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Smart ways to spring clean your health

Published by Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD on Mar 5, 2019

Spring has arrived!  It’s time to usher in warmer, sunny days helping shake off the cold winter blues.  This also makes it a perfect time for rebooting and refreshing your body and mind.  Cleaning up the ‘clutter’ in our lives and daily habits bogging us down provides a fresh start of resetting our health habits we need to focus on.  Here are several considerations to help get you started with this new season:

  • Make your diet look like a rainbow

After every spring rain storm is a rainbow.  Who doesn’t enjoy the beauty and tranquility rainbows bring to our lives?  You don’t have to wait for a storm to see a rainbow when you every day you can see one on your plate.  Make good use of spring produce by filling your plate with color these foods offer – red peppers, beets, strawberries or raspberries, dark green asparagus, broccoli, or spinach, yellow peppers or bananas, purple eggplant, cabbage, blackberries, or grapes, and blue blueberries  or plums.  Each provides antioxidants, phytochemicals and fiber helping clean up less healthy processed foods from your diet.

  • Work up a sweat

Spring means days are longer making it the perfect to schedule in more workouts.  Take advantage of the lingering sunlight in the evenings to get out and get in some physical activity benefitting your health.

  • Get outdoors

Warm spring weather is the best time to head out into the great outdoors.  Take a brisk walk or bike ride to discover the sights of flowers and vegetation showing off to hearing the sounds of birds and other wildlife enjoying the day.  This simple act of soaking up sunshine and enjoying nature is cathartic for clearing your mind taking stress levels down a notch.

  • Make water your top beverage

None of us would deny that water is important for health.  We can go for weeks without food but we’d only last a few days without water.  From keeping us hydrated, to carrying nutrients throughout the body, to preventing urinary tract infections, water is a busy nutrient.  That’s why our first beverage of choice should always be to drink water.  Men need between 11-13 cups each day while women require about 8-10 cups daily.

  • Put a limit on electronic devices

Remember the days before the internet?  How did we survive without it?  Even though technology is here to stay, at the same time, prevent it from overtaking your life sucking up every minute of your time.  If you find yourself continuously checking email, social media, or playing internet games, it’s time to set your priorities straight.  Allow only a set amount of time each day to engage with technology and use the rest of your time to bring more meaning and joy to your life and others.

  • Prioritize sleep

Our brain and body want us to get sufficient sleep.  When we sleep is when our body recharges and restores itself allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed and renewed.  We may think the body simply shuts down while we sleep but incredible things are happening when we’re not awake.  Getting sufficient shuteye protects our waistline by producing more leptin, a hormone telling you when you feel full and less ghrelin, the hunger hormone.  It also improves your memory skills, gives you more energy, a more positive outlook on life, and encourages tissue growth helping to heal cuts or sore muscles from your last workout.

  • De-clutter your medicine cabinet

Now is a good time to open up your medicine cabinet checking on any expired medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.  If you find expired or unused medications, vitamins, supplements, or other health remedies, do not throw away in the garbage, down the drain or flush them down the toilet.  Find a programs such as the Drug Take-back Network to safely dispose of them.

  • Stress less

Spring is filled with optimism – new growth, new life, and a fresh start.  If you find yourself overwhelmed from stress or anxiety, take a deep breath and let it go.  Inhale the fresh air of spring.  Take time to notice the reawakening this season offers instilling hope that you will prevail over whatever trials you may be facing.

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Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City; an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, KS where she teaches Basic Nutrition; and is a freelance writer and blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi, Urologic Oncologist Expert and World Renowned Robotic Surgeon in New York City. Cheryl is also the author of The Nourished Brain, The Latest Science on Food’s Power for Protecting the Brain from Alzheimers and Dementia and The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook, both available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions.

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