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Nutrition nibbles: eating for healthier hearts

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- When 2007 became 2008, did you make a resolution to live a healthier life? 

Perhaps you resolved to let go of stress more easily, or to find more balance in your life? 

Osan runs at a fast pace, are you happy with how well you've kept up?

People often say they want to "get healthy" or "get into shape." They have the best intentions in the world for making changes. However, old habits die hard and stressors in life don't always lead to healthy habits.

A ton of nutrition information is available, though it can be overwhelming and conflicting. There are some simple truths that are hard to argue against - and they are a great place to focus.

1. Drink less soda. 

Soda is loaded with sugar, also known as corn syrup. A 16-ounce bottle of soda usually provides 200 empty calories. Soda is very acidic and contributes to tooth decay and calcium loss from your bones. If you're thirsty, choose water.

2. Choose low-fat foods when eating out. 

Restaurant meals tend to be rich in sodium, fat, and calories and low in fiber. Ask for steamed, baked, boiled or grilled items. Request sauces on the side, skip the butter and avoid fried foods.

3. Eat three pieces of fruit everyday. 

The recommended intake level for women is seven servings a day of fruits and vegetables. For men it's nine. Eating fruit is a delicious way to start getting healthier.

4. Limit sodium intake. 

Too much sodium can promote high blood pressure, and put you at a higher risk for heart disease or a stroke. The average American eats 2,900 to 4,300 milligrams of sodium a day. The American Heart Association recommends less than 2,300 milligram a day. Choose more fresh foods and limit prepared-packaged, frozen-sodium preserved foods. If you read labels, you'll be shocked, and empowered to make healthier choices.

For more information about making healthier choices, contact the Health and Wellness Center at 784-HAWC (4292). The staff offers a variety of programs available to help you reach your goals.