It is 2008! And time to make some changes for your health. Well, it is always time to make positive changes, but we just seem to love the fresh start of the New Year. WebMD has five simple suggestions on how to improve your health, here are the highlights:
- Wear a Pedometer: For a low price, $15 to $30, you can measure how active you are daily. Striving to reach a goal, such as 10,000 steps at day's end, can be just the motivation you need to keep moving. I like this pedometer by VIA.
- Drink Two Cups of Tea a Day: With each sip of green or black tea, you get health-promoting substances: two potent flavonoids – anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin – an important type of antioxidant. Green tea is suspected of having some anticancer properties.
- Switch to Whole Grains: Whole grains are naturally low-fat and cholesterol free, contain 10 to 15 percent protein, and offer loads of fiber, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and more. Whole grains can help to protect you against cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, and some cancers. Switching to 100 percent whole-wheat or whole-grain bread is easy, with so many 100 percent whole-wheat products are available in supermarkets.
- Switch to Healthier Fats: When cooking, replace butter, margarine, or shortening with an oil that has more of the "better" fats and less of the "bad" fats, like saturated fat, whenever possible. When baking, if a recipe calls for adding melted butter, shortening, or margarine, that's your clue that you can switch to canola oil without changing the texture. Canola oil contributes two "smart" fats — monounsaturated fat and plant omega-3s. Olive oil is also high in desirable monounsaturated fat and low in saturated fat. Just remember to drizzle, not drench, your food in oil because even healthy oils add more than 100 calories per tablespoon.
- Cut Down on Sodium: Sodium is a problem for lots of Americans, especially those with high blood pressure. The key to cutting back is to eat fewer processed foods. Eating fewer processed foods could also make room in your diet for more fruits and vegetables, which increase potassium, a mineral that has been linked to lowering blood pressure. Buy lower-sodium versions of soups, crackers, salad dressings, and canned tomatoes whenever you can.
There are two more changes, so