Starting the New Year Right!

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Whatever your New Years resolutions, there are small additions to your lifestyle that will pay big dividends to your overall health and help you attain your health goals for 2014. They’re simple, easy ways to help you start off on the right foot.
 
• Add beans to your menus: Be sure you include beans in your nutritional regimen — and include black beans. Not only are they a great source of protein, recent studies suggest that the darker the bean, the more antioxidants! Interestingly, beans are considered a separate food group in Brazil, and are part of their food pyramid. The U.S. Government’s Dietary Guidelines urge adults to consume one and a half cups of cooked dry beans a week.
 
• Snack on nuts: The risk of dying of heart disease dropped 29 percent and the risk of dying of cancer fell 11 percent among those who had nuts seven or more times a week compared with people who never ate them. These positive results were seen from peanuts, pistachios, almonds, walnuts and other tree nuts. And for those of you with weight-loss resolutions: nut eaters were slimmer. Research has shown that snacking on nuts can curb your appetite for the whole day.
 
• Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables: Raw or fresh, eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits can reduce risk for heart disease, certain types of cancers, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Vegetables are also low in calories and high in fiber! According to the latest dietary guidelines a person who needs 2,000 calories a day to maintain weight and health, should eat nine servings of fruit and vegetables. That equals 4-1/2 cups a day, 2 cups of fruit and 2-1/2 cups of vegetables.
 
• Use healthy oils: Get rid of the unhealthy fats in you diet, start by adding healthy fats where possible! Olive and canola oils are monounsaturated fats, which can lower cholesterol levels, high blood pressure,and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Canola oil, walnut and flaxseed oils are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat that is known to reduce arthritis pain and improve cholesterol levels.
 
• Read the labels: Processed food contains sugars, sodium and unhealthy fats, along with many additives that are used to maintain the appearance of freshness. Keep away from frozen entrees and microwaveable dinners.
 
Finally, exercise! Your entire body benefits from a workout. It gives a boost to memory and concentration, lowers cholesterol, and reduces blood pressure. Exercise is vital for prevention of disease. You should have a minimum of 2-1/2 hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or a minimum of 1-1/4 hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity; combine them in a way works for you and build up from there. You’ll look better and feel better!
 
Happy New Year from everyone at Peter’s Principles. Thank you for your support in 2013!
 
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