Taking on your New Year’s health goals
A guide to overall health and nutrition
With fad diets like keto, carb reduction and calorie counting it can be difficult to figure out which diets are worth it. According to Cindy Gates, a dietician at Regional Health, fad diets typically don’t work for long-term success.
Some major components are keeping hydrated, staying active and nourishing your body. It’s about changing your lifestyle and habits rather than dieting. Dieting implies that it will be short term, whereas a lifestyle is constant.
Lower carbohydrate intake is sustainable, but be sure not to completely eliminate carbs from your diet. In fact, you should never eliminate any major nutrients, such as fat, protein or carbs, from your diet.
In regard to carb intake, be sure to consume complex carbs. Complex carbs include whole grains, potatoes, and natural substances. Stay away from simple carbs such as processed bread, soda, and sugar.
Vegan and vegetarian diets are sustainable for some people but not everyone. It is important to consult with your doctor if you plan on going vegan or vegetarian. It is also a slow process of removing meat or dairy. It takes a few weeks to completely remove a food group, such as meat, from your diet.
When it comes to losing weight, a diet rich in fiber, protein and healthy fats, such as Omega-3 is the way to go. Couple that with daily exercise and you will see results.
Vegetable and fruits contain lots of fiber. Meat and greek yogurt contain a significant amount of protein. Fish and nuts are also rich in Omega-3 and other healthy fats.
“For water, drink half your body weight in water. If you weigh 150 lbs. drink 75 ounces of water. Another good rule of thumb is drink at least 64 ounces daily,” said Gates.
Whether you want to lose weight or not, exercise is important. Dr. Jennifer Williamson at Regional Health, says you should exercise at least five days a week.
“For those who have no limitations against movement the goal is 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio at least 5 days a week,” said Williamson.
Running, cycling and swimming are great for cardiovascular health. Weightlifting is the best option for gaining muscle and burning fat.
Studies also show that exercise is beneficial to overall well-being. Exercise can increase dopamine and serotonin levels. These brain chemicals contribute to mood and mental health. Low dopamine and serotonin can lead to mental illness, chronic pain and even Parkinson’s disease.
The benefits of creating healthy habits will last a lifetime. As always consult a doctor before making major health changes. Teaming up with a dietician or a nutritionist is also helpful when reaching for your health goals.