In today’s fast paced world, sticking to a diet and making healthy food choices for each and every meal can be a difficult, if not impossible, challenge. More times than not, most of us reach for whatever is the quickest and most convenient thing to eat, even if it means compromising calories and nutritional value. But implementing a few small tweaks to your daily diet can make a world of difference, fueling your body with the essentials needed.
Stay fuller longer – Include fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
How it works – High-fiber diets are one mainstay that will never go out of style. “Fiber has the ability to keep you feeling fuller for longer so you’re less likely to overeat,” says Marcelino. “Fiber also slows the entry of food into the blood stream, blunting blood sugar and insulin response, both of which can lead to cravings and fat storage.” Fiber-rich diets also offer multiple health benefits, like a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer. The easiest way to incorporate fiber into your diet is to load up on oranges, apples, carrots, beans, peas and oats. You can also opt for foods that contain added fiber, like cereals, and even low-calorie muggings, or supplements.
Two types of fiber
WATER-SOLUBLE FIBER – The cholesterol reducer – Found in fruits like apples, cranberries, oranges and grapes and foods like beans, oats and barley, soluble fiber helps to reduce cholesterol and allows your digestive system to function properly.
INSOLUBLE FIBER – The cleanser – The three main types of insoluble fiber are cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, which are sourced from broccoli, pears, beets and whole grains. Insoluble fiber helps to cleanse the intestines and nourish blood vessels.
Speed up your metabolism – By adding cinnamon to your morning cup of coffee
How it works – Not only does cinnamon add an extra boost of flavor, it also levels out your sugar metabolism, meaning it causes your stomach to empty food slower than normal so your blood sugar doesn’t spike. When blood sugar levels are stable, you’re less likely to binge or crave sugary and sweet foods. And there’s no limit to how much cinnamon you can use. Try sprinkling it on fruit, like apples, or add it into green tea, fruit smoothies and even coffee.
Get more nutrients out of your carbs – Every week, switch one brown bread food for a whole sprouted grain.
How it works – Most white carbohydrates offer nothing more than empty calories. Just as filling as their white counterparts, brown rice, whole wheat bread, pasta and pizza, as well as other types of whole grains, pack a powerful punch of “protein, fiber and nutrients,” says Phoenix AZ, nutrition expert Saharra Mendes. But, still, brown breads won’t provide you with the quantity and quality of nutrients that sprouted trains (whole wheat kernels that sprout, are ground up and then baked into bread) can. Adds Mendes, “The only ‘real’ whole grain breads are those that have sprouted grains, like Food for life’s Ezekiel Organic Sprouted Whole Grain breads, which have two to three grams of fiber per slice.”
Break down sugar efficiently – Swap artificial sweeteners for natural sources of sugar
How it works – Artificial sweeteners are low in calories, or completely absent of them, which is why so many of us choose them over sugar. But, truth be told, artificial sweeteners are actually harder for your body to process and break down than natural forms of sugar. “Artificial sweeteners contain chemicals that the body has to work harder at digesting. This can actually slow down digestion and your metabolism,” says nutrition consultant Saharra Mendes. There’s also never-ending controversy surrounding these faux sweeteners. “Most have some sort of negative problem associated with them. Aspertame, for example, is the most complained-about ingredient to the FDA,” says Mendes. “A better choice is stevia – a composite herb native to South America whose leaves are the source of a noncaloric sweetener, we recommend the name brand Truvia, other option for sweetener is real sugars found in cold-pressed honey of blackstrop molasses,” she says. Just make sure to keep your sugar intake to a minimum.
Burn more fat – Try a cup of oolong tea instead of green tea
How it works – All varieties of tea contain polyphenols, naturally found chemicals that provide health benefits and protect the body. But oolong tea is extremely high in them and jump-starts the enzyme that breaks down triglycerides, a type of fat. In fact, some reports state that two cups of oolong per day help boost your metabolism and block the absorption of fatty carbohydrates. The main difference between oolong tea and other varieties is the harvesting process–oolong tea leaves are only partially oxidized, which preserves their floral flavor and unique benefits, where other tea leaves are fully oxidized. But the drying process offers more than just a unique taste. It also allows the body to burn more fat and calories than other teas, making oolong tea the preferred choice for weight loss purposes.
Naturally detox your body – Instead of prepackaged detox supplements, opt for dandelion, a natural detoxifier
How it works – Dandelion is a natural detoxifier that cleans the liver, blood and kidneys to rid the body of unnecessary sugars, toxins and other elements that can slow and hinder bodily functions. When the liver is stressed and packed with harmful elements, it can greatly affect how the body performs in terms of sleep, energy, weight gain and strength. Whether you choose to eat or drink the roots or leaves, this digestion aid also deposits high amounts of vital vitamins, such as vitamins A and B, and trace minerals like calcium, iron and potassium.
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