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Healthy Diet Tips to Start Your New Year Right

Welcome to a healthy 2015! These stories caught my eye this week.

First, we just came off the holiday season, and I hope yours was all that you wanted. Maybe you had a few more drinks “than usual.” This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that on average, six people die each day from alcohol poisoning. The term is defined as too much alcohol consumed in a short period of time.


That alcohol can hit the “off switch” on parts of your brain that control breathing, heart rate and body temperature, causing death. You may be surprised to learn that 76 percent of alcohol poisoning deaths occur among adults ages 35 to 64, so our demographic is unfortunately well represented here. Also, most deaths occur in men.

Remember these guidelines: Don’t start drinking or increase the amount you drink on the basis of potential health benefits. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation—up to one drink a day for women or up to two drinks a day for men.

Next, when you think about what you want to eat, bet you don’t automatically think, “That’s it! I want whole grains!” According to new research, maybe you should. That’s because eating more whole grains has been associated with a lower risk of major chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The American Heart Association defines grains as any food made from white, rice, oats, corn or another cereal. Whole grains, versus refined grains, contain the entire grain, which includes the bran, germ and endosperm. Examples include whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, whole cornmeal, brown rice and bulgur.

Whole grains rate high because they’re good fiber sources and can help reduce cholesterol levels, which then may lower heart disease risk. Make whole grains your friend, and your heart will thank you. Plus, they make interesting alternatives on the plate, and change can be good.

Finally, while we’re talking about diets (and it’s the New Year, so isn’t everyone?) Researchers at the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab found that shoppers spend 15 percent more on food during the holiday season of Thanksgiving to New Year’s and only about 25 percent of that additional food is healthy.

I am guilty! I bought things in Trader Joe’s that I NEVER eat at any other time of the year. Those Dark Chocolate-Covered Peppermint Joe-Joes rocked my dessert cravings. And I won’t see them again for 12 months.

Turns out the study found that after New Year’s—that’s now—shoppers ended up taking home 9 percent more calories than we did during the holidays. Force of habit? Seems we “hang on to” unhealthy holiday foods and then buy more. The best advice is pretty predictable, but it’s smart. Choose fresh produce, always a winner, and other healthier foods. It’s up to us.

This week, you’ve got to read my interview with Lisa Edelstein of BRAVO’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. This girlfriend thinks Lisa’s discipline really pays off.

Stephanie Stephens, M.A., says now’s the time to make changes in your life that enhance the rest of your life. For the age 45+ crowd, she writes, produces, and hosts her multimedia channel, Mind Your Body TV, featuring timely health and lifestyle blogs, podcasts, and videos—also seen on YouTube and syndicated by AOL/On.

 

 

 

 

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