The best way to get into shape requires changing four interconnected aspects of your life: regular exercise, a well regulated sleep schedule, avoiding stress, and of course, eating healthy. A nutritionally balanced diet is a surefire way to obtain all the nutrients you need to stay fit and strong, but most people don't know where to begin. Many of the old rules to healthy eating have been scrapped with the arrival of new research findings. Here are some new ways to eat healthy that you may find a little surprising.
Don’t ditch all fats
Not all fats are bad. Yes, trans fat and saturated fats are bad for you. These are notorious for clogging the arteries and causing cholesterol levels to shoot up. Many choose to adopt a fat-free diet as a part of their fitness regimen. But this isn’t necessarily healthy. The body still needs fats to function properly. Get them from unsaturated fats. Examples of such fates are omega 3 fatty acids that are found in fish and fish oil supplements. Various studies have shown that these fatty acids promote proper brain and heart health. According to the 2009 study published in the journal BMC Cancer, omega 3 fatty acids can also reduce the risk of breast cancer among post-menopausal women. Unsaturated fats are also found in healthy cooking oils such as canola and olive oil.
Forget about the “egg white only” routine
For many years, health buffs have done everything to stay away from the egg yolk. But do you know that this is actually the healthiest part of the egg? Many studies have revealed that the yellow part of the egg contains a nutrient called choline. Choline is essential for the function of the brain's cells. So think twice about throwing away the egg yolk the next time you make an omelet for breakfast.
Dare to try ethnic foods
People have become more adventurous in recent years, culinary speaking that is. This is evident in the proliferation of ethnic foods in markets and restaurants. Ethnic dishes do more than just broaden your culinary experience. Most of these cultured and fermented ethnic foods promote the growth of good bacteria in the intestines. Good bacteria, otherwise known as probiotics, improve the digestive function - particularly with the body’s ability to absorb protein and minerals. They also lower the risk of health problems like colitis, heartburn and constipation. Some ethnic foods you should try are hummus (chickpea paste from the Middle East), paella (a sort of Spanish stir-fry that's great for seafoods and veggies) and kimchi (fermented cabbage with red pepper paste from Korea).
Go for more potatoes
Potatoes used to have a bad reputation for having excessive carbohydrates. But nowadays, they are earning praises from health experts for their vast array of health benefits. One of these is the potatoes’ ability to reduce blood pressure level. In a 2010 study conducted by the American Dietetic Association, it was found that the high levels of potassium in potatoes can effectively excrete excess sodium from the body. The result is lower blood pressure. Eating potatoes as well as other potassium-rich foods like yogurt, bananas and white beans are good for people suffering from hypertension.
Spice it up with cinnamon
Cinnamon is best known for being an added flavor to food and drinks, but aside from tasting good, it can also do wonders for your health. This sweet spice, which is a popular add-on to breakfast items like toasts, buns and pancakes, has been found to lower levels of cholesterol and blood sugar. In fact, a 2003 study published in the journal Diabetes Care showed that 60 people with Type 2 diabetes showed significant improvement after incorporating this spice into their daily diet for 40 days. Additionally, cinnamon is known to boost the metabolism - making these little sticks even more important for eating health.
Jumpstart your day with breakfast
It’s a common mistake that people make: skip breakfast, lose weight. People who want to lose or maintain proper weight think that they are doing themselves a favor by not eating the first meal of the day. That’s not true. Breakfast actually means “break the fast,” as it is the first meal that you eat after an eight hour fast every night. A 2002 study published in the journal Obesity Research revealed that eating breakfast everyday can help in weight loss. The study involved 3,000 people, 78 percent of which had a 30-pound weight loss after one year of eating daily breakfast. Skipping meals can lead to excess hunger, which in turn can result in overeating.
Getting healthy isn't about completely changing your lifestyle overnight. Little changes in the way you eat - using certain ingredients instead of others - is a good way to start and it won't upset your current lifestyle too much. Try incorporating these small changes to your diet to start living healthier today.