Spring Cleaning For Your Body

Spring cleaning is all about moving out with the old, and in with the new. Now that the holidays are over and the warmer months are upon us, this is the perfect time to focus on personal wellness and good nutrition. Gradually phasing out bad habits can add more clarity to your life and lead to healthier choices.

Here are a few natural spring cleaning tips to help get you back on track this season:

Plant-Based Eating

You don’t have to become a vegan or vegetarian to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet. Trying to prioritize fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant-based protein sources (ie: beans, lentils, unsalted nuts, etc) are the fundamentals of a nutritious diet. This may be an ideal time to start cutting back on red and processed meats. We know that excess red meat consumption is associated with a higher risk of developing certain cancers, including breast and colorectal cancers. Red meat contains heme iron; although iron is crucial to good health, this type of iron has its own toxicity and can act to promote the formation of carcinogenic compounds in the body. Plus, red meat is oftentimes accompanied by unhealthy sides.

Hydration

Almost 60 percent of your body is made up of water. This vital nutrient provides life to every single one of your cells, not only keeping you alive but also helping your body perform optimally each and every day. We know that caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and soda can be more dehydrating in the body. If you are drinking a lot of caffeine on a regular basis, slowly wean off and decrease by one cup each week. Try to get the majority of your hydration in with H2O. Infuse your water with a few slices of lemon, lime and orange. Proper hydration can help your kidneys filter waste from the blood and excrete it in the urine, keeping your body cleansed from the inside out.

Exercise

Physical activity has countless health benefits and can help boost circulation in the body. Regular exercise can promote fat loss and weight management, which can lower your risk of certain diseases and medications in the future. Incorporate a minimum of 30-45 minutes of exercise at least three times per week to help stimulate your metabolism and optimally build endurance and strength. Always consult with a physician before beginning any exercise regimen. Even gentle exercise and meditation can provide benefits of stress relief and serenity.

Is there something that you have been wanting to do for your health, but keep on putting it off? Have you thought about starting spin classes, but things just keep getting in the way? Maybe you have researched a little bit about meal prep, but haven’t actually taken the plunge to start preparing your foods ahead of time. If something comes to mind, the change of the season is a great time to act on those new healthy habits. Take a chance and reap the benefits of a healthy life.

Stefani Pappas, MS, RDN, CSO, CDN, CPT, is a Clinical Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer. She provides private nutrition counseling at her office in Great Neck. Visit her website www.stefhealthtips.com for more information or call 516-225-1745 to schedule an appointment.

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Stefani Pappas Sassos
Long Island Weekly columnist Stefani Pappas, RDN, CPT, is a clinical dietitian at St. Francis Hospital. She also provides private and group nutrition counseling at her office in Great Neck. Visit Stef Health Tips for more information.

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