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Cereal and Grains Are The Secret To A Long And Healthy Life, Science Says

Cereal and Grains Are The Secret To A Long And Healthy Life, Science Says

Of the five food groups experts recommend we eat daily – fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein, and grains – grains are probably the food group most of your calories come from. Bread, corn and types of cereals such as rice, wheat and oats all make up some of our favorite foods. Even some breakfast cereals start with wheat or corn and are manufactured to look and taste the way we’e used to.

Science has shown regular consumption of rice, oats and other grains has more health benefits than you thought. Let’s look at the facts.

Improved heart and digestive health

Regular consumption of fiber is great for both your cardiovascular and digestive system. Dietary fiber, found in foods like corn and whole wheat pasta, is one of the many benefits of consuming cereals regularly. Wild rice, for example, is good for heart health because of its high fiber content. It lowers our LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, which is good news for our hearts. It’s also good for bowel health and controlling blood sugar and keeps you fuller longer, which can reduce your risk of unintentionally overeating.

Decreased risk of disease

One key to living healthier is to do all you can to avoid developing chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity or cancer. According to the Whole Grains Council, studies have shown that eating cereals on a regular basis reduces our risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 21-30%. It has also been found to help reduce high blood pressure levels.

What else does the research tell us?

A 2015 study out of JAMA Internal Medicine concluded that higher intake of whole grains was associated with a lower mortality rate in both men and women. Which means your beloved whole wheat bread, oatmeal and rice should remain a definite dietary staple on your personal menu.

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggested that quality carbohydrates, such as cereals, can replace the use of saturated fats in daily caloric intake to reduce heart disease risk. So by eating fewer calories from butter or red meat and more from corn-based products and rice, your risk of heart failure goes down.

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How to incorporate more cereals into your diet

  • Use whole wheat flour instead of refined white flour when making homemade rolls, scones, pancakes or waffles for breakfast
  • Make soup with rice or barley instead of noodles
  • Snack on whole grain crackers, popcorn and pretzels
  • Choose whole grain bread when given the option at restaurants

Starting the day off with a healthy, nutritious meal is a foolproof way to put healthy eating habits at the top of your to-do list. Here is a delicious oatmeal recipe to start your journey toward a longer, healthier life.

BAKED OATMEAL

Prep time: 50 minutes

Servings: 8

Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats

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1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup redcued fat milk

2 eggs

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1/2 cup melted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, adding them in the order in which they appear above. Spread the mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish

Bake 40 minutes and serve hot.

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Serving this dish with your choice of toppings adds even more flavor and health benefits.

A balanced diet overall is what’s going to help you live longer, happier and healthier, but making sure you’re eating the right kinds of foods in each food group is even more important. Cereals, if consumed as often as possible from day to day, will help keep your heart beating, your digestive system moving and your blood sugar under control.

Keep eating those grains! Your health will thank you.

Featured photo credit: tracyshaun via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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