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Learn What You Can Do for American Heart Month

Loving Your Heart for American Heart Month

February - Heart Health MonthIt's the month of love, but February is more than just getting your loved ones some Valentine's Day chocolates. For American Heart Month, you can bring awareness about heart-related conditions and what one can do to better support their cardiovascular health. Right now, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It can happen at any age, and is mostly prone to individuals with certain risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. There are around 610,000 fatalities a year due to heart disease. To make the fact even more sobering, that's about 1 in every 4 deaths.

But still, there's hope. Regular preventive care can stem your health problems, including those for your heart. If you've been neglecting your heart and its tireless efforts, you can give something back.

What is American Heart Month?

Raising awareness about heart health and the steps to prevent heart disease is what American Heart Month strives to do. Many people are unaware of the efforts they can do to keep their heart as healthy as can be, and how they can do the same for both their family and community.

The effort to spread awareness doesn't need to be big either; encouraging others for better lifestyle habits, such as using spices to season food instead of salt, or to take that daily walk, motivating work leaders or teachers to create more physical activities, as well as asking doctors on how best to prevent heart disease, are just some of the things you can do.

Information about heart health is the greatest tool we have for American Heart Month. Even sharing the purpose of the month on your social media, or discussing it with your community, can help people take their own steps towards better heart health. However, the best way to teach someone is by following one's own advice.

Make These 7 Simple Efforts

Healthy LifestyleEven the smallest changes to your lifestyle matter. When you make healthy lifestyle changes a habit, it's easier to stick with it, which boosts your heart health in the long run. These include the following:

  • Managing a healthy weight
  • Making better food choices (fruits, vegetables, fiber, etc.)
  • Being more active
  • Controlling cholesterol levels
  • Reducing blood sugar
  • Managing blood pressure
  • Limiting/cutting off unhealthy habits (smoking, drinking alcohol, etc.)

All of the above can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Efforts such as eating healthier foods, and doing exercise often can be enough to support your health. Make sure to also visit your doctor regularly, who can help devise a health plan to support your heart and give it the love it needs.

Support Your Heart Even Further with HHF

With GardaVita®'s unique heart health formula, HHF, you can deliver even more support for your heart. Blended nutrients include high concentrations of herbs that are known for their positive impact on the cardiovascular system. From rosemary to olive leaf, along with other familiar nutrients including vitamin A, manganese, chromium, zinc and more, HHF supplies a truly hearty network that strengthens and protects your most important organ.

Optimal heart health is not out of your reach, and there's no better time to start. As you help spread the news about American Heart Month, you can do as you say with updating your lifestyle habits and having HHF by your side. This February, show your heart how much you care!

Click here to try HHF today!

Caring for Your Eyes through Glaucoma Awareness Month

Caring for Your Eyes through Glaucoma Awareness Month

Caring for Your Eyes through Glaucoma Awareness MonthDespite how often we use our eyes, it’s too easy for many of us to neglect their health. This January, it’s time to put your eye care in the spotlight. As National Glaucoma Awareness Month, it’s important to understand just how this serious condition can affect your sight, sometimes unexpectedly so. As of now, more than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma, but there are ways that you can keep yourself out of the statistic.

Glaucoma: The Quiet Sight-Stealer

What’s the most dangerous thing about this condition? You may not even know you have it. Glaucoma exhibits no early symptoms, not until one is already in the advanced stages of it. You can lose as much as 40% of your vision without even noticing. Glaucoma leads to irreversible blindness, meaning once your vision is completely lost, it’s gone for good.

Glaucoma is not only common in America. Globally, around 60 million people are affected by it. It’s even estimated that half of them are unaware they have it. With our ever-growing aging population, deterioration of vision is becoming more common. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 4.5 million people have become blind due to the condition.

How Does Glaucoma Develop?

Glaucoma specifically damages the eye’s optic nerve – which is a bundle of over 1 million nerve fibers, connecting the retina to the brain. It’s been shown that eye pressure seems to be the major risk factor for optic nerve damage. Fluid builds inside the eye, straining the optic nerve. Blood pressure is also another risk factor. However, how much eyes can tolerate pressure varies from person to person. An eye care professional can help determine your normal level of eye pressure, as well as detect early signs of glaucoma and other eye health conditions.

