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Making a list of resolutions goes hand in hand with the start of a new year. Most of us want to include something health-related, and doing so is a great start to a longer, healthier life. Here are 10 easy New Year’s resolutions that can transform your health.

1. Buy more from small, local businesses

You might love that soy mocha from Starbucks in the morning, but you should support those local cafes and coffee shops, too. Take a look at where you shop and ask, how many of them are large corporations or owned by corporations? Are there local shops that provide some of the things you always buy at large stores? Start small by locating a few items you could buy local. Is there a bakery on the way to work that bakes bread daily? Does that one, non-corporate owned deli by your house make fresh juice? Start going there. Vow to support local business as much as you can.

2. Use better beauty products

Make a resolution to check what ingredients are used in your beauty products. If animal products are used, or if the company tests on animals, vow to find a different brand. There are so many excellent, cruelty-free cosmetics brands out there.

3. Cut down on packaged food

Food companies love additives that give packaged foods a longer shelf life. There are many additives considered safe for use in American food manufacturing that are banned in other parts of the world because they can be harmful to humans. Look closer at the packaged foods you consume. Chemically-made ingredients that are found in processed products, such as Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and diacetyl have been shown to cause cancer.

4. Eat breakfast every morning

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. If you don’t eat it, one of your New Year’s resolutions needs to be to start eating it! Skipping breakfast is actually harmful for our health. Skipping meals can make us gain weight, so be sure to keep eating it, even if you’re embarking on any weight loss New Year’s resolutions.

5. Track your water intake

Make sure you’re getting enough water and make a resolution to track your intake. Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight, and every system in your body depends on it. The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake for men is 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day, and an adequate intake for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

6. Stop eating high fructose corn syrup

This sweetener, used in candy, breads, cakes, and other foods, is not at all sweet for our health. Though it’s chemically similar to table sugar, many have blamed it for contributing to the American obesity epidemic. Some health professionals have gone so far as to call it “toxic” and “poison.” Read the nutrition label on the packaged foods in your house, and throw away any that contain high fructose corn syrup.

7. Observe Meatless Monday each week

The new year is the perfect time to implement a change for the whole family. If you cook for your family, plan that every Monday you will cook a meat-free meal. Meatless Monday is more than just a catch phrase; it’s an international campaign that encourages people to cut down their meat consumption. It began in 2003 in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is now active in 29 countries. On the Meatless Monday website, you can download a tool kit to help your new Monday tradition.

8. Vow to buy the “unsweetened” product version

Take a look at what you like to drink and find out if there is an alternative with no sugar. If you want to lose weight, consuming too many sweetened products could be one of the culprits. Even foods that are considered healthy like almond milk can have sugar in it. Instead of buying the vanilla or regular, try the version labeled “unsweetened.”

9. Power down one hour before bedtime

Watching TV or emailing on your iPhone right before bed could be causing you to get poor quality sleep. Keeping the phone close to your bed while charging can still emit a light, which can hurt sleep as well. Light from electronics can delay the release of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. Power down electronics an hour before bedtime and give your eyes a break.

10. Try the “raw” product version

Cooking food decreases nutritional content, especially via the microwave. If a huge percentage of your food intake comes from microwaved food and processed products, you probably aren’t getting the nutrients your body needs. Eat food in its most natural, basic state to get the most nutrients from it. For example, eat a whole apple instead of pasteurized apple juice. Eat raw broccoli instead of boiling it.

Image Source: Quasic/Flickr

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