How important is your diet to your overall health? A recent study suggests that a healthy diet can add as many as 14 years to your life. This mindset is largely ignored by most people. The good news is that even small changes can make a big difference, though. And kids are one of the most important groups of people who should be making changes! Parents have a responsibility to not short-change their children’s current and future health.
Here are a few changes that are important to consider. Almost everyone is capable of making at least one of these lifestyle modifications and if you make all of them, you will likely add years to your life. How easy would it be to begin to exercise regularly or to be careful about your alcohol consumption or quit smoking or make sure that you are consuming more fruits and vegetables? Most of these changes really are not that difficult to accomplish or implement.
The belief by most people is that the changes necessary to improve their health are too difficult. Here’s the truth:
* Eliminating trans fats will cut your heart disease rate by 50%.
* Those with hypertension will see improvement in their blood pressure simply by eating one small daily serving of dark chocolate.
* Start eating an apple every day and eat a few servings of vegetables.
* Look for ways to incorporate “super foods” in your diet. Some of the most effective super foods are: beans, blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, pumpkin, salmon, soy, spinach, tea, tomatoes, turkey, walnuts, and yogurt.
On the flip-side, here are a few myths that need dispelling.
* The low-fat movement has not been a good one for America. After the media blitz and introduction of low fat food products, Americans got fatter not thinner.
* Not all fats are bad. Diets rich in monosaturated fats (olive oil) are good for heart disease prevention.
* Eggs are a nutritious, high-protein, whole food full of vitamins and minerals. They are also relatively low in saturated fat and calories.
* High cholesterol is not as dangerous to your health as trans fats and hydrogenated oils.
Real ideas for implementing healthy changes in your life:
* Start cooking. Salads, soups, stir fries loaded with vegetables. Just including more fruits and vegetables into your diet will reduce your potential for a heart attack by 50%.
* Find a good multivitamin that includes Vitamin B and Selenium. Look for additional calcium and if you live in the north, add 1000 IU’s of vitamin D.
* If you are on the go a lot, you don’t have to sacrifice healthy eating. It is possible to eat healthy while out, it just takes a little planning and preparation.
* Start small instead of trying a complete diet overhaul. Perhaps a handful of raisins or walnuts instead of chips or crackers. If you’re heading out the door, grab an apple instead of something sugar-laden.
Improving your health dramatically is possible with only basic modifications and this is well worth it in the long run. As parents we certainly owe this to our children!