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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 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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