eat healthily and live longer

 

How to Eat Healthily and Live Longer. Do you know that you are what you eat? Eating over-processed, over-packaged and preservative-laden foods has been linked to premature aging and certain diseases. Poor eating habits have been attributed to cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. With all of this information at our fingertips, how do we stave off the next Big Mac attack?

First, consider your health. How do you feel after you’ve loaded up on a fast-food favorite? All of those processed, fried and fatty foods are little more than empty calories that contribute to an expanding waistline and weak body. These overly processed, not-easily-digestible meals cause us to feel sluggish, tired, and heavy. All of these factors contribute to a shortened lifespan.

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raw water

 

Raw Water: Is it Safe To Drink? What do you think? I cannot stress enough that you need to do extensive research into any and all “wellness” trends popping up on social media before putting them to the test. While raw water sounds like a good healthy choice, it might be harmful to your health.

For example, drinking unfiltered water sounds great when it’s being described as “pure,” but think about it. Is raw water safe to drink when, in reality, it’s coming from lakes, rivers, or streams that could be contaminated with animal feces, toxic minerals, or even be carrying disease? I sure as hell didn’t think so, and neither do the experts.

raw water
clean and polluted streams come together

What is raw water, you may ask?

Just in case you’re not caught up, raw water is the booming pseudo-health trend currently making its mark in Silicon Valley. What is raw water, you may ask? Raw water is precisely that — raw, unfiltered H2O derived from springs that are now being sold by the gallon for as much as a whopping $60 per jug due to an increase in popularity from all the attention the trend is getting.

It sounds ridiculous because it is, and what’s even more concerning is that people aren’t just drinking raw water because they’re dying of thirst and these are the last bottles on the shelf. Raw water is actually in high demand due to a sudden “water consciousness,” in which consumers aren’t trusting the system actually to rid their drinking water of harmful chemicals. So, instead of treating it at all, people are opting to drink it straight from the source. It sounds great in theory, but food-safety expert and lawyer Bill Marler is swooping in to shut down the trend real quick.

Raw water is unsafe to Drink

Drinking raw, unfiltered, unsterilized water is not only dangerous, but it could also be deadly.

We’ve seen a transition in how people are approaching the subject of personal health and wellness choices over the last few years or so, and in most cases, that’s amazing and something to take pride in. Documentaries like “What The Health” is educating viewers about the food they choose to fuel their bodies with on a daily basis. We are beginning to look at all aspects of health with a fresh, progressive perspective. Perhaps maybe a little too liberal.

raw water
Water Filtration Plant

Naturally, as a health and wellness writer, I’m all for expanding your horizons and finding what works best for your body. But guys, I’m at a loss here. I’m just not understanding the appeal of guzzling down a gallon of water that hasn’t been treated for a disease. To me, at least, it sounds like a terrible idea.

Filtered water is the Norm

The issue here isn’t that people want to be healthier; that alone is fantastic. The problem is that people are going to such great lengths to achieve total health and wellness that the steps they’re taking are a little extremist and, quite frankly, not well-thought-out. Filtered water has become the norm, Marler told Business Insider, and it’s because of this that people have forgotten about why we started filtering water in the first place.

Even the Earth’s freshest bodies of water, according to National Geographic, are “a chemical cocktail,” and scientists have found pollutants ranging from animal feces to birth control pills in the water we drink. If consumed, unfiltered water can cause minor symptoms like diarrhea, or more severe cases of hepatitis A, E coli, or cholera.

In other words, “almost everything conceivable that can make you sick can be found in water,” Marler told Business Insider. Knowing that I sincerely hope any desire you might have had even to take one sip of raw water has disappeared.

Choose filtered water instead of raw

raw water
Bottled water is a wise choice

Environmentalists and government officials alike have been working toward making our water systems cleaner and more efficient for years and years, and they continue to make significant progress. Rather than pouring yourself a cold glass of nature-made water with who-knows-what floating around in each sip, I promise it is in your best interest to trust the system and choose filtered water.

However, if you still feel uneasy about what’s going on with your water, do the research! There are a ton of projects focused on the cause, and so many ways you can ensure your drinking water is safe. For example, if you’re into gardening, instead of planting the standard rosebush, look into creating your rain garden.

If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry. There are a ton of little changes you can make to ensure your H2O is top-notch. Dr. Cody Cook, creator and chief medical scientist of HTWO, says that “it’s better to invest in a home filtration system or bottled water” instead of falling for the allure of raw water. Boiling water is another great option, as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, boiling water is the most natural method to extract and eliminate any “disease-causing organisms, bacteria, parasites and viruses.”

Final thought on Is Raw Water Safe to Drink?

