Tag Archives: health

Simple Ways to Improve Your Eating Habits

Diet culture or societal beliefs that encourage restriction of food to get a leaner body are some of the ways people approach eating. Research shows that restrictive diet rarely results in long-term weight loss. Experts say that if you are in good health, you don’t necessarily need to severely  restrict your food choices.

According to the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 85% of your food should be focused on helping your body and leaving the rest for things you enjoy. It’s important to consult a doctor if you have restrictions on your diet related to health conditions.

If you’re trying to rethink your approach to food in the new year, experts suggest using the following three strategies to do it better.

It’s important to listen to your cravings and think about what you haven’t had in a while that will make you feel good. Allow yourself to have a little–remember you get that 15% indulgence!

The human body can tell you when to eat and when to stop, but diet culture has messed with those signals. Slow down, take your time with your meal, listen to the cues your body is giving and don’t over eat. Body-signal driven portion control can help reduce caloric intake.

Restricting what and how much you eat, like telling yourself you can’t have that burger or ice cream instead of allowing yourself to enjoy a treat, is behavior that can lead to eating more than you’re comfortable with later to make up for it.

Use all of your senses to appreciate what you’re eating. Much like listening your body for when to stop eating, use your senses to fully appreciate everything about the food you are eating–this will likely lead to your eating healthy and better prepared food. It will slow down your eating.

A Little Avocado Can Help Your Heart

According to a new study men and women who at avocados instead of butter, cheese or processed meat had reduced risk of heart attack.

Insight into reducing cardiovascular disease couldn’t come at a more important time as it is a leading cause of death worldwide. About 18 million people die from cardiovascular disease every year according to the WHO. The CDC in the United States claims it takes a life every 36 seconds.

Study participants who had at least two servings of avocado a week reduced their risk of heart attack by 21% compared to those who avoided or rarely ate avocados. There was not, however, any reduction in the occurrence of stroke. The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study defined a serving of avocado a half an avocado or half a cup of avocado which is about 80 grams in weight.

Experts from the American Heart Association did warn that no one “super food” is a replacement for eating a healthy diet consistently. But they did acknowledge the study demonstrated strong evidence of the benefits of eating avocados.

The same experts from the AHA stated that there is a great need to improve the adoption of their recommended diets, like the Mediterranean diet that include eating a lot of vegetables and fruits.



New Data Reveals Effectiveness of Fitness Trackers

Your fitness tracker may be doing more for you than just letting you know how many steps you took today, it might have encourage you to walk more.

A new study revealed its finding that in 16,000 participants monitoring exercise increased an individual’s activity.

Researchers did an analysis of the data from 141 study comparisons and 121 randomized control studies to find out what the impact of exercise monitors had on day-to-day activity. Monitors included phone apps and products like Fitbits.

The study found that using fitness apps created an increase by an equivalent of 1,235 steps per day and increased moderate to vigorous physical activity by 48.5 minutes a week. The study did note that impact on sedentary time was insignificant.

Study authors stated the effects are very relevant when it comes to health and disease risk, especially for those who are only moderately active or not meeting current guidelines. Study authors stated that while many studies have been done on fitness monitors since their inception into our culture this is the largest study to date.



Controversial New Study on Veggies and Heart Health

Many studies have shown the value of a plant-based diet for both heart health and the health of the planet in addition to an individual’s overall health. A recent study even found that young people who begin eating more veggies, whole grain, fruits, nuts and legumes could add 13 years to their lifespan.

Meanwhile, the results of a controversial new study was released recently in “Frontiers in Nutrition” and after analyzing the diets of 400k UK adults the study concluded that eating vegetables, especially cooked ones, has no positive affect on the risk of heart disease over time.

Study authors stated they found no evidence that vegetable intake offered any protection form cardiovascular disease.

Raw vegetables offered some protection, according to the study, but cooked vegetables maintained zero benefits in that regard.

The study also took into account many other lifestyle factors like red meat intake, processed meat in take, smoking habits, drinking, fruit intake, physical activity, education level and supplement consumption. Study authors stated the protective effect of eating veggies is probably accounted for by bias in relation to differences in socioeconomic status and lifestyle.

Many experts were still critical of the findings. We shouldn’t stop eating vegetables in light of this new research, according to one critic. Another cited the fact that there is also new evidence that suggests fiber rich veggies can help lower cardiovascular risk factors like weight that can encourage heart disease.

Other critics were not surprised by the findings. Singling out one component of the diet and hoping it’ll be a cure all isn’t very likely. Recent findings have suggested looking at single foods or nutrients rather than the entire dietary pattern is unlikely find anything useful.


How to Build a Habit

Cultivating a new, healthy habit can be difficult. However, these five steps or ideas may help make it easier to ingratiate a healthy habit into your life.

First, state or better yet write down a specific goal. A very specific goal. Don’t just say, “I’ll take a walk as often as I can.” Instead, one should say “I’ll take a 20 minute walk every day.”  Studies have shown that the more abstract the goal, the less likely one is to reach it. Also, starting with a bite-sized goal will make progress easier to achieve—as we are creatures of habit, making major changes all at once will be uncomfortable. Make change in small, achievable steps. Don’t give in to instant gratification.

Creating a cue-based goal answering where, when, how, who can be very useful. So, going beyond even “I’ll take a 20 minute walk every day.” You might want to further define the goal to “After my afternoon meetings I will take a 20-minute walk with my dog at the dog park.” All of these details will help trigger your brain to remember to complete the goal.

Making the new habit fun or desirable is another way to help solidify a new habit. Instead of going overboard and “grinding it out” make it enjoyable. Maybe that means meeting with a friend to walk your dogs at the dog park. Build temptation—”I can only watch my favorite show while on the treadmill.”

Be flexible. Especially in the beginning. If you miss your afternoon dog walk, give it a shot after dinner. In fact, when first establishing a new habit it is a good idea to try it in different contexts. One never knows when making a lifestyle change might work for them.

Finally, look for social support. Find others you can discuss you progress with or others who might be interested in making it a group activity. We are social critters. We like to mimic the behavior of those around us. Find some friends and join a dog walking group that meets at the dog park several times a week.