New Year resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions That Will Stick: 9 Cups of Water

By Elaine Magee - 

Have you had your daily cups of water today?

How many cups of water have you drunk today? Was it more than 8? We generally forget how important something as simple as water and hydration is to our daily health. Being over 50 only makes it more important. As we age, our thirst mechanism can get a little lazy so we cannot rely as much on this to guide our liquid intake. One study found older people may suffer from dehydration more often in hot weather because of aging nerves in their mouth, throat, and stomach. These thirst monitors are all sending weaker signals to the brain about needing water.

What’s a good amount of water too shoot for each day? According to the 2004 report from the Institute of Medicine on the Dietary Reference Intakes For Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate, an adequate intake for drinking water and beverages for men and women (ages 19 to 70+ years) is about 13 cups (101 fluid ounces) for men and 9 cups (74 fluid ounces) for women. Keep in mind the ideal amount of water for you personally can depend on many factors such as the temperature, your weight and how long you exercise.

I make sure I have some water or tea near me almost all of the time. You can try buying 4, 16-ounce water bottles and numbering them with a marker from one through four. See if you get through all four bottles (which gives you 8 cups of water) by the end of the day. If you have a cup of tea, it counts as one of those 8 cups of water. Every time you drive in the car, bring a bottle of water (or another beverage) with you. Every time you exercise, take a water bottle with you. You’ll get to 8 cups a day before you know it!

That’s easy!

Elaine

You can read Elaine Magee’s bio to learn more about her. You find more articles by Elaine in the Health Nutrition section of our library.

New Year Resolutions That Will Stick: “Go Fish” Twice a Week

by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD -

The American Heart Association isn’t the only one suggesting healthy people should eat fish two to three times a week. More and more research is showing that omega-3 fatty acids (among many other health benefits) seem to improve arterial health in general and they help make blood less likely to form clots that cause heart attacks. According to the American Heart Association, in a statement dated November 18, 2002, the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on heart disease risk is seen in relatively short periods of time. So, if you make eating fish your New Year’s Resolution, you can potentially start reaping the benefits fairly quickly.

Unless fish is a part of your culinary culture, this can be a hard food habit to follow through on. I try to make sure I have a lower fat tuna sandwich for lunch each week. Then I’m halfway there! I try to cook a fish dish for dinner at least once a week too—which gets me to the “eating fish two times a week” goal.

I have three tips to help you with the fish for dinner option.

  1. When you eat out in restaurants, see if there is a fish entrée on the menu that interests you.
  2. Start collecting fish recipes (hopefully lower in fat and not deep fried) that you want to try. This might help motivate you to make fish for dinner more often.
  3. Add cooked fish and shellfish to your green salads or stir fry dishes. You can buy cooked shrimp frozen (deveined and without tails) or frozen grilled fish filets and then all you need to do is thaw slightly before adding them to your dishes.

You can read Elaine Magee’s bio to learn more about her. You find more articles by Elaine in the Health Nutrition section of our library.

New Year Resolutions That Will Stick: Daily Flax Seeds

by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD -

Two tablespoons of ground Flaxseed twice a day it an easy resolution that offers many health benefits.

I truly believe ground flaxseed is one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. Research has been shedding light on the potential benefits of this light brown seed over the past 10 years, most of which is very exciting. I wrote a book all about ground flaxseed a few years back called The Flax Cookbook.

The more I read the research on flaxseed though, the more convinced I am that there is synergy between the different components within this tiny seed that make it most important to consume the seed ground rather than in its whole form. One preliminary study reports that within two weeks of consuming 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed twice each day, perimenopausal women cut their hot flashes in half AND the intensity of the hot flashes dropped by 57% as well. Any woman battling hot flashes will appreciate the intensity decreasing too trust me! This may not work for every single menopausal woman but at least you will know if it’s helping you within two weeks.

Editor’s note: Flaxseed provides a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids beneficial to both men and women. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed provides 3.5 grams of fiber and 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.