4 Reasons Why Fruits and Vegetables are Good for You

4 Reasons Why Fruits and Vegetables are Good for YouA balanced and healthy diet is essential for everyone, whether you want to lose weight, have more energy, keep well, or get fit. And a balanced diet is not complete without the addition of plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis offers many different health and wellbeing benefits, including heart protection and protection against disease. Choose a variety of different types of vegetables and fruit for the optimum nutritional benefit. You should try to eat between 3 and 6 cups of vegetables and fruit each day – if you can eat more, all the better. Fruit and vegetables should make up the bulk of your meals as they are low in calories and packed with nutrients.

Here’s why fruits and vegetables should occupy an important place in your diet.

  1. Fruit and vegetables offer heart-healthy benefits. Studies show that the people who eat the most vegetables and fruits have the lowest risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke. With heart disease and stroke the biggest killers in America, it is important to lower your risk in any way you can. Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables at every meal. You can also lower your blood pressure by eating more fruit and vegetables.
  2. You can lower your cancer risk with fruits and vegetables. Certain forms of cancer can be avoided, experts say, when you enjoy a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and citrus fruits, are particularly useful for protecting against lung cancer, stomach cancer, mouth cancer, and throat cancer.
  3. Fruits and vegetables improve your digestion. Get a healthy digestive system by eating fruits and vegetables. These foods reduce the risk of constipation and help you avoid disease by clearing blockages and keeping your digestive system healthy. It is the fiber in fruits and vegetables that makes a difference – choose whole fruits and not juice as this is where the fiber remains.
  4. Eating fruits and vegetables can even help protect your eyes. Vitamin A, which is found in many different fruits and vegetables including carrots, cantaloupe, and sweet potato, helps night vision and you can also protect against macular degeneration and cataracts with fruit and veggies.

Good Balance: Why it is Important to Eat a Healthy Balanced Diet

Healthy DietIf you want to live a healthier life and feel better then look closely at your diet. Are you eating a balanced diet with the right mix of vitamins and nutrients to help your health? A balanced diet is important if you want to prevent illness and keep to a healthy weight. But how do you eat a balanced diet – how do you know if your diet is up to scratch? Here we talk about the components of a balanced diet and why it is important to eat well.

Balanced Diet: A Definition

A balanced diet essentially means eating a variety of healthy foods from the different food groups, and limiting your consumption of less-healthy choices. The major food groups are: fruit and vegetables; carbohydrates; protein; and dairy. You should be cutting down on foods with added sugar, salt and fat in order to benefit from a healthy balanced diet.

The Importance of the Four Food Groups

  1. Fruit and vegetables: The importance of eating a good supply of fruit and vegetables is connected to their high levels of vitamins and minerals, and their low fat content. Fruit and vegetables provide a low-calorie way to get a variety of nutrients that are essential for healthy bodies. You should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and choose a variety of different colors of fruit and veggies so you can be sure you are getting the right spread of vitamins and minerals.
  2. Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are important because eating them gives you energy. Carbohydrates also contain fiber which is essential for a healthy digestive system. Base your meals around carbs – each meal should be around one-third carbohydrate. Choose wholegrain options where possible like brown rice, wholemeal pasta, wholemeal bread, lentils, nuts, and legumes.
  3. Protein: Protein is a building block – protein helps your cells grow and keeps them healthy. If you don’t get enough protein you could suffer from muscle deterioration, growth problems, heart problems, arthritis, and hair loss. Get your protein by choosing foods like meat, chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, seeds, eggs, nuts, and soy.
  4. Dairy: You get calcium from dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. Calcium is essential for building strong and healthy bones and to avoid diseases like osteoporosis. It is best to choose low-fat dairy products and to eat around three portions a day.

Spring is Here! Get Out of your Winter Rut

spring forward It’s time to spring forward. Springtime is here and with this new season comes the opportunity for new beginnings, recharge, and a change in routine. But if you’re still stuck with winter’s perspective, you might need a little extra help to get into the spring spirit. Here’s how to shake off the cobwebs and get ready for the warmer weather.

Change Your Health Habits

  • Get outside in the open air. During winter you probably spent most of your free time indoors, watching the TV, catching up on movies, or playing video games. Now’s the time to recharge your life by getting some fresh air and sunshine. Boost your vitamin D levels and improve your mood with time spent outside. Activity in the open air also helps improve your overall fitness, which makes it easier to feel ready for summer.
  • Schedule regular health checks and treatments. Don’t continue to neglect your health. Book a health exam or check-up, and make time for treatments like massage or physical therapy. This is particularly important if you have a health condition like a bad back or knee pain – untreated pain makes it difficult to take advantage of the change in seasons. In addition, you can take a look at any allergies you may suffer. Seasonal allergies can make it difficult to enjoy spring so investigate different treatments for hay fever and other conditions.

Step Out of the Rut

  • Overhaul your diet. Eat seasonal, local produce, making sure your diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber, and healthy fats. Steer clear of packaged foods that are usually high in sugar, salt and saturated fat. Plan your meals for the week and go shopping for ingredients so you are not missing the key items for preparing healthy meals. Drink plenty of water throughout the day so you are not dehydrated and you feel more alert – drinking enough water can also make you feel fuller, lowering your risk of overeating.
  • Cultivate healthy mental habits. If winter sees you suffering from depression or anxiety, springtime could provide a relief from your symptoms. Schedule an appointment with a health professional and also put some health habits in place like visiting with friends, planning activities to enrich your wellbeing, taking a yoga or meditation class, or simply being mindful about the positive factors in your life.

Reach your New Year’s Resolutions

iStock_000017647542SmallWith 2013 drawing to a close, now is a great time to learn how to set goals for yourself in order to make effective New Year’s resolutions! While you may have a vague sense that you should change your habits, maybe by losing weight, being more organized, or some other fuzzy idea, this kind of thinking is not likely to help you stick to your goals. Many resolutions fail before February, but you can change this for yourself by creating goals that put you on the path to optimum health. Read more