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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Eat to Lose Weight and Live Longer

By Chris Chenoweth

Eating a nutritious diet and getting enough physical activity can reduce your risk of many diseases and help you live a longer, healthier life. Heart disease, some types of cancer, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes can be prevented or controlled simply by following a healthy diet and lifestyle. It is never too late to start eating right. Here are some helpful tips.

*EAT A LARGE NUTRITIOUS BREAKFAST. This will rev up your metabolism and make it easier for your body to burn fat.

*EAT AT LEAST 5 SERVINGS OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLES EVERY DAY. Eating vegetables in their most natural state (raw) is more nutritious for your body but cooked vegetables are fine, too. If it is a struggle to get that many fruits and vegetables into your daily diet, try vegetable soups or fruit smoothies made in a blender.

*EAT WHOLE GRAINS. Avoid white bread and white rice as they have had the fiber processed out of them. Use only food made with whole grain such as whole grain breads, cereals, wheat germ, barley and brown rice. Whole grains are high in fiber and help prevent constipation and keep your bowels toxin-free.

*CUT OUT WHITE FOODS (sugar, flour, donuts, crackers, etc.). These foods are over-processed and have no nutritional value. They raise insulin levels, protecting your stored fat instead of burning it off. If you have these foods lying around in your kitchen, get rid of them! They will only provide temptation for you.

*DRINK LOTS OF WATER, at least 8 glasses a day, instead of soda or other sweetened beverages. Water flushes out the system and eliminates harmful toxins. It forces the body to run more efficiently, speeds up metabolism, and makes it easier to lose weight and burn fat.

*EAT PROTEIN. Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dried beans all provide protein. Make sure you take the skin off of poultry and eat only lean meats.

*EAT ONLY GOOD FATS. Unsaturated fats do not raise cholesterol levels. Foods with unsaturated fat include olive oil, vegetable oils, fish, avocados, and many nuts.

*WATCH PORTION SIZES. Always be aware of how much you are eating. Never choose super-sized portions at restaurants.

BE ACTIVE

Physical activity helps you feel better and improves your health. Use some of the tips listed below:

*Walk! Every day, take a walk, inside or outside, alone or with a friend or family member. Walk as briskly as you can and swing your arms. Breathe deeply. You will start to feel better almost immediately. Shoot for a mile a day. Try to increase it just a little each day. The more you walk, the easier it becomes and the more you will want to do it.

*If you work in an office, use the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car in the farthest parking space from the building. Get up and walk during your break instead of sitting down and eating a snack.

*If you have access to an indoor swimming pool, use it several times a week. Swimming, along with walking, is an excellent aerobic exercise that gets your heart pumping and revs up your metabolism.

*Go bicycling with your kids. Bicycling is another aerobic exercise that provides fun, relaxation and quality time with your family. Ride your bike to work! If you cannot bicycle outside, try a stationary bike. Watch TV or listen to music while you pedal.

*Take up roller-skating (or ice-skating or roller-blading), another aerobic exercise that is so much fun! Bring your kids with you.

*Take a fitness class, a Yoga class or take dancing lessons. All are fun and provide great exercise.

Any and all kinds of physical activity will help you stay healthy. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes every day. The more active you are, the healthier you will become.

Eating your way to good health is not as difficult as you think. If you can make some changes in your eating habits and your lifestyle, you are on your way to a healthier you.

Chris Chenoweth, author of the DO-IT-YOURSELF HOME, HEALTH & MONEY GUIDE, writes articles pertaining to diet, exercise, health, and business.

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