5 Reasons Eating Smart Really IS Smarter

5 Reasons Eating Smart Really IS Smarter

Sure, we’ve all heard that if we eat right, exercise and manage stress, we’ll lose weight and increase our chances of living longer.   But sometimes we forget all the other important elements of our health that are positively impacted by our nutritional habits.

There are numerous reasons to watch what we put into our bodies but let’s focus on some really cool reasons that eating smart really is smarter.

Mood Boosting and Positive Outlook

Yes.  You guessed it.  Your diet can impact how happy you feel, how you perceive life in general.  It can even influence how you handle problems and whether or not you get creative with your solutions.  In a recent study, the British Journal of Health Psychology found that young adults who increase their fruit and vegetable intake experience greater “flourishing.”  This means they’re happier and more curious than those who didn’t.  Positivity and creativity was also a benefit in this study.

Get Better Sleep

Anyone on Facebook or standing in line at a grocery store knows that there are countless articles and magazines touting the benefits of eating certain foods to help you sleep better.  But did you know that many of those articles are actually based on true studies?  Here’s one: The University of Texas conducted a study finding that walnuts are a source of tryptophan.  Tryptophan is an amino acid known for helping promote sleep.  It also helps produce serotonin and melatonin.  Walnuts are just one example of a healthy food helping you get a good night’s sleep.   Check out these four nutrients that help you sleep better.

Increased Brain Power

Eat Smart, Be Smart.  It’s true.  Certain foods have been shown to improve memory, help you stay mentally alert and even help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.   Most of us have heard that eating whole grains and getting our omega 3’s is healthy for memory and brain health.   Some of us did not realize that we could also get some brain boosting effects from pumpkin seeds, blackberries, sage, and broccoli.  Here’s 10 Foods to Boost Your Brainpower.

Pretty Skin

Everyone, male or female, prefers to see smooth, healthy skin when they look in the mirror each morning.  What if your diet and nutrition contributed to less wrinkles and a healthy glow?  Guess what?  It does!  Prevention Magazine put together a list of 8 Foods for Seriously Pretty Skin.

All in all, eating smart is a win-win.  What’s not to love about looking great, feeling awesome, sleeping like a baby and being intelligent?  All that and studies show that increased energy, weight management and living longer are also benefits.   Something to think about the next time you go for a snack.

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9 reasons you should try walking for transportation

This Austin-based writer sold her car and began walking to work every day, braving 103 degree heat, freezing temperatures, and even getting back to her routine after a nasty fall. What did she get from trading in her car for a pair of tennis shoes? Less stress, a new addiction to exercise, crazy financial savings, and a sense of well-being — to name a few.  We loved her story and hope you do too!

A year ago, I sold my car and committed to walking to work. Most weekdays, I walked a little under three miles to my office in downtown Austin. I encourage others who live within a reasonable walking distance from their offices to give it a try.

I’ve never been a huge fan of exercise. I figured if I did something extreme, like selling my car, I could reduce my carbon footprint while getting healthy and saving money. In 2013, I channeled my inner Forrest Gump and logged over 500 miles. Here are 10 reasons I’m hooked.

1. A three-mile walk once a day is not a big deal. Before I began walking to work, I casually dated a treadmill and had a few minor flings with the machines at the gym. I was miserable there. I hated waiting for a treadmill, I’m weird about smells (and the gym is full of them), and I always felt like a hamster, plugging along without a purpose. But walking with a purpose? It’s really not a big deal. If you are pokey like me, it will take you between 45 minutes to an hour to knock out three miles a day. The time passes quickly and next thing you know, you’ve made it to your destination.

2. Walking makes you feel fantastic. Every single day I walked — regardless of the weather or my mood before I left the house — I arrived at work feeling great. This is the first time in my entire life that I have felt that addicted to exercise. Exercise-addicted people used to drive me nuts, but I finally get it now. If I skip a day, I feel crummy, and by mid-morning I’m pumping myself up with coffee to stay awake.

3. If you sell your car and walk, you will save crazy money. I’m married with kids, so selling both cars isn’t an option for us. However, just ditching one car made a big difference. I don’t miss the car payment, the additional car insurance, the downtown parking fees, and the gas and maintenance. I also don’t miss the road rage.

4. Have a Plan B. Likely, you’ll need some flexibility for parent-teacher conferences and daytime errands. Austin offers Car2Go, a car share program where you simply check out a cute little smart car to use when you need it. I also rely on our city bus system and my wildly supportive husband, who picks me up from work many afternoons. Of course, not everyone has these options. If that’s the case, try and schedule some time to walk before work or after work when you can bring the kids along with you.

5. Walking reduces anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, just five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. I’m walking proof that it’s true. I’m a pretty high-strung gal, and when I walk, it makes a huge difference in how I handle stress.

6. Walking forces you away from screen time. It’s really refreshing to take a break from screens. While giving your neck and eyes a break, how about checking out the world around you? I actually see sunrises now. I also pass other walkers and feel an immediate sense of kinship. Some days, I get what I call “God’s bonus,” and a pack of shirtless guys half my age jog by, and I feel momentarily what grown men feel like when they ogle cheerleaders.

7. Worried you’ll get bored? Podcasts are the way to go. When I started walking regularly, my coworker suggested I subscribe to some podcasts, and recommended NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. Now, I geek out to several podcasts several days a week. Here’s the iTunes Top 10 to get you going.

8. Be prepared. On Sunday nights, put your workout clothes and shoes somewhere visible so Monday morning you are ready to roll. This will keep you from making lazy Monday morning excuses.

9. Don’t stop. Make your walks a priority. Aside from one nasty fall I took a few months ago that knocked me out for a few days, I’ve been like a postman when it comes to my walks. I’ve walked when it’s 102 degrees, and this week, I left the house when it was below freezing. It’s that important. I never thought I would say that!

Do you live within a reasonable walking distance from your office? Do you ever walk to work, or would you consider it after reading this? Even if it’s impossible for you to get rid of your car, these tips definitely some of the benefits of walking!

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Just how much sugar have you eaten today?

Sometimes seeing a visual really helps make something clear. Sugarstacks.com shows fantastic visuals of the amount of sugar in an item with sugar cubes. You may want to think twice before grabbing that yummy looking cinnamon roll on the way into work.

Photo credit: Sugarstacks.com

Photo credit: Sugarstacks.com

Photo credit: Sugarstacks.com

Remember to use the Walkingspree Food Tracker to see how many steps you need to walk to burn off what you’ve consumed.

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Surgeon General Call to Action to Make Walking a National Health Priority

The U.S. Surgeon General is calling on Americans to “step it up” – and walk more. That this easy and free activity could prevent serious health problems. “Increasing people’s physical activity level will significantly reduce their risk of chronic disease and premature death and support positive mental health and healthy aging,” the report says.

On Wednesday, September 9th, 2015, Dr. Vivek Murthy launched the “Step It Up” campaign in Washington, D.C., a national effort to promote walking and wheelchair rolling.  ”The science tells us that 22 minutes of brisk walking or moderate physical activity can get you these health benefits of reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes,” Murthy explained.

In the Surgeon Genera’s “Call to Action,” he states that half of American adults, or 117 million people, are living with a chronic disease such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death in the United States.

Despite the known health benefits of moderate exercise, government data shows that only half of U.S. adults and about a quarter of high school students reported getting the recommended amount of physical activity.

The Surgeon General also wants to make it easier for people to walk around their communities. His report urges government agencies, city planners and developers to design and maintain more pedestrian-friendly communities.

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MORE steps/calories Burned…. LESS awkward elevator moments

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