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Watermelon feta mint salad

January 2015: Healthy Tips

1 minute:
Give achy knees a bath

If you sit around in office chairs all day, your knee joints aren't being lubricated. That can lead to knee pain. Try the quad pump, a 10-second exercise that causes your cartilage to secrete fluid, bathing the knee joint in nutrients to keep it healthy. Sit in a chair and extend your legs straight out so that your heels rest on the floor. Tighten your quadriceps (the thigh muscles above your knees), hold the contraction for two seconds then release. Repeat this five times to squeeze lubrication into your knee joint.

5 minutes:
Don't eat so fast

Eating quickly doubles the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese, according to a study in the British Medical Journal. "Eating until full" has the same effect. So slow down and chew each bite for 20 seconds. The few extra seconds will make a big difference.

15 minutes:
Make your own snacks

It's easy to stay away from the vending machine if your desk is stocked with pre-packed snacks. So start the week off right by filling five snack-size storage bags with 69 almonds each. People who snacked on 3 ounces of almonds (approximately 69) daily for half a year were able to slim their waistline by 14 percent, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. Plus, almonds have high fiber content and make you feel fuller longer, which will help keep you going until dinnertime.

30 minutes:
Throw out your old spices

While spices don't actually spoil or go bad, they do lose flavor and potency over time. And old spices can add "off" flavors to your cooking. Ground spices have a shelf life of three to four years; whole spices, four years; and dried, leafy herbs last for one to three years. If you're not sure how long you've had the spices and can't find an expiration date, check the spice for a strong smell, taste potency and a rich color. All of these things mean the spice is still good. If it's lacking in these areas, it's past its prime and not worth keeping – toss it!

 

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

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