So, you see, there are plenty of ways to clean up our waters and sip on H2O that’s safe to put into your body. Raw water isn’t the answer, but I guess we have to give the Bay Area credit for trying. However, there is a wellness trend that I can recommend giving a try. It’s named “hydrogen water,” and it has many health benefits associated with drinking it. Mostly it’s purified water infused with molecular hydrogen. Learn more>>

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have anything that you’d like to share or any opinions on any of the content on my site, please do speak up. I look forward to your comments, questions and the sharing of ideas.

Note: Thank-you for supporting this website with the purchases you make on the provided affiliate links.
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Sparkling Water Surge in Popularity

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References:

Is Raw Water Safe To Drink? An Expert Has Weighed In On .., https://www.elitedaily.com/p/is-raw-water-safe-to-drink-expert-has-weighed-in-on (accessed January 05, 2018).

 

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stressing out your heart

 

 

10 Healthy Eating Habits That Will Change Your Life. Change your eating, change your life. Nutrition experts dole out a ton of advice about how to eat well—and, most importantly, not lose your mind doing it.

But some tips stand the test of time, and that experts themselves follow. (Because yes, they are human, too.) Here are ten habits they live by—and that will change the way you eat.

eating healthy habits
Guide to Healthy Eating

Don’t give anything up

Eat all the foods you enjoy—but the key is to do it in smaller quantities. In fact,  it’s the number one change I made that’s helped me maintain my weight loss. I didn’t want to feel deprived as I had in previous attempts to lose weight. The worst thing you can do is be too strict, then rebound by overeating because you’re not satisfied.

Always have a plan for Healthy Eating Habits

It’s easy to get sucked into the lure of the restaurant menu when you’re hungry, and everything looks good. You don’t have to order the plainly grilled chicken breast with steamed veggies—that would be boring. Order what you’d like, but balance the meal out with the rest of the day.

If you know you’re going out for a steak and potatoes dinner, go easy on the meat and starch at lunch. Make sure you also fit in good fares like whole grains, fruit, veggies, and nuts and seeds in the other meals and snacks that day. That way a hunk of steak won’t derail your diet, and you’ll leave happy.

Forget calorie counting

healthy eating habits
Calorie Intake

Ditching the habit and instead focus on good-for-you foods. Instead of how many calories, ask yourself where the food came from and if it’s nutritious. Healthy, nutrient-rich foods will keep hunger at bay, help maintain stable blood sugar levels, minimize cravings, and help your brain signal your belly when you’re full. In other words, you don’t have to go through all the trouble of counting.

Don’t eat boring food

Nutritionists are always saying to eat more vegetables, so cook them in a way that takes them from ho-hum to yum. I even think that steamed veggies can be very dull! Always incorporate high-flavor add-ons to jazz up veggies, like sautéing with olive oil and garlic, or spraying them with olive oil before throwing them in an oven with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

That way, you don’t equate “healthy” with “tasteless,” a mindset that will knock you off the veggie bandwagon fast. Another tip: buy a spiralizer and make zucchini noodles. Topped off with a creamy tomato sauce, you’ll feel like you’re eating pasta.

Prep and store for Healthy Eating Habits

Even more important than shopping for healthy foods: actually, eating them. When you get home from the store or farmer’s market, bounty of fruits and veggies in tow, wash and chop them right away and store in a pretty glass container in your fridge. Studies show that spending more time on food prep is linked to better eating habits.

It’s all about convenience—if they’re ready for you, you’ll grab them in a pinch. If not? It’s chips and dip time. You can also do this with other foods, like making a batch of quinoa for the week or roasting a bunch of veggies to throw together for quick lunches.

healthy eating habits
big lunch doesn’t mean a burger and fries

Eat lunch like a king

You’ve heard that breakfast should be the most significant meal of your day, but you may not be that hungry when you wake up. In fact, your biggest meal should be around noon when your digestion is at its peak, and you can feed your body when it needs fuel. That means you don’t need a huge meal for dinner only to sit and catch up on your favorite TV show and then go to bed.

But “big” doesn’t mean burger and fry big. At lunch, emphasize protein and greens, like a hearty bowl of lentil soup and kale salad. Another bonus: after dinner, you won’t have the feeling you need to unbutton your pants.

Drop the food guilt

It’s trendy to think “food should be fuel” or that food is something that helps you lose (or, ahem, gain) weight. But considering only regarding number on the scale takes away a considerable part of what eating is about: pleasure. It’s true: feeling guilty about your food choices can undermine weight loss—and even pack on the pounds—while a celebratory mindset gives you more control over your diet and can thwart weight gain, found a 2014 study in the journal Appetite.

Eat the rainbow for Healthy Eating Habits

Greens, oranges, reds, purples, yellows you get the picture. Eating the rainbow will supply your body with a range of disease-fighting phytonutrients, and will naturally fill you up to help you cut back on unhealthy foods. Plus, most adults struggle with getting the recommended five servings a day.