How is Glaucoma Detected?

glaucoma detectedBecause it has no symptoms, knowing whether you have glaucoma or not can be difficult. No pain is registered, and your vision stays normal. However, as the condition advances, you will slowly lose your peripheral vision, and start to miss things out of the corner of your eye. You will essentially gain a tunnel vision until eyesight is lost completely.

The best way to know if your eyes are suffering from the condition is to get a comprehensive eye exam. Glaucoma is detected through several tests, which include a visual acuity test (how well you see at certain distances), a visual field test (how well you see from your side vision), a dilated eye exam, (a dilation of your pupils to better examine your retina and optic nerve), tonometry (measuring the pressure of your eye), and pachymetry (measuring the thickness of your cornea).

Keep Your Eyes Protected Through Healthy Habits

In the United States alone, 120,000 people have become blind from glaucoma. While the numbers may seem grim, you can still keep your eyesight in the clear, even into old age. Getting regular eye exams are a must, so you can better detect early eye health problems. There are other additional preventative measures you can take as well; from exercising regularly, to cutting off unhealthy habits that may be hurting your eye health. Smoking, alcohol, and excessive caffeine intake all increase your eye’s pressure, which might increase the risk of developing glaucoma.

Getting the right nutrition that benefits the eyes is also important. Ocu-Max® by GardaVita® contains specific ingredients known for their positive impact on eye health, including lutein and zeaxanthin, a pair of natural carotenoids that fortifies the eye’s macula for stronger vision. It also contains vitamin C, gingko biloba and bilberry that support eye health and protect it from free radical damage.

It’s time to give your eyes the care they deserve. So make some changes this January for the sake of your sight, so that you can keep looking to the future clearly.

Click here to try Ocu-Max today!

Tomato and Winter Squash Month

Celebrating Tomato and Winter Squash Month

Tomato and Winter Squash MonthWinter season brings in winter foods! For Tomato and Winter Squash Month, it’s time to take your fill of these veggies and get the 101 on them. Prepared separately or in a meal, tomatoes and winter squashes are a filling source of nutrition that benefits your health – and it’s not only limited to eating them either!

The Tomato Veggie. Or is it a Fruit?

While you may think of tomatoes as a vegetable, they’re technically a fruit! As the berry of a plant that stems from the nightshade family, it’s mainly grown in South America, but is a vital part of most meals within the Mediterranean region. They contain a rich source of nutrients–mainly antioxidants–which include vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, lycopene, folate, magnesium, copper, thiamin and vitamin K. Tomatoes can be added to virtually any food, helping boost flavor to your dishes.

Healthy Tomatoes and Their Benefits

Containing a large amount of the antioxidant, lycopene, tomatoes can help fight against free-radicals that are responsible for damaging your cells. The nutrient is available even in processed ketchup! Alongside it is vitamin C, which a single tomato can provide around 40% of. As another antioxidant, it also helps protect your body’s systems, especially the cardiovascular system. Tomatoes additionally include vitamin A, an antioxidant that focuses on the prevention of vision issues, such as macular degeneration and night-blindness.

Tomatoes can help keep the digestive system on-point with its large serving of fiber. Need to start regulating your bowel movements? Their added fiber can stimulate the motions in your digestive muscles to get your system working in balance. The potassium in tomatoes also helps manage blood pressure. As a vasodilator, potassium helps reduce tension in the blood vessels and arteries.

Add a Winter Squash to Your Winter Meal

Tomato and Winter Squash MonthIt’s all in the name: winter squash is a veggie for the cold season, and can be used in a variety of hearty meals. This squash is bursting with its own similar set of nutrients, including vitamin A, fiber, omega-3, manganese and more. Like tomatoes, winter squashes are also antioxidant-rich. Few foods can match up to the sheer amount of carotenoids that winter squash has, especially for vitamin C and manganese. Just a serving of butternut squash gives you 35% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.

