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Wellness Tips for Happy Healthy Living

Simple tips for a healthier lifestyle.

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Each year, U.S. News & World Report evaluates and ranks the top 39 diets for overall health. This year, the winner for the fourth year in a row was the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on eating meals full of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and flavorful herbs and spices. Tied for second place were the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) for its role in preventing and controlling diabetes and supporting heart health, and the flexitarian diet, which encourages eating plant-based most of the time. Several popular diets were at the bottom of the list because of their restrictive nature: paleo (No. 31), which is heavy on meat and excludes grains and beans, and ketogenic (No. 37), which stresses high-fat, low-carb eating.  —Kellee Katagi


Black Onyx: The “Other” Sorghum

Have you heard of sorghum? It’s a nutrient-rich grain high in fiber and antioxidants and naturally free of gluten. It’s most commonly found in a red variety, but there is a more “exotic” variety called black onyx. Developed at Texas A&M University over 10 years, the black onyx variety is grown exclusively for a company called Silver Palate, which adds it to its line of healthy Grain Berry cereals. So how does black sorghum get its color? Genetic factors. But as one researcher describes, it’s almost like a “suntan.”   

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Start with Lemon

Drinking lemon water before a high-carb meal may reduce your body’s blood-sugar response, suggests a Japanese study published in the Glycative Stress Research Journal. Researchers found that the more lemon juice the participants consumed, the lower their subsequent blood-sugar levels. The study was small, but it backs up previous findings that highly acidic foods slow the conversion of starch into sugar. If you can handle it, eating straight-up lemon—or at least drinking pulpy lemon juice—might be even more effective, because fiber also helps slow the glycemic response, according to the Mayo Clinic. —KK

Fight Inflammation with Exercise

Just 2 months of moderate exercise can alter your gut-bacteria profile, specifically those species that affect chronic inflammation, according to research published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine. The study monitored the gut bacteria of two groups of previously sedentary, elderly women—one group exercised for eight weeks; the other did not. At the end, the active women had significantly more of certain kinds of bacteria associated with fighting inflammation and fewer of the kinds that encourage it. Considering that chronic inflammation is thought to be a factor in many diseases—including heart disease, cancer, stroke and Alzheimer’s—this study provides yet another reason to prioritize exercise in your calendar. —KK

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