A worldwide study in 2014 found 58 to 88% of adults don’t hit that mark. Aiming for a different intake of produce from all colors of the rainbow will help you boost your intake. In another 2012 study, adults who were offered a variety of vegetables ate more of them without increasing the calories at the meal.

Know where your snacks are

healthy eating habits
healthy snacks

Sure, you don’t know what you’ll be in the mood for later, and will you even be hungry? Yes, probably. After all, increased snacking is one reason behind the rise in calorie intake over the past few decades, according to a 2011 study in PLOS ONE.

When you leave your office to find something, that’s when you make bad choices. That’s when a hot pretzel, a bag of candy, or donut can look very appealing. Make sure you have an emergency stash of snacks, like Greek yogurt, individual packs of nuts, dried fruit, and nitrate-free jerky.

Follow the 80/20 rule…kind of

There are two ways you can think about 80/20 eating. One: eat healthy 80% of the time and save 20% for splurges. That’s great because it stresses how consumption is not about perfection, and as I mentioned earlier, how it could be pleasurable, too. However, what does that look like? That might mean having a 150-calorie treat daily or saving it all up for a big meal out on the weekend. Make it work for you rather than stressing out about percentages.

Another spin on the 80/20 rule: stopping eating when you’re 80% full. That means slowing down and checking in periodically throughout the meal about what your body is telling you. Does the food no longer taste great? Are you getting that “I don’t need any more feeling”? Thinking 80/20 will help slow you down and be more mindful. Being in tune with your body prevents overeating.

Final Thought about Healthy Eating Habits

If you think of eating as something enjoyable and something you do without guilt or without judging yourself, and you stay active, you’re less likely to overeat, have a better diet, and maintain any weight loss for the long haul.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have anything that you’d like to share or any opinions on any of the content on my site, please do speak up. I look forward to your comments, questions and the sharing of ideas.

Note: Thank-you for supporting this website with the purchases you make through the provided affiliate links.
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Are you trying to get rid of Stubborn Belly Fat?

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References:
Healthy Eating Habits That Will Change Your Life – Health, http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20934662,00.html (accessed January 12, 2018).
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quick and easy breakfast ideas

 

12 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas to try. You have five minutes before you need to leave to make it work on time. And you haven’t eaten anything for breakfast. Do you skip breakfast altogether, visit a drive-thru, or stop by the vending machine in your company’s break room? If you answered yes to any of these options, then it’s time for a change.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Therefore, plan a healthy breakfast of whole grains, low-fat protein, low-fat dairy, and fruits or vegetables that don’t take a lot of time to prepare in the morning.

When you eat a healthy breakfast in the morning, your productivity increases, you can stay awake and alert until lunchtime and avoid over-eating. Therefore, it saves money by not purchasing unhealthy snacks from overpriced vending machines or going to the drive-thru.

Furthermore, variety in your food preparation will make breakfast more enjoyable. Make sure to plan healthy meals and avoid frozen or packaged foods in the morning.

Breakfast Planning and Preparation

Some advanced planning and preparation make cooking breakfasts easy.

Here are some valuable tips to make hassle-free meals:

  • Invest in some sturdy, well-made hard-sided food storage containers, freezer bags, and flexible, inexpensive plastic storage containers.
  • To quickly and easily access ingredients and staples for these recipes, you can cook and bake some items before you need them.
  • If you have well-made storage containers, you can keep homemade cereals fresh for months at a time.
  • Use freezer bags to store fresh fruits, berries, and other breakfast ingredients in the fridge, and take your breakfast to work in cheap, flexible plastic containers.

Take the Time to Plan Your Weekly Meals.

  • Having a rough idea of what you intend to eat for the week helps you plan your grocery trips, and helps you with advanced prep work for your meals.
  • Review the Lists of Ingredients for Recipes.
  • Create a grocery list using these ingredients, and begin looking for sales of the items you need.
  • Set Aside One Day a Week to Spend Time Preparing Food for Your Breakfasts.

Once you have the basics down, you can begin cooking and bake. Here are some breakfast ideas that you can pull together over the weekend, the night before, or very quickly in the morning. You’ll be able to eat on your commute, at your desk, or during that last five minutes before you have to leave the house.

Here are 12 Quick & Easy Breakfast Recipes and Ideas to try

1. Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans)
1/3 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries)
One tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp butter, melted
One large egg

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Stir together the oats, brown sugar, nuts, dried fruit, and baking powder.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, applesauce, butter, and egg. Stir into the oats mixture until combined.
4. Coat an 11 x 7 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and pour the batter into the dish.
5. Bake for 20 minutes in a 375-degree oven.
6. After baking, allow to cool and cut into single servings. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the freezer using a freezer bag. In the morning, remove the cover and heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds or until gooey and warm.

quick and easy breakfast ideas
healthy homemade oatmeal

2. Hummus, Tomato, and Cucumber on a Whole Wheat Bagel

Prepare hummus over the weekend and store it in the refrigerator.

