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Four Things Even Healthy People Get Wrong

Does your yogurt say "Live & Active Cultures"?
Which is better, juice or the whole fruit?

I look at living a healthy lifestyle as a never-ending journey. Every month there are new discoveries, updated recommendations and revelations about what keeps us healthy, and what makes us sick. No matter how diligent someone may be, simple things can be missed. Here are four things even healthy people tend to get wrong, and how you can fix them. 

Are you drinking almond milk instead of regular milk? Don't forget to shake the carton before pouring it. This statement is directly from the Almond Breeze website. "Shaking Almond Breeze® before serving helps to maintain product consistency. Over time, solids in Almond Breeze such as cocoa powder and calcium may settle to the bottom of the carton."

Some separation of almond milk is natural and is not a sign the product is spoiled. As long as the product has been stored at an appropriate temperature, the container hasn't started to expand, the smell is normal and the expiration date has not been passed, you should be fine. Shake before serving each time to get all the nutrients listed on the label for each serving.

Eating a tablespoon of flaxseed daily to get omega-3's, fiber and improve your heart health? Remember to grind the seeds before you eat them. If eaten whole, the seeds are considered too hard to be digested. They simply pass through without providing benefit. Grinding the seeds helps release the nutrients and makes it easier for our bodies to absorb them.

Because omega-3's are fatty acids, they do go bad over time. When you buy flaxseeds if you get them already ground, make sure they're stored in an airtight container to stay fresh. They can last several months without too much degradation in nutritional content. You can keep them at room temperature, or potentially extend their "freshness" a little more by storing in the refrigerator.

If you want to maximize their nutritional punch, store the whole flaxseeds in the refrigerator. Then use a coffee grinder to grind the seeds fresh each day before you take them.

Eliminating fruit to cut back on sugar? You're cutting something from your diet that has beneficial antioxidants, fiber and vitamins. Plus the sugar you save isn't generally that significant.

Consider that a typical 12-ounce glass of orange juice has 167 calories and 31 grams of sugar. That's nearly two-thirds the sugar that the average person should eat in an entire day. A glass of orange juice can easily be downed in under a minute, triggering more cravings in the immediate aftermath.

The primary source of excess sugar in the American diet is sweetened beverages. Cut back on sugary soft drinks, fruit juices and sugar-filled treats.

A single medium-sized navel orange has only 69 calories, 3 grams of fiber and 12 grams of sugar. The whole orange can take several minutes to peel, eat and enjoy. Slowing you down makes it less likely you'll over-indulge. See what you can do about eating at least one whole piece of fruit daily. Blueberries on oatmeal, an apple with lunch or a banana after working out are all places to start.

While you're at it, replace artificially sweetened beverages with green tea or water. Artificial sweeteners have been shown to trigger cravings when consumed alone in calorie-free drinks.

Eating yogurt to help with digestion and promote a healthy gut? Look for the words "live & active cultures" on the container. Some brands heat or pasteurize their yogurts, which kill the beneficial bacteria referred to as probiotics. Containers that say, "heat treated after culturing" should generally be avoided.

When comparing yogurts side-by-side, make sure to check the sugar content as well. Traditional yogurt can have twice as much sugar per serving as Greek yogurt. When choosing between the two, Greek yogurt is generally a healthier option.

BONUS TIP: Put a little fat on your salad. For your body to absorb vitamins A, E and K found in leafy greens, they need to be accompanied by fat. So adding a little fat in the form of avocado, nuts or olive oil and vinegar are all good things.

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