STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

With the holidays coming up, the highlight for many people during this season is gathering with family and friends and enjoying favorite holiday treats. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your holidays to the fullest while not increasing your waistline.

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MAKING AND KEEPING NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

Only 8 percent of individuals achieved their resolutions in 2016, according to Statistic Brain. This is likely due to most people having unrealistic expectations about the speed, ease and consequences of the resolutions they make. People attempting self-change rarely succeed the first time; most need five or six attempts, according to a paper published in American Psychologist by Janet Polivy and Peter Herman. The authors suggest false hope syndrome is the cause for failure.

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HEALTHY HOLIDAY OPTIONS

The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. These celebrations often consist of many delicious treats and hardy meals. You can still maintain a healthy diet with a little thought and planning in advance. Research from a recent Web-based survey found 18 percent of people feel they cannot eat healthily during the holidays because they don’t want to miss out on their favorite foods. You can still eat the foods you enjoy this season, just in moderation.

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reproductive problems, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The highest risk, though, comes from tomatoes and tomato-based foods in BPA cans. The high acidity of tomatoes causes the BPA to leech into the food. Be sure to only consume tomatoes or tomato-based foods from jars or Tetra Paks if it’s not clear the can is BPA-free.


Brominated flour or potassium bromate is a key bulking ingredient often found in flatbreads and wraps. It speeds up the bread-making process and cuts costs for manufacturers. It may be linked to kidney and nervous system disorders and gastrointestinal discomfort.


Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is an additive that acts as an emulsifier in beverages. It may cause a buildup in fatty tissues and create reproductive and behavioral problems.


Sodium aluminum sulphate and potassium aluminum sulphate are used in processed cheese products, baked goods, microwave popcorn and other processed foods. They are linked to adverse reproductive, neurological, behavioral and developmental effects.


Sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate are preservatives sometimes added to soda to prevent mold growth. Benzene is a known carcinogen that is also linked to serious thyroid damage. Dangerous levels of benzene can build up when plastic bottles of soda are exposed to heat or when the preservatives are combined with ascorbic acid (vitamin C).


Sodium nitrate and nitrate are used in deli foods such as processed meats, hot dogs and bacon. These preservatives are linked to many types of cancer and metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes. Beware of “uncured” and “no added nitrites/nitrates” produces because they often use celery juice, which is high in nitrates.    

“Toxic” foods aren’t like instant poison; they have an accumulative affect with long-term consumption that can cause many health problems. Here are some guidelines to ensure you don’t consume too many toxic foods.


PRODUCE

Not all fresh produce react the same to pesticides. Certain ones “soak up” and store more pesticide. These include apples, blueberries, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, strawberries, celery, collard greens, kale, lettuce, spinach and sweet bell peppers. You should go organic with these. Produce generally recognized to be safe include avocado, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, pineapple, watermelon, asparagus, cabbage, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, sweet corn, sweat peas and sweet potatoes.


ON THE SHELVES

Artificial coloring agents have been linked to allergies, ADHD and cancer in animals, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Yellow 5 and 6, often found in macaroni and cheese, is made from coal tar. Blue 1 and 2, frequently used in sports drinks, have been shown to affect cognitive function in hyperactive children. Green 2, Red 2, Yellow 6 and Blue 1 and 2 have been linked to thyroid, adrenal, bladder, kidney and brain cancers.  

“TOXIC” FOODS

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), saccharin (Sweet ’N Low, SugarTwin) and sucralose (Splenda) may be even harder on our metabolic systems than white sugar. Studies suggest artificial sweeteners trick the brain into craving more and more sweetness.


Azodicarbonamide is used to whiten wheat one week quicker than it naturally does and is found in boxed pasta mixes. It has been linked to asthma and is banned in Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom and most European countries.


BHA and BHT, preservatives in hundreds of packaged foods, have been found to increase the risk of cancer in animals. They also carry trans fats called monoglycerides and may also disrupt hormones and impact male fertility. Both have been declared carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Although the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services deems BHA as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” the FDA considers BHA safe.


Cans lined with bisphenol-A (BPA) resin have been well-doc- umented to be harmful to health. Acting as a synthetic estrogen, BPA has been linked to