People of all ages can incorporate regular exercise into their lives to develop a healthy active lifestyle. Many people who lead active lifestyles also enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, or skiing, which can be great ways to have fun, make new friends, and get in better physical shape. Leading a healthy lifestyle is a great way to lose weight and maintain that weight loss over time, rather than a fad diet where the weight may come back just as quickly as it came off.
It's been a diet staple in Mediterranean countries—where people tend to live longer—for thousands of years. And for good reason: olive oil is not only excellent for cooking, but it also delivers powerful heart-healthy benefits. Stacks of studies confirm that extra-virgin olive oil in particular helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol and prevents blood clots. It also fights inflammation: researchers have found that oleocanthal, a compound in virgin olive oil, has anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen. Rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, olive oil has another plus: studies show it can help you stick to a healthy weight, which can further slash your risk of heart disease. The bottom line: If olive oil isn't a staple in your pantry yet, it should be.
“We are learning more and more about the benefits of a healthy microbiome, so there’s a lot of interest about ways to feed the trillions of bacteria in our guts,” says Samantha Cassetty, RD, in private practice in New York City. The microbiome is the community of bacteria in the gut that may play a role in the development of health conditions such as diabetes, eczema, cancer, and depression, according to the Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah.
Nuts are full of vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and have low levels of saturated fats. Research suggests that people who eat nuts—walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, pine nuts and peanuts (which actually are legumes)—two to four days or more a week have a lower incidence of heart disease than people who eat them less often. Does it matter what kind? Some researchers say walnuts win the honors. A study from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania found that walnuts have more high-quality antioxidants than any other variety. And it only takes a small handful—just seven walnuts a day—to get the heart benefits.
Low FODMAPFor sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) a low FODMAP diet can significantly improve symptoms. Healthy Food Guide has a collection of FODMAP-friendly recipes so you can look after your IBS without struggling to find things you can eat. For more low FODMAP recipe ideas see our recipe filter for recipes that can easily be made into a low FODMAP options.