Amp up Your Health
Clients frequently ask me for a down and dirty guide to helping improve their overall health. And while there are many factors I think they could focus on, in my opinion, the following five factors are the most important.
Vegetables and Fruits: Remember the old adage of eating the rainbow. Fill your plate with as many different vibrantly hued fruits and vegetables as you can. These nutritional powerhouses offer your body a host of benefits including fiber, cancer fighting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and an amazing number of health promoting phytonutrients. If half of your plate is filled with fruit and vegetables at each meal, you are on the right track. In particular, leafy greens pack a powerful nutritional punch with very few calories.
Focus on Healthy Fats: Research has shown that the old idea of focusing on low fat foods for optimal health has been proven wrong. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that fat is necessary to our health, particularly omega 3 fatty acids. Omega -3′s are an essential fatty acid, meaning our body cannot produce them on its own. These inflammation fighting fats must be obtained from our diet. The benefits of omega-3s are well documented in the scientific literature. Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet contains entirely too many Omega-6 fats from vegetable oils and processed foods. We want to strive for a 1:1 balance of omega-3’s to omega-6’s. Eating 2 deck of card sized servings of fatty fish like salmon, lake trout, herring or mackerel a week should give you all the omega-3’s you need.
Squeeze in movement whenever you can: Take the stairs. Park at the end of the parking lot and walk to the door. Do a few squats at the beginning of every hour. Research has shown that sitting for long periods of time can be as detrimental to our health as smoking. Even for those of us who get a workout in every day, moving as often as possible throughout the day is important.
Eat Mindfully: Mindful eating is eating with attention to the food you are putting in your mouth. It allows you to be fully present in the experience of eating. It requires you to pay attention to the sight, sound, texture, flavors and taste of your food. Put aside the phones, computers, newspapers and TV’s so you can listen to the cues your body is providing about satiety, making it more likely you will stop eating before you become over full.
Avoid Processed Foods: Processed foods include anything that comes in a package or has been altered from its natural state. (Think chips, cookies, white bread, frozen foods or canned soups.) Processed foods often contain harmful chemicals our bodies don’t recognize, rancid oils, too much salt, inflammation producing vegetable oils and trans fats . Read the labels on your food carefully, if you see an ingredient you don’t recognize, return it to the store shelf.