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Watermelon feta mint salad

Five Healthy New Year's Resolutions

1. Catch More Zzzs
Studies suggest that irregular sleep patterns, eating before going to bed and not getting enough sleep are all linked to obesity, while getting enough sleep is linked with maintaining a healthy weight. When it comes to a good night's rest, most people require about seven hours. So turn in early and snooze your way to a healthier you.

2. Be Active
If you haven't been active in some time, start at a comfortable level and add a little more activity as you go along. Start with 10-minute chunks of time a couple of days a week. Walk during your lunch break or dance to your favorite music. It all adds up.

3. Control Your Portions
Downsize your figure by downsizing your dishes. Studies show using smaller plates and bowls promotes weight loss. The visual cue of filling up a smaller plate or bowl will "trick" your brain into thinking you are eating more, and help you to curb overeating. 

4. Reduce Sodium Intake
Besides contributing to water retention, sodium can raise blood pressure. Studies show many Americans consume close to twice the recommended limit of sodium, which is 6 grams (or a teaspoon) daily. To reduce sodium consumption, use fresh, rather than packaged, meats, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. And when buying frozen vegetables, choose those that are labeled "fresh frozen" and do not contain added seasoning or sauces. Lower sodium diets are linked to decreased risk of heart disease, as well as lower hypertension and weight management.

5. Get Your Physical Exam
No matter your age, gender or medical history, it's a great idea to get a routine physical exam once a year. By having an annual exam each year, health issues can be caught at an early stage when treatment is easier. And if problems do develop in the future, a baseline record of your general health has been established.


This article first appeared in the January 2015 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.