Living and Wellness 31 Days of Healthy Tips By BodyChangers, December 31, 2014 Each new year brings the promise of positive change. In the midst of holiday shopping and taking stock of all you’ve done in 2014, you’re probably looking ahead to the future. Are you thinking about positive changes you’d like to make in your life or things you’d like to accomplish in 2015? If you haven’t decided on a New Year’s resolution, here are 31 things you can do to get yourself on the right track: Drink green tea – Green tea is high in antioxidants and may help reduce heart disease risk. Add avocado – Avocados are a great source of healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and fiber. They are also linked to weight management, cancer prevention, and lower cholesterol levels. Don’t skip breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Studies show breakfast can help maintain a healthy body weight. Know your serving sizes –Knowing the appropriate portion sizes is key in maintaining a healthy body weight. On a typical plate, the protein (meat, fish, poultry) should be the same size as the palm of your hand, a serving of carbohydrates is about the size of your fist, and a serving of vegetables is an open handful. Enjoy blueberries – Blueberries are low calorie (80 calories per serving), rich in Vitamin C, and high in antioxidants. They also contain anthocyanins, which promote heart health! Cut down on sugar – Sugar fills your body with empty calories and can lead to serious health conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Quit smoking – Smoking may contribute to heart disease and cancer. Ditch the cigarettes and keep more than 4,000 harmful ingredients out of your body. Eat tomatoes – Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C (both antioxidants), rich in potassium and low in cholesterol and fat. They also contain lycopene, a phytonutrient which gives tomatoes its red , vibrant color and has shown some cancer-fighting properties, especially when processed. Get a breast exam – Breast exams help find cancer early, when it is more likely to be small and confined to the breast. These factors lead to a more successful treatment. Wear sunscreen – Sunscreen protects against sunburn, skin damage, and skin cancer. SPF 30 – 50 is recommended. Make sure the active ingredient(s) in your sunblock is Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide. Shower with warm water – Don’t shower with water that’s too hot so you don’t dry out your skin! Remember to apply lotion to your entire body immediately following shower to lock in moisture! Take your vitamins– Vitamins help your body function properly. If your vitamin intake is low, you may lack energy or be more vulnerable to infections. Protect your eyes – Wear sunglasses that protect against 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. UV radiation from the sun contributes to different types of eye problems, like cataracts and macular degeneration. Give your eyes a break – Prevent eye strain in the digital age by taking regular breaks from your computer screen. Lift with your legs, not your back – Use the strength of your legs and glutes to decrease the stress on your back muscles. Practice good posture – Practicing good posture is essential to avoiding effects like muscle pain, tingling, or even nerve injuries. Get a good pair of sneakers – When exercising, it’s important to wear shoes that support your feet. Consider investing in sports-specific shoes if you practice three or more times a week! Stretch when you wake up – Stretching in the morning can help prevent injuries and gets your blood flowing, which helps you wake up faster. Exercise – Break a sweat for 30 minutes, 5 to 7 times a week to help maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, control blood pressure, and control cholesterol levels. Use ginger – Ginger relieves gastrointestinal stress, reduces nausea, and is shown to have cancer-fighting properties. Enjoy probiotics – Studies suggest probiotics (found naturally in yogurt and some cheeses) may help treat diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, acne, and even eczema in children. Eat fish – Oily fish contain essential fatty acids known as omega-3s and omega-6s, which can improve cholesterol levels! Laugh – Laughter stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles because of the increase in air intake. All that oxygen also releases endorphins in your brain! Drink water – Every part of your body (cells, tissue, organs), needs water to function. Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day to keep your body hydrated. Exercise your mind – Use it, or lose it! Exercising your brain, also known as neurobics, is just as important as working up a sweat at the gym. Challenging your brain on a regular basis can help reduce the risk of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Manage stress – Keeping your stress level in check is essential for overall health. Stress raises your heart rate and blood pressure, so try breathing exercises or yoga. Read – Keep your brain in shape by reading a book. Studies show that reading increases your memory and ability to focus. Have sanitizer ready – Especially during cold and flu season, hand sanitizer is a great way to keep your hands clean when soap and water aren’t available. Studies have shown hand sanitizer effectively prevents the spread of colds, so make sure to keep it close. Wear your seatbelt – Buckle up! Wearing your seatbelt is a simple habit that protects you and your loved ones. Get plenty of sleep – Experts recommend 8 hours of sleep per night. Getting less than six hours of shut eye in a single evening can affect your mood, while longer periods of poor sleep can yield permanent damage to the way your brain processes information. Eat broccoli – Often described as a “super food,” broccoli provides fiber, vitamins K and C, and other nutrients, such as the ones that eliminate toxins from the body. These are just 31 ideas to help you make 2015 a happy and healthy year. Have you already carved out your new year’s resolutions?