Directions

1. Drain and rinse a can of garbanzo beans.
2. Spin it in the food processor with a couple of garlic cloves, 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes (optional), salt, and pepper to taste.
3. Drizzle in 3 -4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or more, until you reach your desired consistency.
4. Slather over a freshly sliced and toasted whole wheat bagel, and top with thin slices of fresh tomato and cucumber. And I have found that bagels from the grocery store’s bakery department taste just as good as bagels from a bagel shop and cost much less.

3. Frozen Fruit Smoothies

Directions

1. Use fresh fruit and frozen fruit, such as apples, bananas, blueberries, mango, pineapple, and strawberries.
2. Add some greens, like celery, cucumber, or spinach, and 1/2-1 cup of water.
3. To make the smoothie creamy, add coconut milk, low-fat milk, soy milk, or yogurt.
4. Add an extra shot of protein by adding in one serving of tofu. Silken tofu works best in smoothies, and you can find everyday tofu or coconut-flavored tofu at the grocery store.
5. Pour into a travel container and off you go.

4. Homemade Granola Bars

Ingredients

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sliced or chopped mix of nuts, like almonds, walnuts, and pecans
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened if possible
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup maple syrup
Two tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups dried fruit, such as cranberries, raisins, cherries, and chopped apricots

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Combine the oats and nuts and spread the mixture evenly on a rimmed baking sheet.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring the mixture after five minutes. Keep a close eye on the granola; you don’t want the oats and nuts to burn.
4. After baking, carefully transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
5. Stir in the wheat germ, coconut, honey, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and dried fruit and thoroughly mix the ingredients.
6. Butter a 9 x 12 baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
7. Pour the granola mixture into the pan and press it down with a spatula to pack the granola tightly. If you don’t pack the granola into the pan, the granola will fall apart after baking.
8. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
9. Chill several hours or overnight before cutting into squares. It makes about 16 squares. Store the granola bars in a freezer bag in the fridge.

quick and easy breakfast ideas
granola bars

5. Breakfast Spinach Salad is a Easy Breakfast Ideas

The central star of this healthy breakfast salad is spinach, an excellent source of vitamins, fiber, and calcium.

Top the spinach with a hard-boiled egg, Canadian bacon, chopped tomatoes, your favorite vinaigrette, and a whole wheat pita.

6. Another Breakfast Ideas is Stuffed Whole Wheat Pita Sandwich

Stuff the pita with lean meat or fish, such as turkey or tuna, your favorite low-fat cheese, vegetables, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and spinach, and a sliced hard-boiled egg. To save time in the morning, prepare the sandwich the night before.

7. Breakfast Pizza is a Delicious Easy Breakfast ideas

Split a whole wheat English muffin and top each slice with a thin slice of Canadian bacon, a fresh tomato slice, and 2 tbsp of shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. Bake in a toaster oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Bake the pizza while you prepare for work in the morning and you can have a hearty breakfast ready right before you walk out the door.

8. Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients

One large egg
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
One tsp vanilla
1 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as walnuts, almonds or pecans
1/4 cup dried fruit, such as raisins or cranberries

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Beat egg lightly, and add applesauce, honey, peanut butter, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir until combined.
4. Stir in the nuts and dried fruit.
5. Grease cookie sheet with butter. With a spoon, drop batter onto the cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 8 – 9 minutes. It makes about 20 cookies.
6. Make a batch or two and store in a freezer bag in the fridge.

9. Freezer Breakfast Burritos (my favorite) Easy Breakfast Ideas

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound turkey sausage
One green or red sweet pepper, chopped
One small onion, chopped
12 large eggs
1/2 cup 2% milk (optional)
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
cheese, shredded
salsa (optional)
12-14 medium sized tortillas

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the turkey sausage, pepper, and onion.
2. Break the sausage up into tiny pieces and brown the sausage until thoroughly cooked, and peppers and onions are soft. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper until combined.
4. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of butter and melt all over the pan. Add the eggs and scramble until cooked thoroughly.
5. Warm the tortillas in microwave per the package instructions.
6. Layer 1/2 cup scrambled eggs, 1/2 cup cooked sausage and peppers mixture, 1-2 tbsp shredded cheese, and a little salsa on a warmed medium-sized tortilla. Fold up into a burrito.
7. Place each burrito on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and flash-freeze in the freezer for at least 60 minutes. Wrap each burrito in foil and store in a freezer bag in the fridge.
8. When ready to eat, remove foil, wrap in a paper towel and microwave for about 60 seconds or until warm all the way through. Breakfast is served!

quick and easy breakfast ideas
breakfast burrito

10. Savory Breakfast Muffins

Ingredients

Six large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped Canadian bacon
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup flour
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and applesauce until combined.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pepper. Add to the egg mixture and stir until just combined. Mix in the cheese, Canadian bacon, pepper, and parsley.
4. Prepare a 12-muffin pan with non-stick spray. Pour in the batter and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until cooked thoroughly. The tops of the muffins should be set and a toothpick poked through the muffin should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then remove from pan.
5. Once cooled, wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag and store in the fridge. When ready to eat, remove plastic wrap, wrap in a paper towel and microwave for 30-45 seconds until heated thoroughly.

