Our bodies are homes that deserve our highest care- which can arguably be difficult in trying times. In an ever changing, fast paced world, it may be difficult to center our awareness towards nutrition. However, it is essential for our minds and bodies that we commit to a sustainable diet. Let's take a look at some simple yet effective nutritional tips in order to better ourselves.
Have You Tried the Mediterranean Diet?
Our first tip is to simply eat less refined foods, dairy products, and sugary processed foods. There is a good chance you have heard of the Mediterranean diet already, as it recognizes the eating habits of those in regions like Italy and Greece. By focusing on consuming salt, leaner meats, fish, vegetables, and legumes, our blood sugar levels do not rise as much as they would with a processed-food diet. High blood sugar causes inflammation, which affects many aspects of our health- even how we think. In short, our mind’s clarity stems from the foods we consume, and your diet produces a noticeable difference.
This state of increased blood sugar, known as hyperglycemia, has a detrimental impact on the brain in the long term, as well. Recent studies show us that heightened levels of inflammation have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, and mood disorders. Reducing inflammation is a key reason why the Mediterranean diet can be quite beneficial.
Protect Your Immune System
The immune system, along with the health of the gut, is shaken up during the typical cold and flu season. It is recommended to eat less processed, sugary items, and avoid high amounts of dairy, as bacteria easily feeds off these types of goods.
How Do You Like Your Coffee?
Believe it or not, your cup of joe is quite healthy. Studies have linked coffee consumption to an increased lifespan, as well as a lowered risk of neurodegenerative diseases, like that of Parkinson’s.
For years, controversy has surrounded the daily drinking of coffee, citing heart palpitations and lack of sleep. However, the beverage is one that has heightened potential in moderation, like many foods and drinks. Thus, a healthy individual who is not pregnant should consume no more than four cups in one day, due to caffeine content. To expand upon the margin of benefit, skip the sugar and cream!
Trust Your Gut
The bacteria inside our gut is incredibly important to the way our bodies process what we consume. Known as gut microbiota, these specimens break down food healthily when they are undisturbed. However, when disrupted, many issues may arise. These problems include overall digestive issues, but may also extend to chronic disease and obesity. To better take care of our gut, it is suggested that we consume probiotics, like yogurt. In addition, we should ingest prebiotics, like fiber, that act as a food source to the gut microbiota.
Switch Out Other Types of Oil for Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is known to contain anti-inflammatory properties, and is actually one of the healthiest vegetable-based oils you can use while cooking. It contains what is known as monounsaturated fat, which is heart healthy. Evidence shows us that people who consume olive oil have a lessened chance of having heart issues or stroke. That's why it's best to stick with fruit oils such as olive oil, avocado oil or coconut oil. Avoid industrial seed oils such as grapeseed oil, sunflower seed oil, and palm oil.
Season It Up
When we season our foods well with spices and herbs, we can alter the flavor in wonderful ways. However, these elements of our favorite dishes may be doing more of us than enticing us to eat more. Many spices have properties that provide health benefits! For instance, turmeric has both an anti-inflammatory effect and is packed with antioxidants. Herbs and spices have a nurturing impact on the body, and it is suggested that you use a variety of them.
Be Kind To Yourself
Although largely a thing of the past, restrictive diets are one to avoid. Cutting anything cold turkey can be dangerous to the mind and body, and typically is not sustainable. Remember, moderation is the key to a healthy diet. Our bodies do not love sudden change, and by going back and forth between deprivation and consumption, we reap harsh consequences. With restrictive diets, our metabolic rate decreases. For someone trying to lose weight, this is not good news. Regardless of your intent with dieting, making vast changes puts wear on our mind, body, and hormones.
It is recommended that an individual transitions to a sustainable, healthy food habit. Feed your body fresh vegetables, leaner meats, and other low-calorie, filling meals. These are habits meant to last a lifetime, as opposed to intermittent fasting or a zero-carb diet.
Each of our bodies are different. Some of us have food allergies, many of us dislike at least one food, but all of us have to eat! Most importantly, we should consume foods that provide us with clean energy to be happy and healthy. Mindfulness, moderation and the sustainability of an eating habit are three important concepts to think about in relation to nutrition. Stay mindful and listen to your body when you eat a certain food. Ask yourself how you feel, and observe your body’s reaction to the meal or snack. Recall that suddenly cutting a whole food group out of your diet may not be sustainable and long term. Lastly, food should be a fun, exciting, and guilt-free part of life. So enjoy what you eat!
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