One of the more stand out nutrients for winter squash is omega-3s. Its anti-inflammatory properties help relieve aches and swelling, especially for joint issues. Omega-3s are considered a fatty substance, but these are good fats, and they help your body by balancing your blood pressure and overall heart health.

A Veggie for the Skin

Many healthy foods are good for your skin health, but there’s a way to maximize those beauty benefits to the limit. Winter squash can actually be made into a facemask, due to their loaded content of beta-carotene, a top nutrient for the skin. With a small addition of honey and milk, you can apply the grounded squash to your face for 15 minutes. You can add in some pumpkin, too!

Healthy Nutrition Past Wintertime

GardaVita® also carries potent formulas that include nutrients from these two superfoods. From a heart-support supplement like Omega3Q10 to an antioxidant powerhouse like OxyPlus. Even if you can’t have a helping of tomatoes and squash every day, you can keep your nutritional levels well-balanced, well past the winter season!

Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month

Exotic FruitsEven if you're not a fan of veggies, there's no denying the fact that eating your greens gives your health numerous benefits. Root vegetables, in particular, are one of the most nutritious sources of foods out there. As a staple of most South American and Asian diets, root vegetables have also been utilized in traditional medicine practices, while also helping feed undernourished populations. For Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, it's time to understand just why your parents were so insistent on making you eat your share.

Getting Down to the Root Benefits

Familiar with important nutrients like vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium? A majority of root vegetables have these nutrients in their makeup, which are vital for helping fight conditions such as cancer, obesity, and certain inflammatory disorders. Along with being rich sources of carbohydrates and antioxidants, vegetables have a lower calorie count, making them a perfect component of your weight management program. One other additional benefit of root vegetables are that they are gluten-free, where gluten can cause digestive issue and even autoimmune reactions in a number of people.

Load Up on Fiber

Speaking of weight management, tailoring your diet to fill you up while keeping your calorie intake well-balanced can be tricky. Root vegetables, however, are the trick you need to keep to that program. While some root vegetables contain natural sugars such as starch, they are very high in fiber. Fiber stays in your digestive tract longer, keeping you full without the need to grab yourself another fatty snack. A high fiber diet that includes root vegetables can help prevent inflammation, while also providing your body both immune-stimulating and antioxidant effects.

Take Your Fill from These Veggies

Root VegetablesThere's a wide selection of root vegetables that can be added to your diet, but keep an eye out for these particular choices to better boost your health.

Sweet potato is one of those root vegetables that stand out from most, and not only due to their bright orange color. It's packed full with nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B5, potassium and fiber. Because they have a low glycemic index, they are the perfect veggie to help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Carrots aren't just good for the eyes, but what it does for your health overall is important to keep track of. One of the best-known nutrients in carrots is beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is then converted into vitamin A, helping not only your vision but also bone growth, and regulating the immune system.

It contains other vitamins as well, such as C, D, E and K, which all help promote healthier skin.

Beetroots are probably the vegetable you pushed aside from your plate when you were young. But beets are a fantastic addition to any meal. They are actually the go-to vegetable for athletes. A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology detailed how drinking two cups of beet juice daily helped subjects exercise longer, improving their athletic performance and also lowering their blood pressure. They can additionally boost cognitive function and benefit the immune system.

There's more root veggie options to partake in, such as cucumbers (to keep you hydrated), garlic (for boosting heart health) cauliflower (reduces inflammation) and radishes (incredibly rich in vitamin C).

Getting More Key Vegetable Nutrients from Phytoplex

Even with a controlled diet, it's impossible to get all the root vegetables you need each day. That's why a supplement like Phytoplex is a great complement to your healthy routine. Containing key phytonutrients from an assortment of vegetables and fruit extracts, Phytoplex helps your body acquire those much-needed nutrients, all in a convenient dosage. No more avoiding your greens. Take that step towards a healthier diet and keep your body happy.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

November Lung Cancer AwarenessIt’s time to keep up with your lung health this year. Though chilly weather may make you focus on your sinuses, the state of your lungs overall determines how well your respiratory system functions – including the rest of your health. This November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, which brings in the focus onto your breathing organs and taking preventative action.