11. Greek Yogurt is a Simple and Easy Breakfast Ideas

Mix yogurt with fresh berries or bananas, and a scoop of homemade granola or muesli. Combining the tasty yogurt with fresh fruit and a low-fat grain keeps you full until lunchtime. Greek yogurt is also a healthy and nutritious snack idea.

12. Cold Cereal is a Favorite Breakfast Ideas

A tried-and-true favorite, you can quickly fix a bowl of cereal before you head to work. Combine homemade granola or muesli with fruit and soy milk to kickstart your morning.

Fruit contains essential vitamins and minerals and soy has a protein that can give you the extra energy you need in the morning. Also, the carbohydrates in the cereal keep you full, and a late-morning snack won’t tempt you.

Final Word on Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas

Making a healthy, homemade breakfast takes some initial planning and kitchen prep time either the weekend or the night before your workday. If you can spend an hour or two a couple of occasions a week preparing breakfasts, you can make several of these recipes to have them ready to go in the mornings before work.

Pair any of these ideas with some fresh fruit, and you can have a more productive day, and avoid binge eating fast food and vending machine snacks. Furthermore, you just might have more money in your pocket at the end of the week.

I hope you find this article helpful. If you have anything that you’d like to share or any opinions on any of the content on my site, please do speak up. I look forward to your comments, questions and the sharing of ideas.

Note: Thank-you for supporting this website with the purchases you make through the provided affiliate links.
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References:

12 Healthy Breakfast Food Ideas – Quick & Easy, https://www.moneycrashers.com/healthy-breakfast-food-ideas/ (accessed January 11, 2018).

 

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How to Plan and Enjoy a Healthy Diet. Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Instead, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your health, and stabilizing your mood.

If you feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone.

It seems that for every expert who tells you a particular food is right for you, you’ll find another saying precisely the opposite. But by using these simple tips, you can cut through the confusion and learn how to create a tasty, varied, and nutritious diet that is as good for your mind as it is for your body.

How can healthy eating improve your mood?

We all know that eating right can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid specific health problems, but your diet can also have a profound effect on your mood and sense of wellbeing. Studies have linked eating a typical Western diet—filled with processed meats, packaged meals, takeout food, and sugary snacks—with higher rates of depression, stress, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.

Eating an unhealthy diet may even play a role in the development of mental health disorders such as ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia, or in the increased risk of suicide in young people.

Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, cooking meals at home, and reducing your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, on the other hand, may help to improve mood and lower your risk for mental health issues. If you have already been diagnosed with a mental health problem, eating well can even help to manage your symptoms and regain control of your life.

What constitutes a healthy diet?

Eating a healthy diet doesn’t have to be overly complicated. While some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood, it’s your overall dietary pattern that is most important. The cornerstone of a healthy diet pattern should be to replace processed food with real food whenever possible. Eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it can make a massive difference to the way you think, look, and feel.

diet
healthy eating pyramid

The Healthy Eating Pyramid

The Harvard Healthy Eating Pyramid represents the latest nutritional science. The most comprehensive part at the bottom is for things that are most important. The foods at the narrow top are those that should be eaten sparingly, if at all. This Healthy Eating Pyramid shows daily exercise and weight control in the most comprehensive, most important category. Fats from healthy sources, such as plants, are in the broader part of the pyramid. Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and white rice, are in the narrow top. Red meat should also be eaten sparingly, while fish, poultry, and eggs are healthier choices.

Building your healthy diet

While some extreme diets may suggest otherwise, we all need a balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals in our diets to sustain a healthy body. You don’t need to eliminate specific categories of food from your menu, but instead, select the healthiest options from each group.

