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Easy New Year's Resolutions For Your Health

By Chrissy Garner, LDNPrint Story | Email Story

As the clock struck midnight, and you were sipping and kissing away the last of 2018, you and millions of people were also making New Year's resolutions.

Among the popular ones: eat less, move more, cut back on sweets, quit smoking, volunteer, and spend more time with family. Few, if any, of these resolutions (especially those that are health-based), are actually kept. How many will still be priorities at the end of January?

For many of us, the path to good health is not an easy one. Procrastination, family obligations, work demands and lack of time and energy are just a few reasons that can halt best intentions in their tracks.

But consider these simple resolutions for 2019:

* Eat more fat.
That's right — more fat, but the right kind. Add more salmon, olives, avocado, nuts, seeds, eggs and coconut oil to your diet. Consuming healthy, essential fatty acids has been shown to boost heart health, lower triglycerides, improve inflammatory conditions and may boost cardiovascular, neurological and psychological health.

* Avoid soda, even diet soda. Diet research has found that a diet soda drinker's waist is 70 percent greater than the non-diet soda drinker's waist.

* Include Meatless Monday, and add more nuts, beans, seeds, tofu to your diet. By going meatless you may reduce your risk of chronic diseases, reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

* Pack your lunch everyday — or as often as you can. Always include lean protein, a healthy whole grain, a fruit and at least two vegetables. When you pack your lunch you're able to control calories, improve quality and reduce portion size.

* Sleep more. Adults should sleep eight to nine hours per night to stay healthy. Sleep deprivation can lead to decreased alertness, high blood pressure, stroke and obesity. Healthy sleep hygiene calls for a dark, cool room and no electronics hours before bed.

* Strength train. Muscle mass naturally diminishes with age, so work out to stay strong. Strength training has been shown to reduce the symptoms of, arthritis, back pain, depression, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis. Include three full body workouts per week in your routine.

At CHP, our nutrition team is here to help you reach your 2019 health goals!

Chrissy Garner, LDN, is a nutritionist at CHP Neighborhood Health Center in Pittsfield.


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Let's Reverse the Rural Physician Shortage

By Lia Spiliotes

Across the nation, unequal access to health care raises urgent, pressing problems for individual and community health. For rural and underserved communities, the most urgent challenge for patients is our shrinking supply of primary care physicians.

Data show that by 2030, the United States will face a primary care physician shortfall as high as 49,300. Only 25 percent of medical school graduates enter the primary care field; many head straight to higher-paid medical specialties.

In rural regions, this looming physician shortage is already hurting patients. A new poll by Harvard, NPR, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that one-quarter of those surveyed had trouble accessing health care recently.

Viewed in a national context, the doctor shortage issue will be most dire for Texans. The other extreme is here in Massachusetts, which has the apparent luxury of a projected surplus of primary care doctors. However, regardless of the area of the country, rural regions — such as ours, in the Berkshires — face persistent challenges in attracting and keeping primary care doctors.

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