Healthy Choices

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10 Things to Stop Doing if You Want to Live Longer
America’s First School District to Serve 100% Organic Meals
Drink Water
Are You Making Heart Healthy Choices?
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10 Things to Stop Doing if You Want to Live Longer


Stop Eating Mainly Processed Foods

One of the major dietary changes that’s taken place in many countries over the last 30 years has been a shift to consuming more processed foods. Along with processing comes an increase in added sodium, more saturated fat, more sugar, and less fiber. The result? More cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer, and diabetes.

For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends consuming no more than 2,300 mg (less than 2.4g) of sodium each day—less for many seniors and other people with certain health conditions, like high blood pressure. Still, in a survey of more than 7,000 Americans, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found people consume an average of 3,300 mg of sodium per day. Most of the salt comes from restaurant and convenience foods, like baked goods, cured meats and soup.

Do your body a favor, and try to eat "clean" more often, including foods high in fiber (which are linked to greater longevity) and other ingredients you purchase and prepare yourself. If you’re short on time (and who isn’t?), cook ahead in big batches, or splurge on ready-made salads and other fresh or frozen vegetables, while watching the sodium and sugar contents on the label.

Stop Sitting Still

If you don’t feel you have time to exercise, consider this: You may not need to hit the global minimum recommendations of 30 minutes a day, five or more times per week, to extend your life. A study published in 2011 in The Lancet, examining the activity habits of more than 416,000 men and women in Taiwan, found that getting just 15 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day helped subjects live three extra years. The longevity boost went up to four years of longer life for people achieving the threshold of 30 minutes a day. The results held true even for those with health problems like cardiovascular disease—and for overweight people who didn’t lose any pounds through their activity.

Brisk walking was one of the "moderate intensity" exercises cited in the Taiwanese research. You might have to make a conscious effort to work it into your daily routine, but 15 minutes of activity for an extra three years of life sounds like a longevity bargain.

Stop Keeping to Yourself

Staying social can be a good longevity booster, mostly by helping you manage stress and by strengthening your immune system. Good relationships keep you strong, while bad relationships can leave you in a negative frame of mind, and put you at risk of depression and even heart attacks.

Staying connected can be a tough one if you are feeling down, have lost someone close to you, or live far away from extended family and friends. There are ways to re-engage and meet new people even if you are in a new city, including volunteering and reaching out to others with similar interests through networks like business groups and book clubs.

Stop Thinking That Only Big Changes Count

Sweeping, radical changes in lifestyle might be inspiring, but they can also be too daunting—and therefore, short-lived—for ordinary mortals. The next time you resolve to eat healthier or exercise more, try aiming low! Try choosing just one small change at a time, like getting up 10 minutes earlier in the morning to fix yourself a healthy lunch for work, instead of a major life makeover. Like the exercise advice above shows, even short spurts of activity each day can reap big benefits for your lifespan.

Small shifts can fly under your own radar, adding up to big benefits over time without causing stress in your busy world. Consistency is more important than a short-term, grand gesture. Besides, looking at what’s already working in your day-to-day routine can help you feel energized and motivated to tweak a little more in a healthy direction.

Stop Letting Fear (or Denial) Keep You From Being Healthy

Of all the personality traits that could affect your longevity, conscientiousness consistently ranks as an important one, perhaps the most important one. Why? Well, conscientious people tend to engage in healthy behaviors like eating well, exercising, and following their doctors’ advice, while avoiding risky behaviors like smoking and driving too fast.

However, don’t confuse being conscientious or diligent with being neurotic about your health, a trait that may be linked to negative emotions like anxiety, anger, and depression. A simplified example might be that a neurotic person worries he might have cancer, and fearing the worst, doesn’t go to his doctor. By contrast, a conscientious person may still worry, but gets screened or tested, learns about the disease, and gets treated in a timely fashion.

Stop Cheating Your Night's Sleep

The amount of sleep you get can affect your lifespan, and not just because a sleepy driver is at risk of a car accident. In epidemiological studies, sleeping too little (fewer than six hours) or substantially more (over nine hours) has been shown to put people at greater risk of death. Quality of life is also on the line: A good night’s sleep can help you ward off stress, depression, and heart disease.

You can learn to fall asleep more quickly and take measures that can help, like keeping your bedroom dark and distraction-free, and having the temperature on the cool side. Meditation exercises can set the stage for a good night’s sleep, and an inexpensive noise machine can help with relaxing sounds. If you’re still having trouble getting to sleep, or staying asleep, see your health provider for further help.

Stop Stressing

Like anger, stress takes its toll on your body and may actually shorten your life. By trying to reduce stress, you can improve your health in the long-term, and quality of life in the meantime.

Journaling or writing in a diary, meditating (a practice with multiple longevity benefits), and learning to relax are wonderful ways to de-stress. Working in just a few minutes of meditation a day—even at your desk—can give your brain the mini-vacation from anxiety and tension it needs.

