What is truly healthy? From the paleo diet to the fat free craze, there is always someone trying to explain what they feel is the latest and greatest health trend. There are are so many different philosophies of health that you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed trying to choose the right foods at the grocery store. While there are a variety of opinions on nutrition most people can agree on a few well known tips. Here is a list of some of those common nutritional tips; hopefully they will help to simplify your next trip to the grocery store!
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods are not real foods because they are void of the nutrients your body needs to be healthy. Processed foods are dangerously addictive. When you consume these foods your body is overstimulated with dopamine, the neurotransmitter that controls your body's pleasure center. This makes you crave the processed junk that you're already eating, and essentially you will never feel satisfied
. Here are the best ways to avoid processed foods.
- When reading the ingredients on a product, less ingredients are always better.
- If some of the ingredients include names that you find difficult to pronounce or that you would never find in your kitchen, then the product is likely highly processed.
- Buy foods in the most raw, pure form possible
- Cook most of your meals at home.
Artificial Trans Fats Will Slowly Kill You
These fats are most commonly known as partially hydrogenated oils which are common to so many foods in our diets. Partially hydrogenated oils are made by adding oils to hydrogen in order to make solid fats
. The most common food source of hydrogenated oils is margarine, which has been in America since 1911. It is also significant to note that heart disease was almost completely non existent until after the the introduction of margarine in our foods. Here are a few ways tips to help you avoid trans fats.
- Use, butter, coconut oil, or beef tallow as a healthy alternative.
- Refrain from eating all processed and fast foods.
Do Not Consume Refined Sugars.
Refined sugars are perhaps one of the most damaging foods in our culture today. Much of our diet is filled is with sugar, which leaves us nutrient deprived. Also, sugar has been known to be the cause of many of the common diseases we face such as obesity and liver disease. A few ways to avoid sugar and opt for healthy substitutes include:
- Always read labels carefully. Sugars have a sneaky way of hiding!
- Substitute with organic sugars, honey, agave nectar and more.
- Eat fruit! Fruit has a sweetness that often satisfies a sugar craving.
Don't Forget Your Vegetables!
You know that vegetables are good for you. However, it can often be a challenge for some of us to eat our vegetables as often as we should. Here are a few great ways to ensure that you get your needed amount of vegetables everyday.
- Vegetables give your body the most nutrients when consumed raw.
- Finding a tasty salad dressing will make you want to eat your veggies more.
- Juice! You will feel great. Your body isn't having to work to digest the wonderful nutrients you're absorbing.
Omega-3 Fats Are Food For Your Brain.
DHA is an Omega-3 fatty acid that comes from animals, and it comprises of around 40% polyunsaturated fats found in your brain. So, if you find that you often feel depressed or suffer from a mental disorder it is possible that you could be deficient in Omega-3 fats. A few great food sources for Omega-3 fats include:
- Pastured eggs
- Fish oil
- Grass fed beef
Find Out What Works Best For You.
Not one of us is exactly the same, and the same is true about our bodies. You might find that you are allergic to certain types of food that you otherwise would have considered healthy. Don't be discouraged because you didn't get the same results that someone else did on a diet. Be patient, and figure out what works for you.
Soak Up the Sun!
Vitamin D is a crucial vitamin that is responsible for producing a steroid hormone in our bodies. Vitamin D deficiencies have been known to lead to cancer, muscle pain, and type 1 diabetes
. It is healthy to sit at least 15 minutes in the sun every day. If you live in a place where the sun doesn't shine often, make taking vitamin D supplements a top priority.
Don't Eat Refined Carbohydrates
When grains are processed they are often purged of most of their nutrients that your body needs. It is believed that refined grains will cause your blood sugar to go up rapidly, which will eventually lead to diabetes. Before the Agricultural Revolution humans did not consume grains regularly. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that that human brain function and physical ability was at it's highest before the Agricultural Revolution. After the revolution studies have also shown that a steady decline in human strength begun with the introduction of grains in the diet
. Here are a few options for grain free substitutes:
- Coconut flour
- Nuts such as almonds and cashews make great grain free substitutes.
Don't Substitute Supplements In Place Of Real Food
Supplements are excellent, but you must ensure that you are buying the most pure form of supplements. Also, some people believe that they can eat whatever they want so long as they take their supplements. This is simply not the case, as supplements will never be able to replace real food. Ever.
Diets Are Temporary, Lifestyles Are Permanent
This is perhaps the greatest piece of health advice that can be given; if you want to be healthy, you cannot hope to be healthy by going on a one time diet. Health is a journey and it is important that we realize that. We need to learn to like healthy foods instead of only eating them when we're dieting.