Carolyn, agree completely, a plant-based Mediterranean style diet is the best diet for health. That includes some whole grains, ideally in intact form (such as farro, quinoa, and brown rice), some healthy proteins and fats (legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, chicken), and mostly fruits and veggies. Refined grains, like white flour and sugar, and everything made from them (bread, pastas, backed goods, cereals, et cetera) are the real culprit.
Eating two or more servings of fish a week is linked with a 30 percent lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, studies show. Fish—especially oily kinds like salmon and tuna—are rich in omega-3 fats, which reduce levels of triglycerides that can cause heart problems. Omega-3s also help lower blood pressure and can help prevent irregular heart rhythms. Which fish is best? No common fish delivers more of the omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. Go for wild-caught Alaskan salmon if you can. Compared to most farmed salmon, it's generally lower in calories and pollutants and higher in omega-3s—and is better for the planet.
Vegetables and legumes – raw or cooked vegetables can be used as a snack food or as a part of lunch and dinner. Salad vegetables can be used as a sandwich filling. Vegetable soup can make a healthy lunch. Stir-fries, vegetable patties and vegetable curries make nutritious evening meals. Try raw vegetables like carrot and celery sticks for a snack ‘on the run’.
The second part of a healthy active lifestyle is exercise. A regular exercise routine, such as working out at a gym, going for a daily walk or jog, or doing some regular weight lifting is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. There are other ways to incorporate exercise into everyday life; for instance, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away from the door when driving somewhere, and take a break from work to go for a walk.
Quaker, the brand that’s practically synonymous with oats stateside, just released its own version of oat milk, too. It's called Oat Beverage and it will be hitting the refrigerated section of grocery stores nationwide in January. While oat milk is relatively low in calories, compared to other non-dairy beverages it has a high carbohydrate content so it's not suitable for those looking to cut carbs.
Tools to deal with temptation: the more you say no to the unhealthy options, the better you get at it. It’s almost like you’re forming a new habit in saying ‘no, thanks.’ The planning process is crucial in being able to say no. If you’re well prepared and have either eaten a nutritious meal or snack or have one with you ready to go, it’s so much easier to pass up those spur of the moment opportunities that crop up. In taking the healthy option more often, you’ll also be more aware of which shops are health-friendly and which options are the best for you to take with you out of the house in case you have been unorganized or are in a rush.
Study investigators also calculated life expectancy by how many of these five healthy habits people had. Just one healthy habit (and it didn’t matter which one) … just one… extended life expectancy by two years in men and women. Not surprisingly, the more healthy habits people had, the longer their lifespan. This is one of those situations where I wish I could reprint their graphs for you, because they’re so cool. (But if you’re very curious, the article is available online, and the graphs are on page 7. Check out Graph B, “Estimated life expectancy at age 50 according to the number of low-risk factors.”)
And don’t forget about sustainably sourced eggs. “Vital Farms’ hens are allowed to forage freely, and this keeps the pastures healthy and means harmful chemicals aren’t necessary,” says Cassetty. “It’s a win for the animals, a win for the environment, and a win for egg lovers because pasture-raised eggs have more vitamins and minerals than eggs produced in other ways.”
To offer you a preview of the most important healthy trends of the new year, we chatted with nationally respected registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) throughout the United States to hear what health products and trends most stood out at this year’s Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, as well as what these RDNs see as hot at the grocery store and in their clients’ shopping carts.
“People recognize that whole grains are much more nutritious than refined grains, so they’re prioritizing these when shopping for packaged products,” says Cassetty. “One brand I love is Quinn Snacks. Since they’re made with whole grains, I feel good about giving them to my son and recommending them to clients looking for a healthier snack, in moderation. I also like their microwave popcorn because unlike other brands, the toppings are added after it’s popped.”