercise, the one thing you can count on is new weight loss schemes coming out every day. The secret to losing weight and maintaining it is finding the right balance between exercise and healthy eating that works for you!

8 Tips to Prevent the Effects of Aging

hands-833821-mAs I notice more gray hairs and wrinkles, I worry about getting older. I recently glanced at myself when I passed a mirror and realized I could see a resemblance to my grandma. When did I get that old?

Aging is unavoidable. As morbid as it sounds, we are in the process of dying from the day we are born. Our genes are just not equipped to keep our bodies alive forever. One theory is that our ancestors lived short, dangerous lives. They passed on their genes to their children when they were young and fit. As a part of natural selection, the genes that counter the effects of aging were not all that important.

Even just a century ago, life spans were around 50 years. Today, the average life span has risen to over 77 years for men and almost 82 for women. Modern medicine and better healthcare have extended our lives, but aging is still inevitable.

First, let’s take a look at the common changes that are a normal part of the aging process.

Thinning hair and skin
Some of the first changes you may notice as you age happens with your hair and skin. Your hair turns gray, becomes more porous and starts to thin. Your skin loses its elasticity and becomes thin. Lines become more pronounced and muscles lose flexibility.

Shrinking bones and muscles
With age, your bones shrink in size and density. They become more weak and susceptible to fracture. You might get shorter. Muscles also lose strength and flexibility, and you may have trouble balancing.

Heart issues
Your heart rate slows down and your heart might become bigger. Your blood vessels and arteries become stiffer. Your heart has to pump harder to move blood through your body.

Failing eyes and ears
Your eyes produce fewer tears, the retina thins and the iris stiffens making the lens of your eye cloudy. At the same time, the walls of your auditory canal thins and the eardrum thickens. You may gradually experience hearing loss.

Slow digestion
The entire process of digestion slows down as we age. Your intestinal function diminishes causing digestion to slow down and bowel function to change. The muscles around the esophagus weaken. You may start to experience more acid reflux. Even your teeth shifting as you age can affect digestion.

Decreased metabolism
Your metabolism will slow down as you age, leading to weight gain and sluggishness. You may feel tired more quickly. Your body just isn’t as efficient at breaking down and using calories as it once was.

Memory problems
After about 30, your brain begins to lose neurons. As we age, the speed at which we process information slows down. Also, certain types of memory start to decline. For instance, you may have trouble recalling names or thinking of a particular word. But this has nothing to do with your ability to think or your normal mental functioning.

So, now that you’re completely freaked out by the process of aging, what can you do to prevent or slow down the affects of aging? Can you be doing more to live a long, healthy life? The answer is “Yes.”

Here are 8 tips for preventing or diminishing the effects of aging:

Get moving
We often talked about the importance of exercise in this blog. Cardiovascular exercise combined with strength training will rev up your metabolism and build muscle. You will control your weight and move more easily. Keeping the weight down can help stave off a whole host of chronic health problems and diseases.

Make healthy food choices
Nourish your body from the inside out. Get your nutrition from the kitchen rather than a pill. You need to eat fruits and vegetables every day to give you the antioxidants you need to fight disease. Good nutrition also aids in digestion and helps you maintain a healthy weight.

Drink water
Get six to eight glasses of water a day. When you feel thirsty, your cells are actually crying out for water. Your skin, bones, muscles, kidneys, digestion, metabolism and heart all depend on water to function properly.

Laugh
Laughing releases “feel good” endorphins that help boost immunity and reduce stress levels. Boisterous laughter expands blood vessels and improves blood flow. Laughing can improve your mood and overall outlook on life.

Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is extremely important to your overall well-being. Lack of sleep can make your more hungry, add to your stress and slow down your metabolism. A good night’s sleep can help you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day. It can also improve your health and promote longevity.

Manage stress
Chronic stress can take a toll on your body as well as your mind and soul. It can impact your mood and relationships. Stress can be harmful to your heart and your health in general. When you’re stressed, you are less likely to stick to your healthy habits.

Be social
Spending time with friends and family can help ward off depression and stress. You are more likely to laugh and enjoy yourself. We need relationships to find balance, stay more physically active and stimulate our brains.

Sharpen the mind
Just like keeping your body active, it’s important to stimulate your mind. Read, work crossword puzzles, find new interests and hobbies or write in a journal. Your mind needs a good workout every day, too.

You have a choice in how your body ages. By adopting habits that lead to a more balanced life, you can have an impact on the aging process. Continue to make gradual changes until they become part of your lifestyle. You can create a healthier, longer life!