Protein

Protein gives us the energy to get up and go—and keep going—while also supporting mood and cognitive function. Too much protein can be harmful to people with kidney disease, but the latest research suggests that many of us need more high-quality protein, especially as we age. That doesn’t mean you have to eat more animal products—a variety of plant-based sources of protein each day can ensure your body gets all the essential protein it needs. Learn more »

Fat

Not all fat is the same. While bad fats can wreck your diet and increase your risk of certain diseases, good fats protect your brain and heart. In fact, healthy fats—such as omega-3s—are vital to your physical and emotional health. Understanding how to include more healthy fat in your diet can help improve your mood, boost your well-being, and even trim your waistline. Learn more »

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are one of your body’s main sources of energy. But most should come from complex, unrefined carbs (vegetables, whole grains, fruit) rather than sugars and refined carbs that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients. Cutting back on white bread, pastries, starches, and sugar can prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar, fluctuations in mood and energy, and a build-up of fat, especially around your waistline. Learn more »

Fiber

Eating foods high in dietary fiber (grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans) can help you stay regular and lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can also improve your skin and even help you to lose weight. Depending on your age and gender, nutrition experts recommend you eat at least 21 to 38 grams of fiber each day for optimal health. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t eating even half that amount. Learn more »

Calcium

Your body uses calcium to build healthy bones and teeth, keep them strong as you age, send messages through the nervous system, and regulate the heart’s rhythm. As well as leading to osteoporosis, not getting enough calcium in your diet can also contribute to anxiety, depression, and sleep difficulties. Whatever your age or gender, it’s vital to include calcium-rich foods in your diet, limit those that deplete calcium, and get enough magnesium and vitamins D and K to help calcium do its job. Learn more »

Setting yourself up for success

Switching to a healthy diet doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to eliminate foods you enjoy entirely, and you don’t have to change everything all at once—that usually only leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan.

To set yourself up for success, think about planning a healthy diet as some small, manageable steps—like adding a salad to your eating once a day—rather than one significant drastic change. As your little changes become a habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices.

Prepare more of your meals.

Cooking more meals at home can help you take charge of what you’re eating and better monitor precisely what goes into your food. You’ll eat fewer calories and avoid the chemical additives, added sugar, and unhealthy fats of packaged and takeout foods that can leave you feeling tired, bloated, and irritable, and exacerbate symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety.

Make the right changes.

When cutting back on unhealthy foods in your diet, it’s essential to replace them with healthy alternatives. Replacing dangerous trans fats with healthy fats (such as switching fried chicken for grilled salmon) will make a positive difference to your health. Changing animal fats for refined carbohydrates, though (such as changing your breakfast bacon for a donut), won’t lower your risk for heart disease or improve your mood.

Simplify.

Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories, think of your diet regarding color, variety, and freshness. Focus on avoiding packaged and processed foods and opting for more fresh ingredients.

Read the labels.

It’s important to be aware of what’s in your food as manufacturers often hide large amounts of sugar or unhealthy fats in packaged food, even food claiming to be healthy.

Focus on how you feel after eating.

This will help foster healthy new habits and tastes. The healthier the food you eat, the better you’ll feel after a meal. The more junk food you eat, the more likely you are to feel uncomfortable, nauseous, or drained of energy.

Drink plenty of water.

Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many of us go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.

Moderation: essential to any healthy diet

What is moderation? In essence, it means eating only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied at the end of a meal, but not stuffed. For many of us, moderation means eating less than we do now. But it doesn’t mean eliminating the foods you love. Eating bacon for breakfast once a week, for example, could be considered moderation if you follow it with a healthy lunch and dinner—but not if you follow it with a box of donuts and a sausage pizza.

Try not to think of certain foods as “off-limits.” When you ban certain foods, it’s natural to want those foods more, and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. Start by reducing portion sizes of unhealthy foods and not eating them as often. As you reduce your intake of unhealthy foods, you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences.

Think smaller portions.

Serving sizes have ballooned recently. When dining out, choose a starter instead of an entree, split a dish with a friend, and don’t order supersized anything. At home, visual cues can help with portion sizes. Your serving of meat, fish, or chicken should be the size of a deck of cards, and half a cup of mashed potato, rice, or pasta is about the size of a traditional light bulb.

By serving your meals on smaller plates or in bowls, you can trick your brain into thinking it’s a larger portion. If you don’t feel satisfied at the end of a meal, add more leafy greens or round off the meal with fruit.

Take your time. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly and stop eating before you feel full.

Eat with others whenever possible. Eating alone, especially in front of the TV or computer, often leads to mindless overeating.

It’s not just what you eat, but when you eat

Eat breakfast, and eat smaller meals throughout the day. A healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism while eating small, healthy meals (rather than the standard three large meals) keeps your energy up all day.

Avoid eating late at night. Try to eat dinner earlier and fast for 14-16 hours until breakfast the next morning. Studies suggest that eating only when you’re most active and giving your digestive system a long break each day may help to regulate weight.

Make fruit and vegetables a tasty part of your diet

Fruit and vegetables are low in calories and nutrient dense, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Focus on eating the recommended daily amount of at least five servings of fruit and vegetables and it will naturally fill you up and help you cut back on unhealthy foods. A serving is half a cup of raw fruit or veg or a small apple or banana, for example. Most of us need to double the amount we currently eat.

