Health

Stick to basics to boost your health

Instead of a fad diet, try cutting out red meat, getting enough sleep and building muscle

EAT YOUR VEGGIES - AND SOME FISH

More diets have come and gone, but experts keep coming back to one as the most reliable for promoting health and longevity - the Mediterranean diet.

It is typically high in whole foods, grains, vegetables and healthy fats like olive oil, along with moderate intake of poultry, fish and seafood. Red meat is restricted to an occasional treat.

TO BURN FAT, BUILD MUSCLE

Forget about going to the gym to run off last night's dessert. If you truly want to keep the weight off, invest your workouts in building muscle.

That is because muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does - even at rest - which means the more muscle you have, the more calories your body is burning at all times.

Focus on building lean muscle all over your body by doing compound exercises.

Give the gym classics a go - deadlifts, squats, bench presses and the like. They are all pretty safe, as long as you are not overloading the barbell.

Building muscle also helps strengthen your bones, in turn cutting your risk of osteoporosis in old age.

TO EAT HEALTHIER, ADD, NOT SUBTRACT

Improving our diet doesn't mean just giving up the things we love. What you do eat is as important as what you don't.

For example, adding a side of steamed vegetables to your chicken rice gives you a tastier and more nutritionally dense meal, and sure beats suffering through a plate of skinless breast meat.

The idea is to include more healthful choices in your meals. This makes it easier for you to find healthy, more satisfying substitutes, which can help stave off unhealthy cravings.

GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Numerous studies have found that chronic sleep loss in adults (less than seven hours a night) has been associated with increased risks of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and other serious conditions.

Sleep loss also affects your mood, your judgment and your ability to focus, which can lead to errors or poor decision-making at your job.

EAT YOUR EGGS

Not only are eggs an inexpensive source of complete protein, they also come packed with important micronutrients, such as selenium, zinc and iron, as well as important B vitamins.

What about the cholesterol? Well, it has been found that consuming eggs does not affect blood cholesterol in most people.

A study of more than 260,000 people also did not find an increase in risk of cardiovascular disease among egg eaters.

MEASURE YOUR WAIST RATHER THAN YOUR WEIGHT

Excess belly fat has been found to be particularly dangerous, especially if it accumulates around your internal organs. For that reason, some health practitioners think your waist measurement is a more important indicator of your health than your overall weight.

But those with slim stomachs aren't necessarily off the hook. A slim profile may hide visceral fat, which is fat stored in your abdominal cavity. In either case, it is a good idea to ask your doctor for a plan to reduce your visceral and/or belly fat.

This article was first published in Her World Online (www.HerWorld.com)

WELLNESS & BEAUTY