Learn the Statistics

Lung cancer specifically is not in the forefront of everyone’s minds, but the condition is prevalent all the same. More than 222,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with lung cancer every year. To put that in perspective, that’s a new diagnosis every 2 ½ minutes!

Another interesting fact – the diagnosis isn’t just limited to smokers. Around 65% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among those who have either been past smokers, or have never smoked at all. Within that statistic, 10% to 15% of those diagnoses are found with the never smokers.

This is why regular health checkups are important. Even if you never pick up a cigarette, the risk remains. 1 in 16 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime. To reduce that number, you need to plan ahead.

Checking in with Your Physician

Checking in With Your PhysicianDon’t be another statistic. When lung cancer screenings are available, take the initiative and get your health checked. Early detection is the most important part of treating this condition. When in a very early stage, the cancer can potentially be curable through surgery or other alternatives. If cancer is diagnosed at a more advanced stage, treatment options become limited.

Promoting the Research

There’s no doubt that healthcare can be expensive – and that includes the research of it. The investment into lung cancer research has only been 6% of federal government dollars. To shine the light on lung cancer and make a significant impact on potential cures for the disease, raising awareness is crucial.

It can be as simple as sharing a post on your social media, or donating to a lung cancer research fund. This month is about spreading awareness, and speaking with both your doctor and your circle of friends can help raise focus on this widespread condition within your community.

Lead by Example

However, Lung Cancer Awareness Month is more than just talk. Become proactive for your own lung health by getting screenings, and learning how to maintain your health profile overall with regular checkups. It’s also a time to promote your own lung health to its full function by doing the right exercises that help increase lung capacity, to taking the right nutrition. Lung Support Formula by GardaVita, for example, has a wide blend of herbal ingredients that optimize the functionality of your breathing airways.

Lung cancer takes more lives than colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer combined. Getting serious about your lung health can help you avoid becoming another part of the percentage. Take charge this November and start breathing easy!

This October, Get Ready for Bone and Joint Health Action Week

Get Ready for Bone and Joint Health Action Week

This October, Get Ready for Bone and Joint Health Action Week

We're no strangers to an aching knee once in a while, but chronic discomfort or weary joints can affect the quality of your life if you don't take preventative care. Currently, more than half of the population in the United States over the age of 18 are affected by musculoskeletal issues, which are the leading cause of long-term discomfort and disability cases. Combine this with increasing life expectancy, such conditions are expected to only rise over time.

That's why for Bone and Joint Health Action Week, which is held annually between October 12-20, awareness of your health is imperative to counter future joint-related problems. It all comes down to the basics of what you put into your health that will affect you in the long-run. Focusing on this week can help nail down on what you need to improve, or remind yourself of, so that you can continue to keep strong bones and joints for years to come. To keep the goals of this week in mind, there are 5 special days that you can mark on your calendar.

Stay Mindful of Check-Ups

October 12 is World Arthritis Day. The number one way for prevention of this condition is through early diagnosis. So if you've been stalling on your check-up with your healthcare physician, it's best to get to it. With early treatment, you can prevent joint damage and discomfort, and retain more of your mobility than if you were to leave the issue be. Don't delay; get your health examined on-time.

Keep Yourself Moving

October 16 is World Spine Day. When it comes to bad posture or living a more sedentary life, the back is one of the first parts of the body to feel the strain. Physical activity can help ease stiffness while strengthening the muscles around your joints. A lack of exercise can actually exacerbate your joint issues. Don't neglect the gym; make a plan to get in 30 minutes of exercise a day to keep your joints flexible and relieved.

Stay Prepared for Critical Situations

October 17 is World Trauma Day. It's always imperative to be ready for the unexpected. Sudden accidents can impact the musculoskeletal system, especially when not treated correctly right away. Preparing a first-aid kit, or having the number of your local hospital ready can offset any significant trauma not only for yourself, but for others.

Smarter Food Choices for Joints

October 19 is World Pediatric Bone and Joint (PB&J) Day. While this day focuses on children's joint health, its emphasis on a healthy, joint-nourishing diet and combating obesity is what adults should strive for as well. Though much of bone and joint development occurs in your younger years, you can still maintain its upkeep through the right foods to eat (fish, fruits and vegetables, turmeric, etc.) as well as control your weight management so that no unnecessary stress is pinned on the joints.

