Get healthy this spring. Go ahead! It’s simple. It’s not entirely easy, but it is simple. Here are four steps to get healthy this spring and stay healthy all summer – and maybe even the rest of your life: read, cook, drink, move. While these simple directives might sound like the cute encouragements and sometimes meaningless maxims you’ll see on fashionable yoga apparel shopping bags or in hip sneaker ads, we’re offering a little bit more for food for thought that might actually help you get healthy this spring.
To your Oprah Book Club list and New York Times Best Seller favorites, add nutrition labels. If you do not grow all of your own food, you must read the label! Here’s how:
- Fat – If the fat in your food product is primarily saturated or trans fat, put it back on the shelf. Trans fat is associated with bad cholesterol, and even decreases the levels of good cholesterol in your body.
- Sodium – The recommended daily limit is 2,300 mg. Please know that the limit is the outer extreme. Stay well below it. 800 mg is a nice amount.
- Fiber – Look for at least 3 or 4 grams per serving in any kind of grain product you consume. A healthy amount of fiber can can help prevent heart disease and diabetes, help maintain weight, and can also improve digestion.
- Serving Size – Make sure to take this into consideration. One serving size might be half of that cookie or bottle of juice.
- Calorie Count – I’ll just leave this one here. You can do the math. Keep in mind that some foods higher in calories might be worth it if they are nutrient dense.
- Sugars – This label does not distinguish between those that occur naturally such as fructose in fruit and those that are added. Refer to the ingredient list for greater detail.
- Daily Value – This refers a food’s percentage of a particular nutrient your body needs each day. A score of 10-20% means that that food is a good source of that particular nutrient. (www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20708150,00.html)
When you cook your own food from scratch, you’ll have more control over your nutritive ingredients. With some practice, you’ll also gain a sense of satisfaction.
Many vintners and some scientists in California will tell you that the regular consumption of red wine is good for you, and it may very well be, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Drink more water. As many as 75% of Americans suffer from dehydration. (www.medicaldaily.com/) Every single cell in your body requires water for its proper function. And your body loses water through respiration, sweat, and digestion. Make sure you replenish it. If you don’t give your body enough water, it wont work for you any more.
I like to move it. Regardless of your age or gender, you will benefit from exercise. Regular exercise is one of the most important parts of keeping your body fit and healthy, but you don’t have to go overboard. Make it accessible and enjoyable.
Go ahead. Get healthy this spring. It doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, competitive, or tedious. Just take these few simple steps and you’re on your way to self care and good health.