APRIL HEALTH TIPS

THE PERFECT TIME FOR SOME DIETARY SPRING-CLEANING

Sort through your fridge, freezer and cupboards,and read the ingredients of various products in your kitchen. Toss or donate any foods that contain artificial additives, or at the very least vow not to purchase them again. Look for foods with ingredient lists that read like a recipe, with terms you fully recognize. While eating entirely fresh fare isn’t practical for most of us, being more discriminating about the packaged foods you buy is a smart way to improve the quality and healthfulness of your diet.

CHOOSE REALISTIC GOALS AND STAY ON TRACK

Spring is a terrific time for a fresh start. If your New Year’s resolutions fell by the wayside, choose one or two goals that are reasonable and realistic, and track your progress this month. Maybe it’s eating a healthy breakfast each day, swapping your usual snack for fresh fruit and nuts, drinking 8 cups of H2O daily, squeezing in a walk after dinner, or getting an extra hour of sleep each night. Committing to smaller changes that “stick” will make a greater impact on your health than aiming for loftier goals that fizzle out.

IT’S TIME TO GET OUTSIDE AND ENJOY THE SEASON

Now that spring has arrived, it’s time to enjoy the outdoors! Research has shown that being in nature can reduce stress, and boost creativity as well as productivity. Some sun exposure can also help your body produce vitamin D, a nutrient tied to stronger immunity, better brain health, and a lower risk of diseases, including cancer, diabetes and obesity. Go for a stroll, hike or bike ride. Organize an outdoor group activity, like a softball, soccer or basketball game, or just get outside and toss a ball or Frisbee. Playtime!

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FRESH SEASONAL PRODUCE

Taking advantage of seasonal produce is a great way to boost your health, because you can eat locally grown fruits and veggies within a day or two of harvesting when they’re at their nutritional peak. The spring bounty includes artichokes, asparagus, peas, apricots, melon and strawberries. Visit a local farm stand or farmer’s market or look for locally sourced produce in your supermarket. Steam or grill your veggies for lunch and dinner, and incorporate fresh fruits into breakfast and snack meals.