Stop Relying on—or Blaming—Your Genes

Having parents, grandparents, or other family members live into their nineties and beyond might suggest that you will too, but don’t rely too heavily on that family history. Studies conducted on twins in Scandinavia suggest that genetics may be responsible for only about a third of your longevity potential.

This is, of course, good news for those of us without that exceptional ancestry. Environmental and lifestyle factors like diet, how much exercise you get (what researchers call modifiable risk factors), whether you’re exposed to workplace toxins, how much stress you experience, how conscientious you are about medical tests and screenings, and even the strength of your social relationships all play a huge role in how fast you age and how long you might live. Besides, why focus on the genetics you can’t control, when the factors you can will benefit from your attention?
Source: www.verywell.com/things-to-stop-if-you-want-to-live-longer-2223866?utm_campaign=health_tod&utm_medium=email&utm_source=cn_nl&utm_content=8418542&utm_term=

America’s First School District to Serve 100% Organic Meals


When schools in California’s Sausalito Marin City District return to session this August, they were the first in the nation to serve their students 100 percent organic meals, sustainable sourced and free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

"Students everywhere are vulnerable to pesticide residues and unsafe environmental toxins,” Turning Green founder Judi Shils said on Tuesday.“Not only does this program far exceed USDA nutritional standards, but it ties the health of our children to the health of our planet. It’s the first program to say that fundamentally, you cannot have one without the other.”

The organization says meals will be accompanied by nutrition and gardening education. The Conscious Kitchen previously served 156 students at Bayside MLK Jr. Academy, where it first tested the program starting in August 2013. Over the course of two years, the founders said, disciplinary cases decreased and attendance increased.

“This program is the first to take a stand against GMOs. While the long-term effects of GMOs are still uncertain, a growing body of evidence links them to a variety of health risks and environmental damage. An estimated 80 percent of items on most supermarket shelves contain GMOs, and they are ubiquitous in school food programs.”

Nutritional experts have long pointed out that food and beverages in schools have a long-term impact on children’s health and well-being. The 2010 Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act required schools in the U.S. to update their meal provisions to meet new USDA nutritional standards and offer more whole wheat products, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins to children who receive subsidized school lunches.

“Schools that incorporate an integrated approach to edible education—combining local, seasonal food procurement strategies with hands-on lessons taught in the classroom, kitchen, and garden—are far more likely to sustain healthy school meal initiatives,” said Liza Siegler, the organization’s head of partnerships and engagement.

As Justin Everett, consulting chef with the Conscious Kitchen, explained on Tuesday, “By embracing fresh, local, organic, non-GMO food, this program successfully disrupts the cycle of unhealthy, pre-packaged, heat and serve meals that dominate school kitchens.”

But as the Berkeley-based nutritional nonprofit The Edible Schoolyard Project explains, it is equally important to prioritize food education.
Source: offgridquest.com/food/americas-first-school-district-to-serve-

Are You Making Heart Healthy Choices?


Egg-White Omelettes No yolks in your omelettes? That's just utterly unnecessary. The yolk contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are crucial for eye health. Egg yolks are also an important source of phosphatidylcholine, a nutrient that boosts brain health. Worried about your cholesterol levels? Consider this: Half the fat in the yolk isn't even saturated.

Farm-Raised Salmon You'd think eating penned salmon would be the healthier way to go, but the farm-raised fish are pumped full of antibiotics and are lower in nutritional value than their wild relatives. In addition, wild salmon get their red color from an antioxidant in their natural food source, krill. Farmed salmon get their color from dye.

Supermarket Cereal Most supermarket cereals are fiber lightweights and are also loaded with sugar. The best cereals are old-fashioned oatmeal, and a few standouts like Fiber One and All-Bran. Check the labels and choose cereals that have fewer than 5 grams of sugar and more than 5 grams of fiber per serving.

Granola Bars Most granola bars are simply candy bars in disguise, with very little fiber, lots of processed carbs, and a ton of sugar. You're better off making your own healthier version from raw oats, chopped almonds, coconut flakes, raisins and a dollop of raw organic honey.

Frozen Yogurt The only thing fro-yo has in common with real yogurt (the plain, non-frozen kind) is that they're both white. The frozen stuff doesn't have live cultures, which help maintain digestive health and the nonfat varieties are a mix of chemicals and artificial sweeteners. You're better off with a serving of organic ice cream.

Canola Oil Along with olive oil, canola oil seems like a healthy standout. But conventional canola oil goes through a caustic refining process that creates some trans fats. Unless it's cold-pressed and organic, stay away.

Apple Juice It's sweet, refreshing and a favorite among kids. But most apple juice is nothing more than sugar water with apple flavoring. One cup of apple juice has no fiber, 117 calories and 27 grams of sugar. And most people consume way more than a cup at a time. Stick to fiber-rich apples and skip the juice.
Source: www.esalen.org/workshops/reservations.shtml

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We have to act now to make sure you don't have to be a Rockefeller to afford decent healh care in this country. - Jay Rockefeller



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