What Is a Healthy Diet?

What Is a Healthy DietMost Americans get very little nutrition in their daily diets. According to the President’s Council on Fitness, the typical American diet exceeds the recommended intake limits in four categories, including fats and added sugars, sodium, saturated fats, and refined grains. It also reports that most Americans eat less than the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, and 90% of all Americans eat more sodium than what is recommended for a healthy diet. However, perhaps what is most shocking is that the average calorie consumption has increased by 600 calories per day in the past four decades! If one of your goals this year is to eat a healthier diet, here are some tips for living a healthy life that will help you make better decisions every day from here on out so that you can look forward to a long and healthy future.
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How Do Vitamins Work?

How Vitamins WorkMost of us are looking for daily health tips that will help us maintain good health. That’s why millions of Americans take vitamins on a regular or at least semi-regular basis. In fact, vitamin use is so prevalent in our society that vitamin sales top 12 billion dollars annually, with their numbers growing daily. Vitamin C, vitamin A, B complex, multivitamins, women’s vitamins, men’s vitamins … the list seems endless. But what benefits are we getting from our vitamins? Are there multiple benefits from each? And does age or gender really matter when it comes to the vitamins you take? Of questions, there are many. Following is a list of the most important vitamins and how each works in the body.
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The Best Way to Eat Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and VegetablesSit up straight and eat your vegetables!  How many times did Mom nag you with this line when you were growing up?  Well, now you’re all grown up, and, if you want to slump down at the kitchen table, or rest your head on your hand while downing your cornflakes… so be it.  But, when it comes to eating your veggies, take Mom’s advice to heart.

Produce packs a punch – it’s so easy to get the doctor-recommended two to seven servings of fruits and veggies daily, but to do so, what works best for you?  How do you get the most nutrients out of the produce you choose for your drinks, snacks and meals?
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You Are What You Eat

You Are What You EatThere’s an old saying that “you are what you eat”, if that is true, you want to put the most healthful foods into your body to ensure that you stay in optimum health.  Your diet plan should be diverse, with a wide variety of nutrients and healthful substances, and, of course, you want your meals and snacks to be tasty as well.  That’s a tall order isn’t it?  But, if you follow the Government guidelines and select your meals from each of the major food groups, your reward will be good health the rest of your life.
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Health Benefits of Whole Grains

whole grainsIf you are of a certain age, you remember eating white Wonder bread as a kid.  Kids liked that soft squishy bread that Mom piled high with peanut butter and jelly.  Back in the 60s, the catch phrase for white Wonder Bread was “Wonder helps build strong bodies 12 ways” because this bread was chock full of nutrients.  Through the years, Wonder Bread has added to their product line, so, in addition to the classic white bread, you can now get the same texture of bread but in whole grain.  Mom is doubly happy to serve it to the kids and it still has that same moist texture that kids loved.
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Health Benefits of Fruit

Health Benefits of FruitThere is a popular expression people often use about “comparing apples to oranges” sometimes it is used in a rather snarky manner, as if to indicate that there are apparent differences between two items – in other words, the distinction is a “no brainer”.

Even though that delicious orange orb with its dimpled appearance versus the apple which could take on any number of appearances (red, green or yellow, not to mention some 2,500 varieties of apples grown here in the United States), those two fruits have something more important in common – they are good and good for you.
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Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Chia SeedsChances are, the mere mention of the word “chia” as in “chia seeds” will bring a giggle or two to those who fondly remember a gift called a “Chia Pet” first introduced in the early 1980s.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chia_Pet)  The novelty of the Chia Pet or Chia Head was that you had a terracotta planter and you affixed moistened chia seeds onto it, and in a few weeks’ time, the chia seeds sprouted and made “hair”.  Chia pets are still available and enjoyed a recent resurgence with chia seeds sprouting into full beards to resemble various characters from the “Duck Dynasty” show.
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Health Benefits of Omega-3

Omega-3 fishWhat if you were told that eating foods rich in Omega-3 or taking supplements of Omega-3 would guarantee that you would reap the following benefits:

  • Improved cardiovascular health, including protecting the heart from mental stress;
  • Protection from Alzheimer’s Disease;
  • Protection from vision loss, including aiding in dry-eye syndrome;
  • Reduced risk of developing prostate cancer;
  • Improved memory in healthy young adults;
  • Reduced mental health problems (especially curbing behavioral problems in youngsters);
  • Reduced seizure episodes in epileptic patients;
  • Protection from post-partum depression in new mothers;
  • Reduced symptoms of allergies and asthma;
  • Reduced risk of psychosis; and
  • Increased fetal cognitive and motor development.

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Health Risks of Processed Foods

Risks of Processed FoodsEvery time you turn around the headlines are screaming about another food recall.  E-coli, listeria, e-coli and avian flu issues have us rethinking where we dine or what we put into our grocery carts and into our mouths.  The Chipotle e-coli issues leave us less likely to be craving Mexican food at that establishment, even though they are cleared of contamination issues and back in business again.  We may want to eat healthy by eating more produce, but then we worry about listeria-contaminated lettuce or consuming supposedly “pre-washed produce” like bagged coleslaw or lettuce, only to find a large manufacturer like Dole is sweeping them off the shelves in a massive recall.  Even a treat like ice cream was contaminated with listeria causing Blue Bell, a manufacturer established way back in 1907, to halt production of this frozen treat while they determined the source of contamination.  The avian flu has us scrambling to find organic eggs or just doing without eggs altogether.
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Healthy Habits for Elementary School Kids

Healthy Habits for Elementary School KidsNothing saps your energy and keeps you from feeling your best like a head cold, no matter what the time of year.  Colds can come at any time, and flu season typically runs from October through May, peaking in February.  You must be proactive to help your kids understand how to develop healthy habits.

As soon as your child is old enough to understand that “germs are not our friend”, you should encourage your child to do the following:
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