REALITY CHECK: According to Forbes, only 8% of people achieve their New Year's resolution... So, when our commitment to those New Year's diet and fitness resolutions seem to waiver and fail... How about a second chance by adding these 5 healthy foods to your diet? This list was created after much research and includes many notes from the time I was a university Fitness and Health instructor. There are, of course, many other healthy foods besides these five. This is just a short list to get your New Year back on the right track.
- FISH Preferably fresh, contains a large amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the amount of plaque that builds up inside the walls of your arteries. Plaque comes from bad cholesterol that sticks to your arteries. Both the FDA and the American Heart Association recommend eating fresh fish at least twice a week.
- NUTS (mainly almonds and walnuts) - Nuts have flavonoids, an antioxidant that raises the levels of your good cholesterol. They also have a large amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E (antioxidant), fiber, *folate, and magnesium. Moderation is the key: It's recommended only a handful of nuts every day. Blue Diamond brand has tasty dark chocolate covered almonds. Dark chocolate also has antioxidants. *Benefits of folate: (a) support red blood cell production and help prevent anemia, (b) allow nerves to function properly, and (c) help prevent osteoporosis.
- BEANS (any kind) - They're full of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, and potassium. They also don't contain any cholesterol. Among the health benefits of beans are (a) lower cholesterol levels, (b) lower blood pressure, (c) reduce risk of many cancers, (d) regulate functions of the colon.
- TOMATOES They have lycopene, a vital anti-oxidant that helps in the fight against cancerous cell formation. *Note: Research studies show that by cooking the tomatoes, we can actually increase the lycopene levels; however, Vitamin C content decreases when compared to uncooked tomatoes.
- BLUEBERRIES (raw) - Ranked in the U.S. diet as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits and vegetables. Some of the health benefits of blueberries are (a) reduce bad cholesterol, (b) help control blood sugar levels, and (c) improve brain health. A low calorie food (about 84 calories in 1 cup), it's recommended 1 to 2 cups of blueberries per day.