Could it be that the first month of 2024 is already done? With that confirmed by the calendar, let's review what we showcased in this month's Health Tip Wednesday social media posts. Here we give the spotlight to everything from obtainable goals for the new year to types of seeds that support our health and are scrumptious too! Wellness Goals Worth Trying Goal # 1 - Move more and drive less. If you’re fortunate enough to live within walking or riding distance of your favorite stores and gathering places, resolve to use a healthier and greener form of transportation. Such activity may lead to lower risks of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, while helping strengthen muscles and bones, and making weight maintenance easier. Additionally, you can save money on gas. Goal #2 - Cook with less meat and more beans. Consider consuming more beans such as pinto, black and kidney beans, whether they’re canned or from a bag. This type of protein is often less expensive than other proteins like fish and red meat and can still provide considerable nutrition. Beans are even better if you purchase the kind with low-sodium and if they’re dried, rinse them before use. Plus, beans are a fibrous food, which is good for many diets. Goal #3 - Find entertainment in nature. If the weather permits, take a break from the television or mall and consider taking in the inviting outdoors. You can visit a local park or areas in your neighborhood with trees and other vegetation. Soaking up some nature can lower your blood pressure and heart rate, reduce stress, and improve memory, studies suggest. Then, while you are outside, look and listen for birds: One study found that seeing and hearing birds boosted mental well-being, even in people with depression. Goal #4 - Seek out more community. Finding other people with similar interests and hobbies can lead to engaging discussion and fresh friendships. You can start by joining an organization or club in your local area. In general, spending time with family and friends can encourage creativity, the acquisition of new skills, the use of older skills, and a stronger communal connection, which is beneficial for everyone. Enriching Your Mind 1. Language Learning Outside of being able to communicate with more people, speaking another language can have multiple cognitive benefits. It can help with memory and visual-spatial skills. 2. Meditation Meditating can help regulate breathing and invite tranquility. This may reduce anxiety and encourage a cheerful mood. 3. Get out the Cards Whether it’s Bridge, Solitaire, or Crazy Eights, playing cards can promote strategic thinking, improve memory, and help maintain motor skills. 4. Expand your Vocabulary Learning more words can stimulate the brain. Jot down a new term and its meaning. Then use it repeatedly until it becomes part of your vocabulary. Anti-inflammatory Foods for Winter! - Pears Prebiotics are fibers that nourish our existing gut microbes, and pears are a great source of prebiotic fiber to help the body’s good bacteria prosper. Pears are also one of the highest-fiber fruits as a medium pear contains approximately 6 grams of fiber. - Beets Beets are a terrific source of potassium, folate, and vitamin C, all of which play various roles in the immune system's regulation of inflammation. But two other compounds in beets—betaine and nitrates—truly help distinguish this vegetable from others. - Leeks Found predominantly in winter and early spring, leeks can be a great substitute for other alliums in recipes. If you have never cooked with leeks, they are much like scallion with a bigger root and broader leaves, plus a slightly more pungent flavor that’s still milder than onions. Leeks go well in soup, braised in the oven or even folded into mashed potatoes. - Broccoli While it is readily available year-round, broccoli is really a winter vegetable because of its talent for thriving in the cold. Like other cruciferous vegetables, this one contains bioactive sulfur compounds called glucosinolates that minimize disease risk by reducing inflammation. Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, Swiss chard, and turnip greens are equally healthy substitutes. Selection of Seeds Chia Seeds - They don’t just remind us of terracotta figurines popularized in the 1980s. Chia seeds also contain fiber and omega-3 fats. Flaxseeds - These seeds may assist in lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol. Sesame Seeds - They can add extra texture to a meal, especially one with chicken. They also carry protein and antioxidants. Sunflower Seeds - These tasty seeds have a healthy dose of Vitamin E and may help reduce inflammation. Plus, the flowers they stem from are just as delightful. If you found this article spellbindingly informative, be sure to view our Health Tip Recap #7 - December 2023 .