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Ten Easy Ways to Eat Healthier
Ten easy ways to improve your diet
Many people are seeking a healthier life. Weight creeps upon us slowly. Working full time, raising a family, and age are all factors which impede our desire to eat a healthy diet and find time to fit in exercise.
Eating a healthy diet may seem daunting and nearly impossible. After a long day working, preparing a healthy meal is often the furthest thing from our mind. We want to make something simple, quick, and tasty. Often, we forgo cooking a meal for take out. This satisfies the need for simple and quick, and often take out food is tasty too. Health takes a back seat to convenience, and as a result, our weight increases, while our health decreases.
With a bit of planning, and strategic purchasing, you can eat healthier. Not only will you feel better, but your family will appreciate it too.
Studies show that a healthy diet is important for well being, physical and mental health and longevity. You don't have to change everything all at once. Make these simple changes, and you will begin feeling better almost immediately.
Five tips for good health
Use more whole grains
1. Add more whole grains, beans and pulses to your diet. Most people are familiar with grains and beans. A pulse is what you have while your heart continues beating, right? How do you add this to your diet? Who suggested this would improve your health?
Actually, pulse is also a fancy name for the seeds of pod bearing plants. These are usually categorized as the dried beans and peas we consume. Adding beans and pulses to your diet increases your fiber intake, which is not only good for your digestive health, but it also helps lower blood cholesterol as well.
There are some simple ways to add more grains: Buy whole grain bread. Even white bread can now be purchased with more whole grains; add ground flax seed, wheat germ and whole wheat flour to baking; learn different crock pot methods for cooking beans; try a new recipe with split peas or beans.
You can find even more ways to enjoy whole grains from the Whole Grains Council here:
Hydrate your cells
2. Drink more water: We all know that we should be drinking eight glasses of water daily, but this can be hard. It is a change worth making.
Drinking plenty of water improves your diet in several ways. Often, we mistake thirst for hunger, and we feed a thirsty body. Before having a snack, drink some water and walk around for a few minutes. You may find your concentration returning and your drowsiness fleeing. Signs of dehydration also include headache, stiff joints, and lethargy. Adding more water to your diet will keep your joints healthy, and cleanse your internal organs.
Drinking more water helps you lose weight, it helps keep your complexion healthy and supple, it flushes toxins and it can also help boost your immunity.
If you do only one thing to improve your diet, drinking more water may be the easiest, the cheapest, and the most helpful.
Limit simple carbohydrates
3. Cut out the sugar; You don't have to stop eating sugar entirely but it's important to reduce simple, refined carbohydrate products. This includes white breads and bakery products, packaged cookies and snack foods and white pastas and rice.
Because these types of products are low in fiber, they are digested quickly, leading to swings in blood sugar. While you may feel full initially, the feeling goes away quickly, followed by a sugar buzz and then a crash, after the increased insulin in your bloodstream has absorbed all the sugar in your blood stream.
Try skipping your usual sandwich at lunch and have a salad instead. Instead of breakfast cereal, try an egg, or some fruit and yogurt. Not only will the protein keep you feeling full longer, the fat in eggs increases your good blood cholesterol. You don't even have to skip desert. Instead of ice cream, try fruit. Or a sugar free popsicle. There are a lot of deserts you can enjoy, without ruining your health.
Breakfast ideas for every day
Start the day right
4. Eat breakfast: Mom was right. Grandma was right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism for the day, and gives you energy to get through the morning.
In addition, eating breakfast has been linked to better memory and concentration, as well as reduced risks for diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
Cold cereal and milk works in a pinch, but you can make it even better by adding fresh or dried fruit, nuts or almond milk. Or start your day with whole grain oatmeal, a veggie omelette, or even whole grain toast topped with peanut butter and fresh fruit. Whatever your preference, you will fill better throughout the work day, and you will eat less over all when you start your day with a healthy breakfast.
Simple snack ideas
5. Have a high protein snack: Healthy snacks are an important part of any weight loss or wellness plan. Snacks help maintain level blood sugar levels, they provide energy throughout the day, and snacks can help prevent you from overeating at meal time.
There is a difference between eating a bag of candy or a package of doughnuts, and enjoying a healthy snack. First, you won't be consumed with guilt and regret as soon as you swallow the last bite. Second, your blood sugar won't spike and plummet through the day, and finally, the fiber will help you feel full until lunch or dinner time.
A handful of almonds or peanuts, or a cheese stick will feed your brain, while keeping your blood sugar and insulin levels stable. It takes fewer calories to keep hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) at bay, than it takes to rebound after your blood sugar drops too low. Eating a high protein snack will keep levels stable, so you don't exhaust your body late in the afternoon.
Increase your fiber
6. Take a high fiber dietary supplement: Not only is it good for the health of your digestive tract, supplements such as psyllium (found in Metamucil) or methylcellulose (found in Citrucel) help lower blood cholestrol, and can help normalize bowel function and prevent constipation.
In addition, these supplements leave you feeling full, so you aren't tempted to each so much. Be sure to drink plenty of water after ingesting an fiber supplement, to keep things moving through your system.
Some easy recipes
7. One day a week (or more) eat vegetarian: If you decrease the amount of meat you consume, you will not only eat fewer calories, but less fat as well. In addition, by decreasing meat and increasing vegetables and whole grains, you will eat fewer calories and more fiber.
Don't be afraid of the word "vegetarian." It's easy to remove meat for one day a week. Try having "meatless Monday." There are lots of recipes online and in cook books that don't have meat, but are tasty and satisfying.
Not only will your meal be healthy, but it will also be less expensive without meat.
More vegetarian ideas
Bread and butter
8. Add butter to your bread: It's true. Bread itself is not a very healthy food. If you buy whole grain bread, of course it is better for you. But bread has a high glycemic index. This means that it metabolizes quickly in the digestive tract, turning to sugar and causing a quick rise of insulin production. By adding a small amount of butter to your bread, you slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and reduce the insulin production of your pancreas.
Don't go hogwild and eat an entire loaf of bread, or a whole stick of butter. Everything in moderation is a good motto when trying to improve your diet.
9. Reduce your caffeine intake: Studies have shown that caffeine increases cortisol levels in the body, causing you to feel stressed. Stress contributes to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
In addition, caffeine affects mood, stamina, the digestive tract and the colon. Caffeine can cause upset stomach, indigestion, headaches and insomnia.
While it is may not be necessary to eliminate caffeine from your diet entirely, if you limit your intake to morning hours, you will feel less stressed by the end of the day. Instead, try to drink more water as the day progresses.
10. Drink a glass of red wine; The antioxidants and resveratrol found in red wine may be beneficial to heart health, by increasing levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol.) Red wine may also help protect the body from artery damage, and may boost your immunity.
Prevention Magazine has listed several benefits of red wine here:
Enjoy a glass occasionally with dinner, and feel healthier than ever.