Water is important for many functions in your body and is necessary for life. It helps remove toxins, aids in digestion, delivers nutrients to cells and helps to regulate body temperature. The human body is composed of anywhere between 50-75% water so it is easy to see why it is so important. Dehydration causes your blood to thicken which can increase your risk of blood clots and make it more difficult for your heart to pump your blood throughout your body.
Water also happens to contain 0 calories so replacing 1 can of soda a day with water can save you about 140 calories per day which can translate to almost a 15 pound weight loss over the course of a year. And a healthy weight is important for a healthy heart ❤️
How much do I need to drink?
The amount of water people need varies from person to person. It depends on things like climate you live in, exercise habits and medical conditions. The best way to determine if you are hydrated is to look at the color of your urine. If it is pale, you are doing a good job, if it is dark, you should try and increase your intake.
Fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. Because of this and their generally lower amounts of calories and fat they have been shown to help with weight control and can decrease your risk for multiple chronic disease such as heart disease and cancer. The American Heart Association recommends consuming 8 or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day….Which can seem overwhelming, but it may not be as hard to do as you think.
What counts as a serving?
1/2 C of fresh, frozen or canned fruits or vegetables
1/2 C of 100% fruit or vegetable juice
1 medium fruit
1 C of raw leafy green vegetables
1/4 C dried fruit
Tips to Add More Fruits and Vegetables in Your Diet
1. Pack a banana, apple or dried fruits in your purse for a quick snack
2. Toss some berries or raisins into your breakfast cereal or oatmeal
3. Add veggies such as peppers and onions to your eggs
4. Add a salad, vegetable soup or piece of fruit to your lunch or dinner
5. Add tomatoes, lettuce, onions or any other favorite vegetables to your sandwich
6. Keep some cut up fruit and vegetable sticks ready in your refrigerator for a quick and easy snack
7. Keep a bag of frozen fruit such as mixed berries in your freezer so you can make a nice cold smoothie on a hot day
8. Add chopped vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms or onions to your pasta or rice
9. If you are a dessert fan you can try baking fruit such as apples, pears or plums with a light sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon
10. Eat from the rainbow! Add colors to your diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables!
Check out these great recipes to help you eat more fruits and veggies!
Roasted Plums with Greek yogurt…. just make sure you choose a nonfat greek yogurt with no added sugars
Fat has gotten a bad reputation but it is not all bad. Fat is important for healthy skin and brain function and also helps with the absorption of some vitamins such as vitamin A, D, and E. Fat can also help you feel fuller longer. In order to replace your bad fats with good fats it is important to know the difference between the different types of fats and why some kinds of fats are good and others are bad.
Bad Fats – Saturated and Trans Fats
Saturated and trans fats are known to increase LDL cholesterol levels in your blood which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Saturated fat occurs naturally, mostly in animal products such as meat, butter, and cheese. Trans fat does occur naturally in very small amounts but most of the trans fat we consume today is artificially made through a process where hydrogen is added into vegetable oil to make it last longer. The end result is called “partially hydrogenated oil.” You can find this ingredient in many commercially baked goods, fried items such as potato chips or french fries, microwave popcorn, some margarines. Trans fat is even worse than saturated fat because not only does it increase your LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol) it also decreases your HDL cholesterol levels (good cholesterol). Check your labels and try to avoid anything that contains partially hydrogenated oil.
Tip: If a fat is solid at room temperature, it most likely is full of “bad” fats.
Good Fats – Unsaturated Fats such as Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats
Both mono and polyunsaturated fats can actually help reduce your cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that are essential in the diet and you can actually develop a deficiency if you do not consume these fats. Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease elevated triglyceride levels and lower levels of inflammation, both important for cardiovascular health. Sources of “Good” fats include nuts, oils such as olive and canola oil, avocados, and fish.
So how do I replace “bad” fats with “good” fats?
Here are a few easy practical ways:
1. Use oils such as olive or canola oil instead of butter or margarine when cooking.
2. Add a slice of avocado to your sandwich instead of butter.
3. Choose lean meats and cut off or drain any visible fat.
4. Eat fish twice a week.
5. Pack an ounce of mixed nuts for a snack instead of getting candy or other junk food from the vending machine.
6. Check your food labels for partially hydrogenated oils and avoid!
Here are a few recipes full of “good” fats:
If plain nuts are too boring for you check out this recipe for Rosemary Roasted Almonds
Hi, my name is Caryn, and I am a registered dietitian nutritionist in Miami, Florida. I was born and raised in Ohio and have 2 girls under the age of 5. I am a busy working mom who used to have an hour long commute to work, so I know how hard keeping up with healthy habits can be. I am a lazy cook, so I hate overly complicated recipes and doing dishes. Just toss everything in one pot....right?