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Jumpstart a Healthy Lifestyle By Taking Part in National Healthy Eating Day Today!

This year is winding down and the anticipation to begin a healthy lifestyle on January 1st can in fact begin today. Maintaining healthy habits are not always an easy task, but committing to a healthy diet can be one of the smartest decisions you will undoubtedly ever make. Eating healthy is proven to make you look and feel better!

Today is National Eating Healthy Day, and what better way to jumpstart some new habits and have fun while doing it. The City of Birmingham hosted a variety of events at Linn Park today where there were several cooking demonstrations, grocery stores handing out fruits and vegetables, and farmers selling fresh produce.  It was a great opportunity to learn about the importance of a balanced diet. In the article Six Reasons for Eating Healthy on nerdwallet.com by Lacie Glover, studies from health experts listed the top six ways eating healthy can indeed change your life:

  1. Increase productivity- Like a car, your brain needs quality fuel to run efficiently. When it comes to your job, working more efficiently can help you earn more, since high achievers are usually first in line for promotions and raises.
  1. Save money on life insurance- Health insurancepremiums cannot be based on health factors, since everyone is required to have health coverage. However, life insurance rates are largely based on age and health. You could face double the life insurance costif you’re obese. Switching to a healthier diet and maintaining a good weight before you apply for a policy could significantly lower your costs.
  1. Enhance Mood – What you eat has an impact on your brain, including the parts that regulate mood. Although there’s no single food that acts as a proven antidepressant, maintaining stable blood sugar through regular, proper nutrition will help you feel better overall on most days. Foods rich in vitamins and minerals, such as fruits, whole grains and vegetables, have been associated with an overall lower risk of depression, as have foods rich in omega-3 fats, such as nuts, salmon and other fatty fish.
  1. Regulate weight- Since more than half of Americans are overweight or obese, and obesity contributes to nearly 1 in 5 American deaths. Even if it’s only by 5-10%, reducing your body weight can lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to the Obesity Action Coalition.
  1. Be healthier- Not everybody who is thin is healthy, and not everyone who is overweight is unhealthy, but eating right can improve health for even thin people who are junk food junkies. You can think of junk food as anything that’s high in calories and low in micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. This includes potato chips, greasy foods like french fries, and soda.
  1. Live longer- But even if you intend to “eat healthy,” knowing exactly what that means can be challenging. Experts show that following a healthy diet includes choosing plenty of lean meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, whole grain and dairy products.

So what now? Start small. Don’t become so consumed with starting a new lifestyle that you overwhelm yourself and quit before your begin. Remember, eating well also means not stopping at your favorite fast food restaurant, consuming full-calorie sodas, munching on processed snacks like chips and crackers throughout the days, and rarely consuming foods that are high in added sugar, saturated fat and sodium. Anything with more milligrams of sodium than there are calories in a serving are a few of the items we all can begin to steer away from. Happy National Eating Healthy Day from the Birmingham City Council!

This article is a contribution from Chiara Perry (chiara.perry@birminghamal.gov) in the Birmingham City Council Public Information Office. For more information please contact 205.254.2294