Think Green

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Going green can be good for your health

Maintaining physical and mental health and adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle can go hand-in-hand. Many of elements of "going green" can benefit people looking to keep themselves healthy. Here are some ways to go green and benefit your overall health.

* Skip the disposable bottled water. Bottled water may be convenient, but some estimates suggest that 38 billion disposable plastic bottles end up in landfills every year. And that's just in the United States. In addition, water that is housed inside of plastic bottles may end up being contaminated with some of the chemicals used in the plastic bottle composition, particularly if the bottles are left in hot cars or left out in hot weather. Reusable bottles filled with filtered water may improve your health and reduce landfill waste.

* Pack a lunch. Rather than heading to a take-out restaurant or fast-food drive-through, bring lunch to school or work. You will have greater control over the foods you include and can reduce packaging waste in the process. If you are particularly environmentally conscious, you can opt for organic and locally grown foods.

* Walk or bike more. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than one-third of American adults are obese. The situation is not much different in Canada, where obesity and overweight statistics tend to mirror what is occurring in the United States. A sedentary lifestyle that leans heavily on automobiles to get around may be contributing to these obesity rates. Skipping the exhaust-spouting automobile in lieu of walking or biking around the neighborhood can vastly improve personal health and the environment.

* Carry reusable tote bags in your purse or briefcase. When shopping or running errands, use reusable tote bags instead of plastic bags. Reusable bags are more eco-friendly, and carrying nonperishable items around will give your arms and body a workout.

* Indulge in a glass of organic wine. Organic wine is made from grapes grown without synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Also, organic wines should not contain sulfites to stabilize the wine during transportation. Red wine contains powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols as well as resveratrol, which, according to The Mayo Clinic, has been linked to preventing damage to blood vessels and helping to reduce "bad" cholesterol. Resveratrol also may help reduce inflammation and blood clotting that can lead to heart disease. Just be sure your alcohol consumption is moderate.

* Choose organic foods. Organic foods, or those grown without chemical pesticides and herbicides, have fewer chemicals that can harm the body and the environment.

* Get outdoors and turn off your electronics. Spend several hours or a day away from the tablet, phone and computer. Head outdoors and enjoy recreation in the fresh air. You will get more exercise and save energy.

* Trade for exercise equipment. Look for swap sites and garage sales to pick up exercise equipment for less money. Buying local reduces fuel consumption, and you might just save a lot of money along the way.

* Enjoy nature to unwind and lose weight. Head outdoors and relax by meditating. Some studies have found that overweight women who performed daily relaxation techniques lost an average of 10 pounds after 18 months, without consciously dieting. Stress may cause a person to turn to food for comfort.

There are many different ways people can get healthy and help the environment in doing so.