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Today's the Day to Start Eating Healthy!

Today is the day you might want to listen to mom and eat your veggies. (V. Carter)
Today is the day you might want to listen to mom and eat your veggies. (V. Carter)
November 2, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Heart disease and stroke are two of the biggest killers around, and today is National Eating Healthy Day, created by the American Heart Association to help people improve their cardiovascular health.

Eating healthy foods, getting regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight are behaviors that lead to a healthy heart and circulatory system. Jenn Oikarinen, a registered dietitian with Dean/St. Mary's Hospital in Madison, Wis., said today is a great day for people to start down the path of developing more healthy eating habits.

"So, really, the main point of National Eating Healthy Day is, if you devote one day to healthy eating, then you will know you can do it again; and you can learn to enjoy it," she said. "So, as long as you start off with that one day, that's all it takes to lead into a more healthy lifestyle."

Oikarinen said one of the easiest things to do is be colorful in your diet. Select fresh, colorful fruits and veggies to get started on developing healthy eating habits.

She said the things you've heard all your life about eating healthy, nutritious foods still are valid today, and that adding more color to meals through fruits and vegetables can help anyone live a more vibrant, healthy, longer life.

"When it comes down to it, you really want to emphasize those fruits and vegetables," she said. "Not only do they have more nutrients, but they have fewer calories than other less healthy food choices."

She said another easy tip to improve your diet is simply to avoid certain types of foods.

"Things that we want to avoid are going to be those more highly processed foods - convenience foods," she said, "which unfortunately we like to eat them for that reason, because they are convenient; but often times they are full of added salt, sugar and more fat than is recommended."

She said eating more fruits and vegetables can prevent other illnesses as well as heart disease and stroke.

The American Heart Association has a lot more tips online at heart.org/eathealthy.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MO