Shine the Light on Bone & Joint Health

October 20 gives us World Osteoporosis Day, a reminder of the condition that can occur when we don't make our joint health a major priority. Spread the idea of this week to family and friends while also taking steps for yourself. At GardaVita®, we aim to also help people maintain their joints through premium support formulas, including our Joint Support Trio; Arthro8®, OsteoNourish®, and Mega MSM. Each supplement supplies your joints the nourishment needed to keep them smooth and flexible, while having bone density strong. It's all about staying aware and working on your health upkeep. With the help of GardaVita® and a guideline to optimal joint support, you don't have to keep living with joint discomfort anymore.

 

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Lacking Daily Nutrients? Here’s Some Important Signs to Look For

Important signs to look for if you are lacking daily nutrients

A balanced diet is said to provide you with all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need each day. There are many processes in your body that need nutrients for areas like energy levels, heart health, blood sugar, skin and cell health, lungs, liver, and more. While nutrition is the means to good health many Americans continue to struggle receiving everything they need through their daily diet. So how do you know you’re missing key nutrients and what specifically should you look for?

Common Signs Your Missing Some Daily Nutrients

Three important nutrients you should focus on are magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Being deficient in these three can surface as muscle cramps, specifically in your toes, calves, back of legs, and even the arches of your feet. Magnesium deficiency is more common than you may think.

An estimated 80% of Americans may be deficient in magnesium, and even as a trace mineral it serves a wide range of healthy purposes. It helps create the necessary energy—ATP—your body needs, while aiding in the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It also serves as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis and acts as a precursor for certain neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is important for mood and a healthy sleep cycle.

Potassium's primary functions in the body include regulating fluid balance and controlling the electrical activity of the heart and other muscles. Potassium is an electrolyte that counteracts the effects of sodium, helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure levels.

Calcium is a well-known mineral needed by your bones. A Calcium magnesium balance is crucial. Too much calcium without enough magnesium can lead to muscle spasms, and additionally, to heart concerns. Some early signs of magnesium deficiency can also include a loss of appetite, headache, fatigue, and an overall feeling of weakness.

You May Not be Getting Enough of This Common Vitamin

Vitamin D is one of the most common vitamins in day to day health, but many Americans still remain deficient. Researchers estimate that 50 percent of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, and this percentage rises in higher-risk populations such as the elderly. It has been estimated that as many as 95% of senior certain may be deficient in vitamin D, due to factors like spending time indoors. For example, an underlying factor for seniors’ vitamin D deficiency can be that people over the age of 70 produces around 30% less vitamin D than a younger person with the same amount of skin exposure.

Signs that you may be deficient in Vitamin D can be weight gain, aches due to bones and joints, low moods, sweating and even gut discomfort. While you can receive plenty of vitamin D from sun exposure, that method comes with its own concerns as well. Luckily supplementation of vitamin D can allow you to receive the necessary amount you need. Some formulas will even combine the valuable trace minerals you need like magnesium and even calcium in one formula.

Regardless of any demographics, age, race, gender, or even weight, nutrients are a constant necessity for healthy living. Lack of nutrients can lead to certain symptoms which in turn can lead to other more serious health concerns when it comes to areas like the heart, blood pressure, blood sugar, weight management and more. Make sure you assess your daily health by checking to see if you have any symptoms that could mean a nutrients deficiency! Learn more and make the right choices to live healthy today!

 

References:

http://www.fitness.gov/eat-healthy/why-is-it-important/

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/tdmarch2008pg39.shtml

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/11/03/nutrient-deficiency-signs-symptoms.aspx

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Looking for the Right Daily Energy Sources? Get the Facts!

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Looking for the Right Daily Energy Sources? Get the Facts!Maintaining energy levels throughout the day can be a large component of good health. Not having enough energy can lead to various consequences such as low moods, a compromised immune system, and being unable to stay productive throughout the day. Keep reading to learn the dos and don'ts when it comes to staying energized and active.

