Eating Your Way to a Healthier YOU

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The fruits and vegetables in your produce department are powerfully good for you. This is no secret, but have you ever wondered why?

Loading up on junk food, sugar and highly processed foods may contribute to inflammation in your body. The same goes for red meats, and highly processed meats such as bacon and sausage.

Inflammation is a big factor in arthritis and is believed to play a role in heart disease. Fruits and veggies are loaded with antioxidants that help cool inflammation in your body.

To help soothe inflammation, choose brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Eat five (total) servings a day of:
• Berries: Blueberries pack the most punch, but blackberries, raspberries and strawberries also are good for you.
• Whole fruits: They get a thumbs up, too.
• Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, spinach, carrots and squash rank high in soothing inflammation.

Veggies and a low-calorie dip are a tasty, healthy snack replacement for a bag of chips. And there are many ways to incorporate more vegetables into your diet.

When it’s dinnertime, fill half your plate with dark green or brightly colored vegetables. Consider adding a cup of chopped vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, squash, onions, or peppers while removing a cup of the rice or pasta in your favorite recipe.

The dish with the vegetables will be more flavorful and have fewer calories. You can add nuts for flavor and as protein substitutes. Walnuts, almonds, pecans and Brazil nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which boost heart health. But eat nuts sparingly as they are high in calories.

Also, you should eat more fish and cut back on refined white flour — choose 100 percent whole grain flour instead.

If it sounds like too much of good thing all it once, introduce a new healthy food habit over a few weeks. Your body will thank you for it!