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Today is June 16

3 simple ways to eat healthier every day

Diets can be difficult to navigate. Since no two people are the same, a healthy diet that satisfies one person won’t necessarily satisfy another. Vegetarians might be perfectly happy without chicken or steak, while some people might shudder at the notion of never indulging in the occasional filet mignon.

While the most effective diets tend to be those that emphasize nutrition while still allowing individuals to indulge in some of their favorite dishes in moderation, the following are three ways that everyone, regardless of their personal preference, can eat healthy every day.

1. Eat lots of whole-grain carbohydrates.

Fad diets tend to paint carbs as the enemy, but various studies have shown just how integral carbohydrates, particularly whole-grain varieties, are to a healthy diet. One such study published in 2018 in the medical journal The Lancet Public Health found that diets that got between 50 and 55 percent of their calories from plant-based carbohydrates like whole grains were associated with a lower risk of mortality than low-carb diets that favored animal-derived protein sources. When buying carbs at the grocery store, shoppers can opt for whole-grain varieties, including whole-grain pastas, brown rice and cereals. That won’t require sacrificing flavor and makes for a simple way to eat healthier every day.

2. Make a concerted effort to eat more fruits and vegetables.

The United Kingdom-based National Health Service, which is the largest single-payer healthcare system in the world, recommends eating at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day. That may sound like a lot, but it’s pretty easy to incorporate all those healthy fruits and veggies into a diet. For example, add a serving of antioxidant-rich blueberries to your cereal bowl each morning. At dinner time, allow vegetables to take up the most real estate on your plate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that diets rich in fruits and veggies can help people control their weight and may even reduce their risk for certain diseases, including cancer.

3. Kick added sugars to the curb.

Avoiding added sugars is another way anyone, regardless of their food preferences, can eat healthier every day. Healthy foods such as fruit contain natural sugars, and these don’t pose a threat to overall health. However, added sugars, which the Harvard Medical School notes are found in many foods and can include honey, molasses and corn syrup, can increase a person’s risk for various conditions and diseases, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Fruit contains fiber that slows the absorption of natural sugars, but the body digests added sugars much more quickly, leading to an uptick in blood sugar levels that can ultimately contribute to diabetes. Added sugars can be found in a host of foods and beverages, including some that aren’t generally considered unhealthy, like bread, certain breakfast cereals and pasta sauces. When shopping, consumers should read nutrition labels and avoid products with excessive amounts of sugar.

Eating healthy does not require people to abandon their favorite foods. A few simple adjustments can be all it takes to improve the nutritional value of your diet.

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Men’s Health Week

Health problems men may face in middle age

The human body requires constant upkeep in order for people to maintain their health over the long haul. An encouraging annual physical should inspire people to keep up the good work, while one that uncovers certain issues should spark changes designed to promote optimal health for years to come.

Men who work hard to keep themselves healthy should know that their hard work may not prevent certain issues. That’s especially so for men in middle age, as men’s risk for various conditions increases with age.

High blood pressure/hypertension

Blood vessels naturally become less flexible as the body ages. WebMD notes that this decreased flexibility puts pressure on the system responsible for carrying blood throughout the body. That’s one reason why high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is more common among aging adults. In fact, Johns Hopkins Medicine notes that even people who do not have hypertension by age 55 to 65 still have a 90 percent chance of developing it at some point. The Mayo Clinic reports that, until age 64, hypertension is more common in men, so middle-aged men should take steps to reduce their risk even if retirement is still a long way off. Johns Hopkins Medicine notes that shedding excess weight, reducing alcohol consumption, becoming more physically active, and reducing stress are just some of the ways adults can reduce their risk for hypertension.

Heart disease

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a growing number of middle-aged Americans are dying from heart disease. Researchers at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics found that, between 2011 and 2017, the rate of deaths from heart disease for adults between the ages of 45 and 64 increased by 4 percent. The American Heart Association notes that a significant percentage of heart disease cases are linked to obesity, so men in middle age can make a concerted effort to lose weight if they’re already overweight or obese. Middle-aged men who are currently maintaining healthy weights can continue to do what they’re doing while also recognizing that they may need to alter their diets and exercise regimens in the years ahead.

Prostate problems

WebMD notes that the prostate begins to enlarge as men age. In fact, that process slowly begins around age 25. Enlargement of the prostate is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, and it’s entirely normal. However, around age 50, BPH can begin to produce some uncomfortable side effects. More frequent trips to the bathroom and difficulty with urination may begin around this time, and that’s a result of the prostate growing larger. Various organizations recommend men, beginning around age 40, start speaking to their physicians about their family history in regard to the prostate. Lifestyle changes like cutting back on caffeine and alcohol consumption may help reduce the side effects of an enlarging prostate by decreasing the number of times men must visit the toilet each day.

Men may have to confront various health issues in middle age. Many of these issues can be overcome or made less severe by implementing some simple strategies.