Welcome 2015: New Year, New You!

By K.P. Sander

fruits-and-vegetables          SGV – The countdown for the New Year has come and gone. Did you make that annual resolution – again – to get in the best shape of your life? Is this the year you are really going to become healthy (lose weight, look younger, be happier)?

It’s no mystery that there is some happiness associated with looking and feeling better. When you are full of vim and vigor, there is a spring in your step and you actually have the energy and drive to accomplish more at home, work and play. And, there’s not a darn thing wrong with feeling good about yourself.

Statistics show that not everyone is equipped to go cold turkey and completely transform their lives with a drastic change in eating and exercise habits; sometimes the most successful results in becoming healthy appear by just making a few changes.

What if you added ten foods that had amazing health benefits to your diet instead of eliminating every single thing you found delicious? What if you vowed to stop eating just one food per month that you knew was damaging (like, if it dyes your fingers orange, what is it doing to your insides…just sayin’)? At the end of the year, that’s 22 choices you’ve made to become healthier.

Rather than train for a marathon – unless you are totally up for it – what if you promised to walk three times each week, for 30 minutes, no matter what? With each season change you could add one more day of something fun, like biking, skating, weight training or a dance class to keep things interesting.

To help get you started, these are the ten healthiest foods on the planet, according to Fitness Magazine:

  1. Lemons – Just one has more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin C requirements, and flavonoids that help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and reduce inflammation. Squeeze one into a cup of hot water daily, and help your liver do its job better.
  2. Broccoli – Beautiful broccoli helps give cancer the boot, with one stalk containing more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin K requirements, and nearly 200 percent of the recommended vitamin C.
  3. Dark Chocolate – ¼ ounce daily can help to reduce blood pressure, and cocoa power is rich in antioxidants shown to help reduce bad LDL cholesterol levels. No, a Snickers bar doesn’t count.
  4. Potatoes – One red potato contains enough cell-building folate as a cup of spinach or broccoli. A sweet potato has eight times the amount of cancer-fighting vitamin A that you need daily. Try to skip the butter and sour cream; it sort of defeats the purpose.
  5. Salmon – Wild, Alaskan fish from pristine cold waters can help to fight depression, heart disease and cancer, and with strong components of niacin it can help fight Alzheimer’s and memory loss.
  6. Walnuts – Delicious walnuts contain more omega-3 fatty acids than any other nut, which have been shown to fight cancer and improve moods. It’s not a coincidence that these little gems look like a brain.
  7. Avocados – This healthy fat can lower cholesterol by 22 percent, and has nearly half the fiber and folate requirements you need each day.
  8. Garlic – This powerful disease fighter can inhibit the growth of bacteria, including E. coli, and has properties that work as an anti-inflammatory to help lower cholesterol and blood-pressure.
  9. Spinach – This cancer-fighting power house contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two immune-boosting antioxidants important for eye health.
  10. Beans – Eating legumes four times per week is said to lower your risk for heart disease by as much as 22 percent.

All these foods can become a delicious part of your nutrition plan, and help to improve your health. Throw them all into a salad with a lemon vinaigrette and a square of dark chocolate for dessert, and you might be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or just feel pretty good about yourself. As a bonus, drink a lot of pure, clean water, eat organic produce whenever possible, and get your heart rate up on a regular basis. This will definitely help make for a new year, new you. Cheers!