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Need some help with your New Year's Resolutions? Here are a few things that will get you started!

Make smarter food choices - Limit your intake of red meats and processed foods, decrease the amount of saturated fat in your diet, eat 5-6 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, and choose whole-grain foods in place of white-flour foods.

Take the time for breakfast - People who eat breakfast tend to eat fewer calories throughout the day, function better during the day and are less likely to be irritable.

 

Drink plenty of water - Did you know thirst is often mistaken for hunger? If you think you’re hungry, try drinking a glass of water before going for a snack. Water is essential for the body to function properly including lubricating joints, removing toxins and regulating body temperature. Choose water instead of high-calorie or sugary beverages like sodas, sports drinks, coffee drinks and juice.

 

Limit your salt intake - One teaspoon of salt contains more sodium than the recommended 1,500 milligrams a day.

Excess salt can cause your body to retain fluids which may lead to high blood pressure and extra work for your kidneys. Foods highest in salt include sauces, prepared deli-style meats, frozen foods and soups. Read food labels carefully. Try low sodium salt or use more fresh herbs and spices to flavor food.

Stay active - Get least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Making small changes to your activity level will have positive benefits on your health.

Know Your Limit - Cut back on alcohol! - Consuming high levels of alcohol has been linked to liver and heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and mental deterioration, and even cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, and breast. If you do drink alcohol, limit the amount to no more than 1 drink per day for women, and 2 for men.

 

Discuss these health biometrics with your primary care provider - Numbers you need to know: Glucose, Cholesterol, BMI (body mass index) and blood pressure. Strive towards good health by keeping these numbers in check through diet, exercise and prescribed medications.

Talk to your doctor to find out which cancer screenings are right for you. - Early detection increases chance of survival. Available cancer screenings include breast, cervical, lung and prostate. When cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat or cure.

Protect the skin you’re in. - Apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing, hats and sunglasses when you are heading outdoors! Liberally apply SPF 30, broad spectrum and water- resistant sunscreen 15-30 minutes before sun exposure, then reapply every 90 minutes or sooner if you have been swimming or sweating.

Take time to rest. - You probably already know that a good night’s rest can do wonders for your mood, but sleep is more beneficial to your health than you might realize. Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep nightly in a dark, cool room free of excessive light and noise.

Resolve to quit smoking or vaping - Smoking tobacco…accounts for 85% of all lung cancer deaths. The US Surgeon General has said, “Smoking cessation [stopping smoking] represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives.” Parents strongly discourage your children from smoking and vaping.

Mental Health - Did you know that symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression can result in physical symptoms such as headaches, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, apathy, and stomach aches? Ignoring your mental health can impact your quality of life, relationships, work and physical health.

Laugh Every Day! - Laughter provides both physical and emotional healing. Gushan Sethi, MD, explains, “The physical effect of laughter relieves stress hormone in the blood, it strengthens the immune system and it releases certain chemicals in the brain and blood which improves an overall sense of wellbeing and relieves pain”. The emotional effects of finding the humor in even the most difficult things we face can be a powerful step to bringing some light into dark times. Laughter is free and can be shared with everyone!