While there are a growing number of health concerns in the U.S., such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, there is only one guaranteed way to help prevent any of these diseases, and the answer is that obvious. Nutrition plays the most important role in leading a healthy lifestyle. With adequate exercise and a properly balanced diet that includes, fruits, vegetables, fish and lean meats packed with disease-fighting vitamins, age-defying antioxidants and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, you’ll be well on your way to preventing cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
while their heart disease and diabetes rates are the lowest compared to other minority groups, they are still the leading causes of death for Asian-American women.
For Asian-American women, nutrition is an especially serious issue, and while their heart disease and diabetes rates are the lowest compared to other minority groups, they are still the leading causes of death for Asian-American women. In honor of National Nutrition Month, an annual national campaign aimed at emphasizing the importance of developing healthy eating habits and making informed eating choices, here is a four-step plan to changing your lifestyle and renewing your health:
Eat Your Vitamins
While taking vitamins and supplements are helpful, it doesn’t beat actually eating the superfoods foods that can dramatically improve your health. According to the American Dietetic Association, whole-grains, lean meats, fruits and vegetables and foods low in saturated fats are the best choices in developing good eating habits.
Get Fiber and Curb Your Cravings
Getting enough fiber in your diet is crucial to your health, and there’s no better way to get your daily dose of fiber than eating whole-grains. Eating fiber-rich foods not only improves your digestive health, but lowers your cholesterol and stabilizes your blood sugar levels. Substitute whole wheat bread in your sandwiches for white bread, and when baking, choose whole-wheat flour. When we eat refined carbs, such as, cookies, cake and cupcakes, our blood sugar levels spike and cause us to crave unhealthy food. Cutting refined carbs from our diet will keep us from craving unhealthy food and feel more satisfied.
Foods like avocados are high in monosaturated fats—“good fats”—not only reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, but they also stabilize blood sugar levels and are a good source of fiber. Moreover, nuts like almonds, flaxseeds and walnuts, which are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids help lower cholesterol and are an excellent source of protein and fiber.
Apples are another example of nature’s superfoods, which are loaded with the powerful antioxidants quercetin and catechin that help prevent cell damage. Like they say, “one apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Pomegranates have three times as much antioxidants as red wine, dark chocolate and green tea. Pomegranates are proven to unclog arteries, slow aging and prevent cancer.
Furthermore, lean meats like chicken breast, lean turkey meat and fish are excellent sources of protein and are low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Fish, such as wild salmon, tuna, herring and sardines provide heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Eating at least two fish meals a week can help lower your cholesterol and are perfect for low-fat diets.
The added bonus to eating healthy—you won’t need to worry about counting calories.
Walk your way through life
Approximately 39.8 percent of Asian-Americans are physically inactive, raising the risk of heart disease and obesity, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Health experts recommend exercising at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Moreover, consistently exercising will keep you energized, reduce cholesterol levels and relieve stress. No time to exercise? Exercise on your way to work by power walking your way to the bus stop or train station. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and take a short walk during your break to get some air.
See Your Doctor
Visit your doctor every 6 months for a regular checkup and get your blood drawn to get an idea of where your cholesterol levels are. If you’re experiencing unusual symptoms, it’s best to consult your doctor before taking any medication that can further irritate your health. Moreover, be honest when speaking with your doctor and fess up to your unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking and not exercising. An honest assessment of your health will allow your doctor to take the appropriate steps in indentifying your health concerns.
Stay Beautiful and Catch some ZZZ…
Sleeping beauty didn’t get glowing skin from staying up all night. Getting at least 8 hours a night will not only make you look better but feel more energized. Everyone occasionally doesn’t get a full 8 hours because work, errands, etc., but if a sleepless night becomes a constant thing, you run the risk of gaining weight, having low energy, become irritable and less productive. It’s safe to say that your sleep affects everything in your life; without it, you’re unable to perform at work or school, won’t have energy to spend time with family and friends, and overall, your quality of life will suffer.
Tiffany Ayuda is a freelance writer whose writing interests include, women’s health, Asian-American issues, eco-friendly living, family issues and New York culture. As a recent Hofstra University graduate with a degree in Print Journalism and minors in French and International Affairs, Tiffany would like to travel abroad and become an international news reporter in the future. 21 years young with so much to learn, her work has been published in The Chronicle, Pulse magazine, L.I. Pulse magazine, Nassau News, Collegenews.com, Elements magazine, gURL.com and The Hudson Reporter.
With the lack of Asian-American representation in the media, Tiffany was happy to have discovered ASIANCE Magazine. Tiffany is currently embracing her transition into the “real world,” a.k.a. finding full-time work and preparing for graduate studies in English Literature and Education.