1 – Reduce Processed Food
First, look at the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of anything you buy.
Many harmful chemicals are food preservatives or flavor enhancers. These chemicals are often disguised under unrecognizable names or “natural” flavorings.
Highly processed foods also lack essential nutrients. Plus they are usually high in bad fats and sugar.
Your body processes whole foods differently than it does processed foods. Processed foods can overstimulate the pleasure neurotransmitter, dopamine, which leads to cravings.
This temptation to eat junk foods in excess leads to obesity and other health problems.
Recently the FDA has moved to ban trans fats from processed foods. Trans fats are linked to a greater risk of heart disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that reducing trans fat in the food supply can prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease per year.
Over 3,000 chemicals are purposely added to our food supply. Avoiding them is a lot easier and cheaper than you might think. Ditch anything with a long list of ingredient names you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce.
2 – Eat Earth Grown Nutrients
Eat food from the earth, not factories. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, grains, and well raised meats provide healthy nutrition loaded with essential nutrients.
Some processing unlocks the nutrients in foods. Artichokes and beans are a good example. Processing can also slow spoilage and enable long-term storage. Freezing fruits and vegetables allows availability in the winter.
While some processing enables storage, other types remove nutritional value or add harmful ingredients.
he health advantages of a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes left in a natural state is well documented.
Compared to processed foods, whole foods contain more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and beneficial fats. The combinations of nutrients in whole foods work together to protect us from disease.
To top it off, whole foods made from scratch often end up costing less per serving than their unhealthy, highly processed equivalents.
3 – Eat Leafy Greens
Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, cabbage, broccoli and others are filled with essential nutrients. They are some of the most nutrient dense foods on a calorie per calorie basis.
These vegetables contain vitamins A, B, C, E, K, minerals, and helpful phytochemicals. Green foods are crucial to our health for many reasons.
They strengthen the immune system, fight against cancer, improve blood circulation, reduce cholesterol, promote healthy gut bacteria, and increase energy.
Green leafy vegetables are also low calorie, low carbohydrate, and low glycemic index. These features help you reach a healthy body weight.
Steam them, make a salad, soup, smoothie, juice, stir fry, and more, get creative.
4 – Don’t Stop Eating Fruit
Don’t avoid whole fruit because of the sugar. Many people think that carbohydrates are the evil, but not all forms are equal.
There’s nothing uniquely fattening or toxic about the sugar in fruit when it isn’t consumed in excess. Because whole fruit contains fiber and additional nutrients, it’s hard to eat a lot of it without eating less of other foods.
We’ve eaten fruit since the beginning. We’re well adapted to eating it and capable of processing the sugar in it.
Fruit juice isn’t the same. Fruit juice removes many of the beneficial components of whole fruit. Any highly sweetened beverage can cause problems because people are not likely to compensate for the extra calories.
Therefore, sweetened beverages like soft drinks and juice can cause metabolic problems. This is why soft drinks and fructose sweetened beverages aren’t a great idea, but an occasional glass is unlikely to cause problems.
5 – Drink Plenty of Fluids
Water is the most important nutrient for us.
Hydration is important for overall health because the body is mostly water. The brain is 95% water, blood is 82% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water. Dehydration wrecks your ability to find balance and maintain homeostasis.
Just 2% dehydration impairs performance in tasks requiring attention, memory, and psychomotor skills.
Don’t wait until you notice signs of dehydration to act. Actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.