Eat Smart!

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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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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Eat Smart! Keep up your metabolism

Drinking water boost your metabolismWeight management is all about calories in and calories out, but how fast your body burns calories depends on a number of factors. Your size and composition (muscle to fat ratio) impact how your body burns calories – the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn. Also, men tend to burn more calories than women and the body’s metabolism slows year after year after age 40.

So when developing a healthy eating plan and working your walking program, keep these in mind.

Stop yo-yo dieting, it confuses your body. Drastically reducing your daily calories or skipping meals signals your body that you are starving. Your body will shift its metabolism into survival mode by burning fewer calories and storing more as fat. Also, when you eat too few calories you risk losing muscle and muscle burns more calories than fat.

Keep your body running efficiently by eating smaller meals and snacks throughout the day, approximately every three to four hours. This forces your metabolism to burn calories all day long. Think of it like stoking a furnace, a fat burning furnace.

Be realistic about your weight loss goal. Aim for a weight loss of one to two pounds per week which can be done by reducing your caloric intake by 500 calories a day. Studies show that people who lose weight gradually are more likely to keep it off.

Drink water, drink water, drink water. Your body needs water to process calories, so when you are dehydrated your metabolism may slow. Studies show that people who drink eight to 12 glasses of water throughout the day have a higher metabolic rate than those who drink four glasses.

Your body burns more calories digesting protein than fat or carbohydrates. Replace some of your carbs with lean protein like chicken, turkey, fish, nuts, beans, eggs or low-fat yogurt and eat protein at every meal.

Build muscle to burn more calories. Incorporate strength training into your exercise plan and interval walking into your routine. Changing up the intensity levels while walking will increase your metabolic rate. Boost your walking speed a few minutes at a time during your walk. Also, increase resistance by walking up hills or adjusting the incline on the treadmill. Taking the stairs also helps build leg muscles.

Remember, the more you move throughout the day, the more calories you burn.

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A Guide to Fall Food Infographic

Fall brings an array of color to your meals with pumpkin, squash, apples and more. The Guide to Fall Food Infographic shows benefits and diet tips for several fall foods.
A Guide to Fall Food
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Eat Smart! Serving Size Infographic

In today’s world of super size meals, we’ve become used to distorted serving sizes. This infographic will help you determine proper serving sizes when preparing your meals. Don’t forget you can use the Walkingspree Food Tracker to find out how many steps you need to walk to burn off a particular serving of food.

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