The Little Things Matter

Sometimes a lack of energy may mean your aren't doing the little, simple things that make a difference. For example, drinking plain water to stay hydrated is an important way to support daily energy levels.

Another daily mainstay for supporting nutrition is breakfast. Often touted as the most important meal of the day, the right type of breakfast can help you start your day off right and promote a healthy metabolism. Foods such as eggs, fruits, and whole-grain products are good choices for jumpstarting your day. Lean protein-based foods also provide longer-lasting energy than carb-heavy foods and can help keep you going.

Sources to Avoid

Two ingredients that many people rely on too much these days are sugar and caffeine. Sugar and caffeine are enticing because they provide a fast-acting jolt of energy. However, this initial burst is soon followed by a severe energy crash because the energy they provide is not sustainable. Caffeine may be the lesser of two bad choices, but drinking too much caffeine every day can put you in an unhealthy crash-and-burn cycle. Sugar, in addition to being a bad energy source, is something experts say most Americans need to cut back on in general.

While most caffeine sources come from caffeinated drinks, sugar is found in a variety of foods and drinks. Energy drinks have gained popularity because of their claims of being “good sources of energy.” However, most of their energy comes from hidden sugar or other stimulants. Research has shown that high consumption of these drinks can possibly affect cardiovascular health and blood pressure.

What Steps Can You Take?

Certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can be important sources of energy. Many people have chosen the route of supplementation in order to get adequate amounts of these ingredients in their daily diets.

Nutrients such as ATP, vitamin B12, and 5-MTHF all have their own benefits when it comes to energy. ATP is a molecule found in all living cells. Your cells use ATP to fuel every chemical reaction that occurs in your body. Vitamin B12 aids metabolism, which is the conversion of nutrients from your diet into energy. It also helps support neurological function as well as metabolize fat and protein to boost energy levels in your body. Lastly, 5-MTHF is an active form of folic acid that is readily absorbed by your body. 5-MTHF is involved in DNA production, which, in turn, supports the health of your cells and helps create new cells. These energy sources can help supply you natural energy each day without the dietary negatives or the crash-and-burn effects of caffeine or sugar.

The Right Type of Energy

As with many things in life, the quick-fix solution often doesn't solve the problem. Sugar and caffeine may provide a temporary energy surge, but they don't last and can have unintended consequences. However, maintaining energy levels without negative side effects is possible. Ingredients that give you a natural, sustainable boost of energy will help you feel your best throughout the day without taking a toll on your well-being. Choose wisely!

References:

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Stay Healthy This Holiday Season with a Few Crucial Guidelines

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Stay Healthy This Holiday Season with a Few Crucial GuidelinesRight now you are in the eye of the holiday season storm. While this busy time of year can make you feel like you’re falling off your daily diet and nutrition plans, it doesn’t have to be that way. Maintaining good health for the holidays is possible by following a few simple rules and tips. Consequently, these rules can be applied throughout the year.

Refrain from Skipping Meals

The logical thinking that you will eat less by skipping meals will not help you become healthier or support weight management any better. Even if you’re a calorie counter, skipping meals can backfire because it often leads to overeating during other meals, or constant snacking between meals that can result in a higher daily calorie intake than if you had stuck to regular meals. A recent study done at Ohio State University showed that skipping meals can actually lead to abdominal weight gain and increased resistance to insulin within the liver, which can cause fat to accumulate. In short, sticking to a regular meal plan during the holidays can help you avoid the pitfalls of binge eating and unhealthy weight gain.

Splice in Some Nutrition to Each Meal

Temptation for unhealthy eating is everywhere during the holidays. Between work parties, social gatherings, and family get-togethers—all flush with different types of foods—the propensity to lean towards unhealthy dishes is strong. To counterbalance the potential for unhealthy eating this holiday season, create a rule for yourself to include one healthy food in each major meal. Another rule to follow is to try fill half your plate with veggies. Making half your plate a colorful medley of fruits and vegetables is a safe way to infuse your holiday meals with solid nutrition. In addition, whether you are hosting or going to a potluck gathering, be a good eating advocate by bringing a healthy dish.

