New Year, New You: How to stay with your nutrition goals

If you’ve made a resolution to live a healthier life in 2014, congratulations! We all know how important exercise and healthy diets are, but it can be difficult to stick with them.

A lifestyle change is often more effective than any single action. Why not use the four dimensions of brain health as your basis to make lifestyle changes that will lead to a healthier, happier you? The four key areas to help support your brain health and function throughout life are: diet, physical health, social well-being and mental engagement.

Check out these tips on how to incorporate lifestyle changes into your daily routine.

Diet

Your brain plays a critical role in every area of your life, from learning, working and playing to personality, aptitude and memory. A healthy diet can help to support cognitive function.

Tips to try:

  • Switch out saturated and trans fats for healthier fats like the ones found in olive oil and fatty fish.
  • Maximize your intake of DHA, which can be found in salmon and trout, along with algal DHA fortified foods like Horizon Organic Milk plus DHA Omega-3, Mission Life Balance Tortillas. It’s also easy to add an algal DHA supplement to your daily routine.

Physical Health

Exercise significantly improves your health in many ways — from helping to maintain a healthy weight and keeping cholesterol levels in check, to maintaining good blood flow to the body and encouraging growth of new brain cells and connections.

Tips to try:

  • Engage in physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day. Walk, play sports, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or do something you enjoy outdoors.
  • Sleep soundly — try to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

Social Well-Being

Friends and family are central to happiness — and they just might be the key to brain health as well. Research shows that regular social interaction has a significant effect on long-term brain health and function. Getting the emotional and social support you need to help you manage stress and feel happy makes life meaningful and fun, and it stimulates and protects your brain.

Tips to try:

  • Volunteer for a cause that is meaningful to you.
  • Join a new club this year.

Mental Engagement

The “use it or lose it” idea is especially true when it comes to your brain. Strive to keep your mind active by engaging in brain-boosting activities.

Tips to try:

  • Commit to lifelong learning. Intellectual curiosity, pursuit of education, reading, learning new activities and skills, and even playing games are fun and easy ways to exercise your mind.
  • Find a brain-stimulating activity you enjoy such as reading, crosswords, learning a new language — and engage in it regularly.

What New Year’s resolutions do you have planned for yourself and how do you plan to stick to them?

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