We can all make improvements to our diets and to our health. Here are 10 ideas you might not have thought about that will make a positive impact on your health.
Increase Your Intake of Essential Fatty Acids
Most people’s diets are severely lacking in omega 3 fatty acids. That’s a shame because omega 3s have the potential to make the biggest impact on people’s health. Essential fatty acids cannot be manufactured by the body, so they need to be obtained through your diet.
Your can up your intake by eating fatty fish, omega 3 eggs, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seed, or by supplementing like I do with fish oil. Omega 3s can aid in weight loss and help prevent obesity . But that’s just scratching the surface of all the health benefits.
Improve the Quality of Your Fluids
We all know how great water is for you, yet water only makes up a small amount (or none at all) of many people’s liquid intake. If this sounds like you, start taking small steps towards improving the ratio of your water intake to other liquids. If plain water is too bland for you, try adding some lemon, lime, or orange slices to your drink.
Up Your Raw Food Intake
I am far from being a raw food purist, but I do realize there are many benefits to eating raw food. Try getting a balance of raw food to cooked food. Certain nutrients and antioxidants are more plentiful when food is eaten in raw form, just as other foods are when they are cooked. A simple salad loaded with veggies or a fruit smoothie can do a body good.
Moderate Your Restriction
This is more for people with disordered eating problems, but it can apply to everybody. When we start off trying to lose weight we have a tendency to start with restriction – restricting calories, restricting certain foods, etc. This obviously needs to be done, but rarely does it need to happen to the extent that most people take it too. Aim for more balance in your nutrition. A little bit of “forbidden” food here or there can go a long way towards keeping you sane, and can keep your deprivation from turning into a full-out binge.
Say Goodbye to Artificial Sweeteners
Yes, I think artificial sweeteners are the devil. I don’t think there’s any place for them in a healthy lifestyle. In my opinion, you’re better off eating sugar. New studies are coming out all the time about the risks to your health and the diseases they cause. Do yourself a favor and get rid of them – completely. Instead, use honey if you need a sweetener or maybe even some turbinado sugar.
Journal Your Daily Nutrition
The small amount of work you put into writing down what you eat can pay huge dividends. Not only do you learn a lot about your food and your relationship with it, but you can also increase the amount of weight you lose if you do it . You don’t have to add up calories and macronutrients, although you might need to at some point if you’re trying to break through a plateau.
At least write what you eat, the time you eat it, and in what quantities. If you want to take it a step further, write down the way you feel at each meal time. Doing so can help you uncover hidden problems with your eating behavior.
Add More Fiber to Your Diet
It’s no surprise that fiber is good for you. It slows down gastric emptying and slows the release of glucose into the blood. That alone will improve your insulin sensitivity, and in return, improve your health and body composition. Fiber also adds bulk to your meals, which will help fill you up and control your hunger.
Get Rid of Your All-or-Nothing Attitude
I used to be guilty of this attitude. I’d mess up on my diet and would write the whole day off as a loss. That was a big mistake and led me to continue to eat the foods I messed up with in the first place. If I didn’t hit my calorie goal – loss. If I missed my workout – loss. Having a goal to be perfect is a sure way to set yourself up for failure. Keep making progress and you will eventually reach your goals.
Find Opportunities to Strengthen Your Power Over Food
Who controls who? Does food control you, or do you control food? For many people, they feel powerless over their food choices. Look for ways to take back control over your eating and gain power over food. For example, the simple act of saying no to processed food during a time you would normally eat it can empower you. Leaving a little bit of food on your plate at each meal can also put you back in control. Cleaning out your pantry and throwing away the low-quality foods is yet another way gain power.
Practice Mindful Eating
What do you do when you eat? Do you sit in front of the TV? Do you read a book? Is your mind preoccupied with something else while you eat your meal? Pay attention to your eating. Savor every bite. Chew your food. It’s easy to let your eating get out of control when you’re not paying attention. Remove yourself from the environments that cause you to eat uncontrollably. Become more self-aware of your actions and your health will improve as a result.