There are so many foods to eat in our society today, it can be difficult to decide what is the best and healthiest, at the expense of our health and our waistlines. By substituting one healthy food for one unhealthy one at a time, a person can slowly begin to change their eating and diet habits to better ones. Then in a matter of time, better health and more energy should be noticable!
Learn To Eat Healthier Foods
Making smart food choices for meals and snacks does not have to be so difficult. A person may substitute one healthy food for a less healthy one.
Make Healthy Diet Substitutions
It can be very difficult to make wise food choices while living in a world with so many tasty treats. Unfortunately, many of them are laden with fat and calories. Why is it that veggies taste so much better when sautéed in butter, or smothered in cheese sauce? But it is possible to add healthy and delicious food choices to your menu with a little research. Sometimes people just get in a “food rut,” and buy the same groceries each time they shop, instead of trying new things. Even small dietary changes can make a difference in your health and energy levels. As Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” The list compiled below has healthy suggestions which may be substituted for an unhealthy food in a person’s diet.
Remember the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Studies have shown that eating apples reduces the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes. A 2001 study at the Mayo Clinic proved that a flavonoid called quercetin prevented the growth of prostate cancer cells. Apples have very strong antioxidant powers. Apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber which lowers bad cholesterol. They have sugar, but it comes along with five grams of fiber and a large dose of nutrients. Apples also contain boron, a mineral with bone building properties which prevents osteoporosis and lessens arthritis symptoms. Apple peels have potent antioxidant activity which inhibits the growth of liver cancer too. Apples are highly transportable and easy to pack as a snack or part of a lunch, but are treated with pesticides, so make sure you thoroughly wash them.
Dr. James Joseph, a scientist from Tufts University, has performed lab tests which prove that blueberries are a memory protecting food. They contain anthocyanin, a compound which acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Inflammation is present in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. Blueberries help neurons in the brain communicate more effectively. Besides being the ultimate memory food, blueberries slow impairment in motor coordination, help lower cholesterol, and help to promote urinary health. It matters not whether they are fresh or frozen, blueberries are a health powerhouse
Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., author of Food As Medicine, believes kiwifruit is an underrated healing food. “It has an array of disease fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients, often prescribed to help fight cancer and heart disease.” Kiwifruits have two times the Vitamin C as oranges, and are a good source of magnesium, according to a study conducted at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Two medium kiwifruits contain almost 5 grams of fiber. They also have more potassium and are more low sodium than bananas and oranges. The effects of kiwifruit show that it also works as a blood thinner, without the side effects of aspirin when taken for heart health. A daily aspirin can cause breakages in the intestinal walls, stomach pain or bleeding, according to Dr. Trent Nichols, author of Optimal Digestion. Kiwis are brown and furry on the outside, but when peeled are a lovely spring green, with a tiny circle of black seeds inside, which are edible. They are not too easy to peel, but you can do it without mangling them if you go slowly! Kiwifruit is easy to find.
Heart Shaped Poster of Fruits and Vegetables
These vegetables are not really sprouts, but look like tiny cabbages. They grow tightly packed together on tall, thick stalks, and were widely cultivated in sixteenth century Belgium. Since they are members of the cruciferous vegetable family, they have many of the nutritional benefits of other cabbages. The American Cancer Society recommends including these vegetables in your diet on a regular basis. Brussels sprouts suppress the development of precancerous cells because they contain a chemical called sinigrin. This writer enjoys them instead of cooked cabbage with corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day (and also knows the Irish don’t really eat that anyway)! But compliments for creativity in serving them on that holiday have been heard! Including these vegetables in your meal now and then is a great way to reduce the incidence of colon cancer in family members. Brussels sprouts inhibit cell proliferation, neutralize carcinogens, and help to detoxify any environmental toxins
Mom was right when she told you to eat your carrots, so you would see better at night. Carrots are actually good for your eyes, a great source of lutein, and zeaxanthin, both carotenoids that protect the eyes. Carrots are also rich in both alpha-carotine and beta-carotene, which convert into Vitamin A. Rhodopsin is a pigment which helps the eye see in dim light, it raises the effectiveness of the light-sensitive area of the retina. If one does not get enough Vitamin A, it can lead to night blindness. Recent studies have shown that eating one carrot a day could result in cutting the rate of lung cancer in half! High cartenoid intake has shown to be a factor in the decrease of bladder, cervix, prostate, colon, larynx, and esophageal cancers. Hmm, I wonder if carrot cake counts?
