Improve Your Diet in Five Easy Steps
Posted in: Food
We all know that fast food is bad and vegetables are good, but the issue of healthy eating can sometimes feel overwhelming. Nutrition seems more confusing than ever, which is why people struggle to make healthy choices. This has a lot to do with companies marketing their products in order to fit the trending health industry.
The truth is a healthy diet is simple. Improving your diet may take some time, effort and discipline, but it can most certainly be done. These five steps will have you working towards a healthier lifestyle in no time.
Five Steps to Improve Your Diet
As mentioned, a healthy diet does not need to be confusing. Small changes to your everyday eating habits will make significant improvements in the way you feel. Your overall health will also improve, lowering your risk of illness. Focus on these five steps, starting today:
Step One: Swap Fizzy Drinks for Water
The UK population consumes more than 5,700 million litres of fizzy drinks each year. Yes, you read that right. These are simply empty calories packed with sugar. If you're struggling with your weight and drink a lot of pop, this would be the first area to change.
Drinking excessive amounts of fizzy drinks has been linked to diabetes, kidney damage, cell damage and more. Don't be fooled by diet versions either, as these products are associated with an increase in health concerns, such as elevated bad cholesterol, high blood pressure and stroke.
Not only is water the optimal choice in terms of calories, but it also provides benefits for your body and mind. By drinking water you can prevent headaches, lessen joint pain, boost your mood, flush out toxins, and so much more. If you add lemon to your water, you’re taking on board vitamin C too. This small, simple step will automatically improve your health, both short and long-term.
Step Two: Eat Breakfast
Many people admit they don’t bother with breakfast. Think about your average work day: when do you first eat? If it’s not till lunch, you could have gone 12-15 hours without eating anything. This leaves you feeling lethargic. Without food, your body doesn’t have a reliable source of energy.
Not only will you lack energy, but you can actually feel more stressed. When you awake, your cortisol levels are fairly high (this is known as the stress hormone). These levels do not typically decrease until you have had something to eat. Although stress is a natural reaction, it is damaging to your health long-term.
Focus on eating fresh, whole foods. This will stop you from choosing quick, sugary and fatty options at lunch because you’ll feel fuller for longer. When you skip breakfast you're more prone to pig out on unhealthy snacks throughout the day. Each morning, choose items such as fruit, yogurt, oatmeal and wholegrain toast which will kick-start your metabolism as you get ready for the day ahead.
Step Three: Eliminate Fast and Processed Foods
Food labels can be confusing. With so many unknown ingredients, how do you choose healthy options? Well, instead of opting for processed foods, begin eating fresh, whole foods. You don’t need to be a professional chef to make healthy meals at home.
Start with easy dinner ideas, such as a vegetable stir-fry. From there you can get creative, enjoying the cooking process and avoiding the many chemicals and additives which can be found in processed foods. These directly and indirectly affect our health, as well as the environment.
Make a shopping list, focusing on natural, fresh ingredients. Consume more fruits and vegetables, while limiting your red meat consumption. The next time you're craving a fast-food burger, go home and make a black bean burger with all the trimmings. Trust me, they're absolutely delicious.
Step Four: Ditch the White Bread
There has been a lot of confusion regarding gluten, leaving many wondering if bread is an unhealthy food choice. The truth is it’s the processing that makes gluten unhealthy. White bread has been stripped of its nutritional content, as fibre-packed bran is processed out.
Whole grains, however, provide your body with the vitamins and minerals you need to maintain your health. Some of the key benefits associated with whole grains are:
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
- Lower LDL cholesterol levels
- Higher nutritional content
- Improved digestive health
These are just some of the ways in which whole grains benefit your health.
Don't be fooled by marketing techniques, as so-called 'wheat' and 'multigrain' may not be beneficial products at all. Look at the ingredient list, ensuring that whole grains are one of the first ingredients given, and aim for breads that have a minimum of 2-3 grams of fibre.
Step Five: Drink More Tea
Black, green and white teas all provide your body with benefits. Interestingly enough, all three tea types come from the same tree. They differ based on how they're processed, with black tea being the most highly processed option. Although all three teas contain antioxidants, green tea is noted for containing the highest concentration. These antioxidants may contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, osteoporosis and more. If you're someone who drinks 8 cups of coffee a day, consider switching to beneficial, organic teas.
These five steps are just the beginning; once you make these simple changes it will inspire you to find out more. As you become more aware of nutrition and how it affects your health, these steps will become second nature. You can start working towards a healthier version of yourself by making changes to your diet today.
MYC Writer: MYC ContributorSubscribe to UpdatesRelated Articles