To increase your intake:

Add antioxidant-rich berries to your favorite breakfast cereal

Eat a medley of sweet fruit—oranges, mangos, pineapple, grapes—for dessert

Swap your usual rice or pasta side dish for a colorful salad

Instead of eating processed snack foods, snack on vegetables such as carrots, snow peas, or cherry tomatoes along with a spicy hummus dip or peanut butter

How to make vegetables tasty

While plain salads and steamed veggies can quickly become bland, there are plenty of ways to add taste to your vegetable dishes.

Add color. Not only do brighter, deeper colored vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—but they can vary the flavor and make meals more visually appealing. Add color using fresh or sundried tomatoes, glazed carrots or beets, roasted red cabbage wedges, yellow squash, or sweet, colorful peppers.

Liven up salad greens. Branch out beyond lettuce. Kale, arugula, spinach, mustard greens, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage are all packed with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. To add flavor to your salad greens, try drizzling with olive oil, adding a spicy dressing, or sprinkling with almond slices, chickpeas, a little bacon, parmesan, or goat cheese.

Satisfy your sweet tooth. Naturally sweet vegetables—such as carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, onions, bell peppers, and squash—add sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for added sugar. Add them to soups, stews, or pasta sauces for a satisfying sweet kick.

Cook green beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus in new ways. Instead of boiling or steaming these healthy sides, try grilling, roasting, or pan frying them with chili flakes, garlic, shallots, mushrooms, or onion. Or marinate in tangy lemon or lime before cooking.

I hope you found this article helpful and as always I look forward to your comments, questions and the sharing of ideas.

Note: Thank-you for supporting this website through purchases you make on the provided affiliate links.
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Resources and references:
Healthy eating and mental health

Healthy Eating – Overview and articles about what constitutes a healthy diet. (Harvard Health Publications)

Healthy Diet: Eating with Mental Health in Mind – Foods to eat and avoid for optimal mental health. (Mental Health America)

Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food – How the food you eat affects the way you feel. (Harvard Health Publications)

Mastering the mindful meal – Describes the importance of mindful eating, along with tips on how to eat more mindfully. (Brigham & Women’s Hospital)

Healthy eating: fats

Omega-3 Fats: An Essential Contribution – All about health benefits of the important omega-3 fatty acids, including the best food sources in which to find them. (Harvard School of Public Health)

The Truth About Fats – Understanding what counts as good fats, bad fats, and those in-between. (Harvard Health Publications)

Healthy eating: sugar

How to spot and avoid added sugar – Why sugar is so bad for you and how to spot it hidden in foods such as cereal, pasta sauce, and crackers. (Harvard Health Publications)

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eating healthy habits

 

How to Make Eating Healthy Absolutely Simple and Easy. It’s easier than you think to start eating healthy! Take small steps each week to improve your nutrition and move toward a healthier you.

Eight Eating Healthy Goals

Small changes can make a big difference to your health. Try incorporating at least six of the eight goals below into your diet. Commit to integrating one new healthy eating goal each week over the next six weeks. You can track your progress through Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+).

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables:

  • Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of your main or side dishes or as dessert. The more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to be healthy.

Make half the grains you eat whole grains:

eating healthy
ChooseMyPlate.gov
  • An easy way to eat more whole grains is to switch from a refined-grain food to a whole-grain food. For example, eat whole-wheat bread instead of white bread. Read the ingredients list and choose products that list whole-grain ingredients first. Look for things like: “whole wheat,” “brown rice,” “bulgur,” “buckwheat,” “oatmeal,” “rolled oats,” quinoa,” or “wild rice.”

Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk:

  • Both have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but fewer calories and less saturated fat.

Choose a variety of lean protein foods:

  • Meat, poultry, seafood, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the protein foods group. Select leaner cuts of ground beef (where the label says 90% lean or higher), turkey breast, or chicken breast.

Compare sodium in foods:

  • Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose lower sodium versions of foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals. Select canned foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”

Drink water instead of sugary drinks:

  • Cut calories by drinking water or unsweetened beverages. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a significant source of added sugar and calories in American diets. Try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or watermelon or a splash of 100% juice to your glass of water if you want some flavor.

Eat some seafood:

eating healthy
salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids
  • Seafood includes fish (such as salmon, tuna, and trout) and shellfish (such as crab, mussels, and oysters). Seafood has protein, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids (a heart-healthy fat). Adults should try to eat at least eight ounces a week of a variety of seafood. Children can eat smaller amounts of seafood, too.

Cut back on solid fats:

  • Eat fewer foods that contain solid fats.
  • The primary sources for Americans are cakes, cookies, and other desserts (often made with butter, margarine, or shortening); pizza; processed and fatty meats (e.g., sausages, hot dogs, bacon, ribs); and ice cream.

Try these Eating Healthy Tips!

