A brighter, healthier new year’s resolution
The new year brings many things: new hope, new focus, new perspective and new opportunity. According to a 2016 study published in the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, an average of 45 percent of Americans make new year’s resolutions each year and only 8 percent follow through. Losing weight, making dietary changes, and staying fit and healthy are among the top 10 most common resolutions.
We should continue to focus on good health in 2017, but let’s approach it from a different angle. Stop focusing on the foods you shouldn’t eat, the bad guys, those foods that bring guilt with every bite. Instead, focus more on the plethora of vibrantly colored, nutrient dense and delicious foods from which you will benefit.
How about them apples! The apple originated in the mountainous forests of Kazakhstan and has been consumed by humans for more than ten thousand years. The 2013 Encyclopedia of Food and Culture states that between seven and eight thousand different varieties of apples are grown throughout the world, 2,500 of which are grown in the United States. There are many types of apples to enjoy and they are a good source of fiber and vitamin C. The majority of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power they provide comes from phytonutrients, mostly found in the apple peel. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of cancer, hypertension, dementia, diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Cruciferous vegetables also pack a nutritional punch. These veggies get their name from their four-petal flowers that resemble a cross, or “crucifer.” Examples include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens and kale. Vegetables in the cruciferous family are rich in vitamins C, E and K as well as folate and fiber. They also have natural sulfur-containing chemicals, giving these veggies their infamous aroma and bitter flavor. Bear the pungent aroma, these veggies are shown to reduce inflammation, inhibit enzymes that activate carcinogens, and stimulate the self-destruction of cancer cells. Add cruciferous veggies to your favorite salads, soups or stir-fry, or try them raw, dipped in hummus or peanut butter.
Resolve to make your health a priority. Delight in the last Christmas cookie of Grandma’s 2016 batch and then start focusing on balance and choosing brightly colored foods with disease preventative nutrients. May these delicious foods bring you good health and joy!
Wishing you a happy and healthy 2017!
Jessica Keys, RD is one of Barton Health’s registered dietitians. Make an appointment by requesting a doctor’s referral or calling 530-543-5824.