Many people still believe that hot peppers, such as cayenne, chili and jalapeno, will cause them to feel heartburn. But the main ingredient in hot peppers, capsaicin, can actually protect the stomach lining from damage. Hot peppers are rich in familiar nutrients: beta carotene, the eye friendly lutein, and Vitamin C, which is very helpful in fighting the common cold. Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., claims that eating hot peppers releases endorphins, which means they elevate your mood, so that should put some zip into your Cinco de Mayo party. Capsaicin produces a warm feeling when it touches the skin, because it then depletes substance P, a chemical that transmits pain messages to the brain. Capsaicin is often used in pain relieving creams for this reason. Hot peppers can be a metabolism and energy booster, suppressing accumulated body fat. Cayenne pepper is used to aid digestion and stimulate the appetite, and prevents ulcers by killing bacteria. Both red and green peppers contain fiber, potassium, folic acid and iron, and are a good source of Vitamin A.
People who eat the most nuts tend to have the lowest body mass indexes. Almonds have fat and calories, so you can’t eat a whole cup of them. But eating them in moderation is filling and satisfies the appetite, so they help with weight loss. Much research has proven that eating almonds reduces the risk of heart disease. Almonds have been shown to lower cholesterol, and 70% of the fat in them is unsaturated fat. Almonds contain about 6 grams of protein per ounce, and 3 grams of fiber. They are also rich in calcium. Almonds also contain phosphorus and vitamin E, and are an excellent source of magnesium. They also contain almost no carbohydrates, so are a perfect food for diabetics. Almond “butter” is a delicious and healthy spread to put on a piece of fruit or on sticks of celery.
Beans are one of the best fiber sources in the world. High fiber diets are associated with lower risks of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. One cup of cooked beans will give a person from 11 to 17 grams of fiber per serving. Beans have a large role to play for those with diabetes and blood sugar issues. The soluble fiber in beans influences the rate by which the glucose is absorbed into the body. Large amounts of fiber in the body can help improve hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Low glycemic diets are recommended for diabetics and people with weight problems. Their high fiber amount means they raise blood sugar very slowly, so eating high fiber naturally regulates blood sugar and insulin. A reduced frequency of breast cancer has been found in women who consumed a high intake of beans or lentils. Eating beans only twice weekly resulted in a 24% less risk. Besides being loaded with antioxidants, the USDA ranks dried red beans as having the highest antioxidant capacity per serving size of any food tested. Many varieties of beans have loads of folic acid-adzukis, black eyed peas, and lentils, which are all heart healthy. They are also filled with magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium. Beans are a great source of protein, and unlike animal protein sources, do not come with any steroids, hormones or antibiotics.
Fruits and Vegetables in Cornucopia Basket
Most health experts agree that all health begins in the digestive tract. One never gets completely rid of the bad bacteria, but one can balance them with good bacteria to create a healthy environment to promote digestion, increase immunity and fight against yeast infections in women. Yogurt is a great source for good bacteria, called probiotics. Nutritionists believe probiotics are so important that people should take supplements of them every day. Yogurt is fermented goat, sheep or cow milk. The fermentation of milk sugar into lactic acid gives yogurt its creamy texture and tangy taste. The presence of these live cultures is the main reason yogurt has so many benefits. Yogurt supports and improves immunity. Probiotics help control inflammation, a central feature of so many degenerative diseases, according to Dr. Sonja Pettersen, N.D. Probiotics increase antibodies when we have infections. They improve digestion. They have anti-cancer properties. They can also increase good cholesterol while decreasing the bad kind. Look for LAC, or live active cultures on your yogurt containers. If a label says, “made with active cultures” this is not the same. All yogurt starts with active cultures—the question is whether they remain after processing. To determine this, check labels for “active yogurt cultures”, or “contains active cultures.” Two brands that contain live cultures are Stonybrook Farm and Dannon. No live cultures survive heat treatment. The most nutritious yogurt is the one with the fewest ingredients in it, without artificial colorings and sweeteners.
Your body is 83% water. You need water for every metabolic process in the body. Water is necessary to digest and absorb nutrients and vitamins. It takes away metabolic wastes. It helps flush the fat and toxins from the body through the liver and kidneys. So it is necessary to have pure, clean water to help with these processes. Water improves energy, increases our physical and mental performances, keeps skin healthy, and can help a person lose weight. When a person becomes dehydrated, the blood gets thicker and the body has to work harder to cause the blood to circulate. Then your brain is less active, it is hard to concentrate, and one feels tired. Water lubricates and cushions your joints and muscles. If the body is dehydrated, it can become susceptible to ailments. So always drink water before, during and after exercise. Most people cannot live without water for more than 8-10 days. High daily intakes of water are associated with significantly lower risk for coronary heart disease episodes. Nobody is sure where the “drink eight glasses a day” rule originated, but it is still considered a good idea.
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