2015 resolution: Sweat the small stuff

The key to good health lies in making small, basic changes to your lifestyle

Small changes in lifestyle can make a big difference to your health—whether it’s including more vegetables and fruits in your diet, protecting yourself from pollution, or getting enough sleep. Some tips for the coming year.

JUNK TRANS FAT

Till now, trans-fat consumption has been linked to higher body weight and heart disease. But a study, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014 in November, has also linked it to bad memory and significantly reduced ability to recall words, in young and middle-aged men. Sushma Sharma, senior consultant neurologist, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, Faridabad, says: “Ideally, trans fats should not be consumed at all as they are double trouble for the heart. Trans fats raise bad cholesterol levels and lower good cholesterol levels, and now that more evidence is coming in about the damage they inflict, it is important to be even more careful."

Adopt in 2015: “Avoid junk food, dessert mixes, doughnuts, margarine, butter popcorn to keep trans-fat intake low. Opt for unsaturated sources of oil such as olive oil," says Hetal Pandya.

EAT EGGPLANT TO STAY YOUNG

Adopt in 2015: “Have eggplant, a Mediterranean-diet staple, at least twice a week. It is rich in bioflavonoids, supporting heart health, lowering cholesterol, improving blood circulation and nourishing the brain," says Hetal Pandya, head nutritionist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, Mumbai.

FOR THE LOVE OF HEART

Adopt in 2015: “Exercise in parks and gardens, but avoid major traffic roads. Limit time spent outdoors during heavy-traffic time slots," says Dr Srikanth.

INDOORS VERSUS OUTDOORS

Adopt in 2015: “Choose less crowded times to exercise in gyms, and ideally mix both outdoor and indoor time (50:50) for exercising to get the benefits of being outdoors too," says Dr Kacker.

BITTER SWEET

Adopt in 2015: Total added and natural sugar (in fruits) in the daily diet should not exceed six teaspoons for men and five teaspoons for women. Consult your doctor if you have any symptoms of diabetes, heart disease or blood presure, says Dr Panda.

KEEP STRESS AWAY

Adopt in 2015: “Begin with simple meditation at home; Sitting in a quiet place for 20 minutes a day can help offset daily stresses effectively," suggests Dr Tank.

RUN, RUN, RUN

Adopt in 2015: Include a 3-5km run at least two-three times a week in your exercise schedule, says Hetal Pandya.

PUT POTATOES ON YOUR PLATE

The humble potato, which has been getting the rap, may help limit weight gain from a diet that is high in fat and refined carbohydrates, according to scientists at McGill University, Canada, who published their findings in November in the journal ‘Molecular Nutrition And Food Research’.

Adopt in 2015: “Potatoes are not the devil they are made out to be; what is important is the way they are cooked. Steer clear of frying," says Malhotra.

FIGHT CANCER

Adopt in 2015: “Three fruit servings a day and two cups of tea are reasonable targets to chase and aachieve," suggests Dr Walia.

MOISTURIZE

Adopt in 2015: Include probiotic food products in your diet, says Dr Bhardwaj.

SLEEP WELL

Adopt in 2015: “Practise good sleep hygiene; try to sleep at the same time, and keep gadgets out of the bedroom," says Dr Bhatia.

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