Just for good measure, here are some more holiday festivity nutrition tips. Never go to a party or gathering on an empty stomach (see the section above on skipping meals) and don’t base your socializing around food. And lastly, mind your drink calories. Some beverages such as sodas can be filled with a large amount of calories that can add up to almost as much as a whole meal! Try to stay hydrated with water, seltzer water, teas, or low-sugar juices to avoid a calorie splurge from beverages.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Numbers

Keeping track of your nutrition can be a great way to understand your needs, along with your dieting strengths and weaknesses. That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to break your nutrition down into exact numbers. This can further help you make healthy decisions during the holiday season. Many daily total calorie intakes are based off of 1,600 or 2,000 calories. According to the American Heart Association, your recommended daily values can be spread across several food and nutrient groups. For example, your total recommended grain intake for a 2,000-calorie diet is 6–8 servings per day, while the recommended daily vegetable intake for a 2,000-calorie diet is 4–5 servings per day.

Researching your daily nutrition recommendations, reading the labels when you’re doing your holiday shopping or preparing food, and staying on top of your nutrition choices can be a great guide healthy holiday eating.

Don’t let the holidays wreck your nutrition this year by falling into the same pattern of making regretful New Year’s resolutions because of bad choices. Be proactive, stay active, and make the healthy choices this holiday season for a great end to 2015 and a nutritious start to 2016.

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Choosing the Right Fats and Avoiding the "Bad" Proves to be Beneficial for Your Health

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Choosing the Right Fats and Avoiding the Bad Proves to be Beneficial for Your HealthFor a long time, when you heard the word, "fat", in a conversation about nutrition, it was usually used in a negative fashion. But not all fat is bad for you, depending on the variety you consume. There are two types of fats when it comes to food and nutrition: saturated and unsaturated. Certain foods can contain one or both types, which can affect your overall health in vastly different ways. Recently, research illuminated just how important it is to you heart health when it comes to which fats make up the bulk of your diet.

Saturated Fat Basics

Saturated fats possess no double-bonds between carbon molecules because they are saturated with hydrogen molecules, hence their name. Foods containing saturated fats usually remain solid at room temperature. These are the bad fats—the heavy fats that are found in foods known for their negative effects on your health. Some popular foods containing saturated fatty acids include meats, cheeses, butter, fried foods, heavy creams and oils, baked goods, and pastries.

The Healthy Replacements

Unsaturated fats, on the other-hand, can actually be beneficial to your daily diet. Two different types—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated—can be found in foods and some oils. A recent study showed how you can support a healthy heart by swapping out saturated fats for both types of unsaturated fat.

A Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study of 127,000 cohort participants showed that replacing 5% of energy intake coming from saturated fats with an equivalent intake from polyunsaturated fatty acids was associated with a 25% decrease in heart health concerns. Replacing the equivalent intake with monounsaturated fats was associated with a 15% decrease for the same cardiovascular concerns.

"This shows that the replacement really matters. It's not enough to remove something from your plate and think you're doing yourself a favor," said co-lead author, Dr. Adela Hruby, of the Chan School of Public Health at Harvard, Boston.

What Foods and Supplements to Look For

Along with knowing the benefits that certain fats can provide, it is vital to know where to find these fats. Most unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Flax oil, palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and canola oil can all be used for cooking instead of butter, shortening, and stick margarine.

When it comes to getting an extra heart health boost, there is also fish oil containing omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in studies to also lower the risk of heart concerns, as well as support healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Coldwater fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring contain high amounts of nutritious omega-3 fatty acids.

The Role of Fats and Healthy Food Choices

There was a time where we thought any kind of fat was bad. Now with an increased understanding of the different fats and the roles they play in your health and nutrition, we know that some fats can actually be beneficial. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then to learn that the recipe to avoiding saturated fats includes choosing healthier foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and poultry. If you choose to eat meat, limit your red meat consumption, choosing fish and nuts instead to help increase your unsaturated fat intake.

In the end, not all fats should be thought of negatively. Making the healthy choice sometimes means choosing the right fats and making them work for you when it comes to achieving a healthier overall lifestyle.

References:

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