Acronyms can be super-easy ways to remember healthy habits. Here are our FAVES for vibrant health!
Focus on Healthy Fats: Research has repeatedly demonstrated that fat is necessary for our health, particularly omega 3 fatty acids. Omega –3′s are an essential fatty acid, meaning our body cannot produce them on its own. These inflammation-fighting fats must be obtained from our diet. Two crucial ones, EPA and DHA, are primarily found in certain fish and pasture-raised beef. ALA, another omega–3 fatty acid that can be converted to EPA and DHA in the body, is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. The benefits of omega–3s are well documented in the scientific literature. Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet contains entirely too many Omega–6 fats from vegetable oils and processed foods. We want to have a 1:1 balance of omega–3’s to omega–6’s. Eating 2 decks of card-sized servings of fatty fish like salmon, lake trout, herring or mackerel a week should give you all the omega–3’s you need. Also, trans-fats like those found in processed foods should be avoided at all costs.
Avoid Processed Foods: Processed foods include anything that comes in a package or has been altered from its natural state. Processed foods often contain harmful chemicals our bodies don’t recognize, rancid, inflammation producing vegetable oils and trans fats. Read the labels on your food, if you see an ingredient you don’t recognize, return it to the store shelf.
Vegetables and Fruits: Fill your plate with as many vibrantly hued fruits and vegetables as you can. These nutritional powerhouses offer your body a host of benefits including cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, fiber and a plethora of health-promoting phytonutrients. A good rule of thumb is to try to fill at least half of your plate with fruit and vegetables at each meal. In particular, leafy greens pack a powerful nutritional punch.
Eat Mindfully: Mindful eating is eating with attention to the food you are putting in your mouth. It allows you to be fully present in the experience of eating. It requires you to pay attention to the sight, sound, texture, flavors, and taste of your food. Put aside the phones, computers, newspapers, and TV’s so you can listen to the cues your body is providing about satiety, making it more likely you will stop eating before you become over full.
Sit Less: Dr. Mike Lara asks his patients to think about sitting less instead of exercising more. An important distinction because for many, the idea of adding exercise to their daily routine can feel like a daunting task but most everyone can think about sitting less. The trick is to avoid staying stationary for long periods of time. Moving around activates the large muscle groups in your legs and back helping to burn calories and keep blood sugar in balance. Scientists are now recommending you try to stand up and move around every thirty minutes throughout the day.