  • Put your emphasis on Fruits & Veggies. Mix vegetables into your go-to dishes. Try spinach with pasta or peppers in tacos.
  • Use fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables. They all offer the same high nutrients. Just be sure to watch the sodium on canned vegetables and look for fruits packed in water or 100% juice (not syrup).
  • Pack your child’s lunch bag with fruits and veggies: sliced apples, a banana, or carrot sticks are all healthy options.

Healthy Snacks

eating healthy
Infused Water
  • For a handy snack, keep cut-up fruits and vegetables like carrots, peppers, or orange slices in the refrigerator.
  • Teach children the difference between everyday snacks, such as fruits and veggies, and occasional snacks, such as cookies or other sweets.
  • Make water a staple of snack time. Try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or a splash of 100% juice to your water for a little flavor.
  • Swap out your cookie jar for a basket filled with fresh fruit.

Ways to Reduce Fat, Salt, and Sugar

  • Choose baked or grilled food instead of fried when you’re eating out and implement this at home, too.
  • Make water and fat-free or low-fat milk your go-to drinks instead of soda or sweetened beverages.
  • Serve fruits as everyday desserts-like baked apples and pears or a fruit salad.
  • Read labels on packaged ingredients to find foods lower in sodium.
  • Skip adding salt when cooking; instead, use herbs and spices to add flavor.

Controlling Portion Size

  • Use smaller plates to control portion sizes.
  • Don’t clean your plate or bowl if you’re full, instead save leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
  • Portion sizes depend on the age, gender, and activity level of the individual.

Eating Healthy in School

eating healthy
chefs move to schools
  • Bring healthy snacks into your child’s classroom for birthday parties and celebrations, instead of providing sugary treats.
  • Pack healthy lunches for your children including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
  • Schools across the nation are making their lunchrooms healthier places. Learn more with the Chefs Move to Schools initiative-where chefs work with local schools to add flavorful, healthy meals to menus.

Tips for Balancing Calories to Manage Weight

Following the eight healthy eating goals above can help your body get the nutrients it needs. Here are some other tips to keep in mind if you also are trying to manage your weight.

Balance calories:

  • Find out how many calories you need for a day as a first step in managing your weight. Go to ChooseMyPlate.gov to find your calorie level. To help plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity, use the SuperTracker.

Enjoy your food, but eat less:

  • Take the time to enjoy your meal as you eat it thoroughly. Eating too fast or when your attention is elsewhere may lead to eating too many calories. Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues before, during, and after meals. Use them to recognize when to eat and when you’ve had enough.

Watch your portion sizes:

  • Check to see what the recommended portion sizes of foods you eat looks like in the bowls, plates, and glasses you use at home. When dining out avoid “supersizing” your meal or buying “combo” meal deals that often include large-size menu items. Choose small-size items instead or ask for a take-home bag and wrap up half of your meal to take home before you even start to eat.

Be physically active:

eating healthy
Kids need to be more active than adults
  • Being physically active can help you manage your weight. Youth (6-17 years old) need to be active for at least 60 minutes a day (or 12,000 steps). Adults (18 and older) need to be active for at least 30 minutes (or 8,500 steps) a day. Learn more about being active.

Food Safety

  • When cooking, keep these tips in mind to keep your family safe from food poisoning.
  • Clean: Wash hands, utensils, and cutting boards before and after contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
    Separate: Keep raw meat and poultry apart from foods that won’t be cooked.
  • Cook: Use a food thermometer. You can’t tell if food is cooked safely by how it looks.
  • Chill: Chill leftovers and takeout foods within two hours and keep the refrigerator at 40°F or below.
  • Rinse: Rinse fruits and vegetables (even those with skins or rinds that are not eaten) with tap water.

Final Thoughts on Eating Healthy

The basics of eating healthy are quite simple actually: choosing a variety of fresh, natural (as opposed to processed) foods and enjoying them in moderation. But with the wealth of foods, supplements, and information on micronutrients, preparation methods, storage methods, and numerous other topics that healthy eaters now have access to, the details can be overwhelming. It can also be challenging to find reliable, credible information on so many fad diets and products attempting to sell quick weight loss through advertising muscle and distorted data instead of scientific facts.

It is our mission to provide our visitors with the research on both the health benefits and disadvantages of making specific dietary choices. We aspire to be a reliable and unbiased resource for those who want to integrate healthy eating into their everyday lives a for lifestyle goals, weight loss, health reasons, personal values, or a combination thereof.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have anything that you’d like to share or any opinions on any of the content on my site, please do speak up. I look forward to your comments, questions and the sharing of ideas.

Note: Thank-you for supporting this website with purchases you make on the provided affiliate links.
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References:
How To Eat Healthy | Hhs.gov, https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/eat-healthy/how-to-eat-healthy/index.html 
Eating Healthy, http://www.eatinghealthy.org/ 
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