March is National Nutrition Month! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics organizes an annual campaign in the United States to raise awareness about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity. Since 1973 the goal of this event has been to promote healthy eating and to educate the public about the role of nutrition in disease prevention.
This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month is “Fuel for the Future” and the first week’s focus is “Eat with the environment in mind,” focusing on eating plant-based foods and other sustainable ways of eating.
In recent years, the vegan lifestyle has become increasingly popular, and for good reason. Not only is a vegan diet good for the environment, but it can also provide numerous benefits for our health.
Here are just a few of the benefits of eating a vegan diet:
Improved Heart Health
Studies have shown that a vegan diet can improve heart health and lower the risk of heart disease. Plant-based foods are typically low in saturated fat and cholesterol, which are both known to contribute to heart disease. Additionally, a vegan diet is rich in antioxidants and fiber, which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, a vegan diet may be a great option for you. Plant-based foods tend to be lower in calories and fat than animal products, which can help you lose weight without feeling hungry or deprived.
Lower Risk of Certain Cancers
A vegan diet has been shown to lower the risk of certain types of cancer, such as colon and breast cancer. This may be due to the fact that plant-based foods are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
Plant-based foods are typically high in fiber, which can help keep your digestive system healthy and functioning properly. Additionally, a vegan diet can help reduce the risk of digestive issues such as constipation, bloating, and gas.
If you struggle with acne or other skin issues, a vegan diet may be worth considering. Studies have shown that a plant-based diet can improve skin health and reduce the risk of acne and other skin problems. This may be due to the fact that plant-based foods are typically low in processed ingredients and additives that can contribute to skin issues.
Better Overall Health
In addition to the specific benefits listed above, a vegan diet can contribute to better overall health. Plant-based foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that our bodies need to function properly. Additionally, a vegan diet is typically low in processed foods, which can be harmful to our health when consumed in excess.
It’s worth noting that a vegan diet is good for the environment. Animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, and deforestation. By choosing to eat a plant-based diet, you can help reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.
As we age, it can become more challenging to stay physically active. Our bodies may not be as resilient as they once were, and we may have other responsibilities that take up our time and energy. However, it’s important to make exercise a priority, as it can help improve our overall health and quality of life. That is why during National Nutrition Month, there is also a focus around bringing awareness to not only nutrition but physical fitness.
Here are some tips for staying physically active after the age of 40:
Find an Activity you Enjoy
One of the most important things you can do to stay active is to find an activity that you enjoy. Whether it’s jogging, cycling, swimming, or yoga, find something that you look forward to doing and that makes you feel good. This will make it easier to stick with it over the long term.
Set Realistic Goals
When starting a new exercise routine, it’s important to set realistic goals. And be kind to yourself. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Meeting your first goal doesn’t mean you have failed; it just means you need to move the goal post a little. Don’t try to do too much too soon – start with small, achievable goals and gradually build up from there. This will help you avoid injury and burnout.
Make Exercise Part of Your Routine
Make exercise a regular part of your routine. Schedule it into your calendar and treat it like any other appointment. This will help ensure that you make time for physical activity on a regular basis.
Get a Workout Buddy
Exercising with a friend or family member can be a great way to stay motivated and accountable. Find someone who shares your fitness goals and schedule regular workouts together.
Mix it Up
Variety is the spice of life, and it’s also important when it comes to exercise. Mix up your routine with different types of activities, such as strength training, cardio, and flexibility exercises. This will help keep you engaged and prevent boredom.
Listen to Your Body
As we age, our bodies may not be as resilient as they once were. Listen to your body and take breaks as needed. If you experience pain or discomfort, talk to a healthcare professional before continuing your exercise routine.
There are many benefits to eating a vegan diet. From improved heart health and weight loss to clearer skin and a reduced risk of cancer, a plant-based diet can help improve your health in numerous ways. Additionally, a vegan diet is good for the environment and can contribute to a more sustainable future.
Staying physically active after the age of 40 is also incredibly important for maintaining good health and quality of life. By finding an activity you enjoy, setting realistic goals, making exercise a part of your routine, getting a workout buddy, mixing it up, and listening to your body, you can stay active and healthy for years to come.
Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine or if you’re considering making any changes to your diet, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking any medications.
“Exercise is King, nutrition is Queen, put them together, and you’ve got a kingdom.” – anonymous