Healthy Diet Tips for a Healthy, Slim and Strong You

Heard enough unwanted, off-base or contradictory Healthy Diet Tips? Me too.

Whenever you mention the word “diet” or that you’re trying to change yours to lose weight, regain lost energy or just live a little healthier a little longer, there’s one guarantee. You’ll get loads of advice from family, friends and the guy in the bank line-up about what you should and shouldn’t eat. The internet and magazines are rife with the same.

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Some of the advice will be spot-on and helpful; others - silly, unscientific or, worse, dangerous. The last can give diet tips, let alone healthy diet tips, a bad name.

Ten Healthy Diet Tips to help you lose weight and find energy

I’ve looked into the situation and distilled ten no-nonsense healthy diet tips that aren’t impossible to follow, although some may involve an adjustment to your current routine. .. I know, however, that you’re open to new ways to improve your health because you’re reading this page on healthy diet tips.

Some healthy diet tips you’ll have heard; others may be new and even surprising.

Along with healthy diet tips, I give the reasons why. This helps, should one of the suggestions look a little over-the-top. I’ve always found making change easier, when I know the rationale for it. Maybe you’re the same.

Since a healthy diet, like life, is full of good intentions – with inevitable wrong turns along the road, I’ve identified the most important of the healthy diet tips to follow above all others. This means, if it’s not possible to follow all ten healthy diet tips all the time, you’ll benefit, if you maintain the first.

HEALTHY DIET TIPS #1 – Transform your fridge into a fruit and vegetable market - Eat a minimum five fruits and vegetable servings per day – Better yet aim for seven to nine servings of brightly colored veg Make sure that at least two of your quota are green leafy veg and the rest a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits. The colors denote different health giving phytochemicals.

Hitting the veg and fruit hard is the Numero Uno of all the healthy diet tips. If it’s the only one you can manage, make it the one. If you do, you’ll be getting the benefits of several of the other healthy diet tips with no effort, other than making sure you have enough fruit and veg in the cool box to reach your daily tally.

With all these fruits and vegetables on the menu, you will be satisfied and well-nourished and not prone to unhealthy snacking to boost sagging blood sugar levels. You'll be getting a good dose of insoluble and soluble fiber needed for healthy bowel function and detoxification, as well as optimal hormone and blood sugar balance. For more on blood sugar balance and glycemic load, press here.

As well as great taste, you’ll be getting a slew of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, amino acids and healthy fats needed for cellular growth and maintenance of all your organs including skin, nerves, brain and cardiovascular system . All great stuff!

Press here to read more about Orac Values and the Vitamin Benefits, all of which fruit and veg boost.

Healthy Diet Tips –Alkalinize for the Right Body PH

Eating a surfeit of vegetables and fruits will help alkalinize your tissue PH level – an important counterbalance to the typical animal based processed Western diet that is prone to acidify the body, leading to a situation that’s bad for bones, immunity and other physiological systems.

Remember not to overdose on fruit at the expense of vegetables, especially those dark green leafies like broccoli, brocolini, kale, turnip greens, arugula – they are great tasting, hugely nutritious and sadly under-represented in our diet. Many green leafy veg are full of bioavailable vitamins and minerals including, among others, magnesium and calcium. See the Benefits of Calcium and Benefits of Magnesium for more on this.

HEALTHY DIET TIPS # 2 - Minimize processed foods and nix the junk foods- The former often contains additives or ingredients best not allowed in your body; the latter are generally calorie rich and nutrient poor but sap vital nutrients when being metabolized and eliminated.

As well as containing oodles of energy-rich nutrient-depleted ingredients, even so- called healthy processed foods are routinely chockablock with excess salt, sugars, artificial or low quality fats, and “unknowns”. When the food’s label reads like a chemistry text book, beware.

Healthy Diet Tips -The Junk on Junk Food

Junk food is not neutral. While you may think there’s no harm to junk food, only added calories, remember that important nutrients are required to metabolize and eliminate this nutrient depleted content from your body. This process, all because of “empty” calories, robs you of important nutrients and energy you could be using for maintaining good health.

In addition, processed and junk foods can be deficient , if not devoid, of fiber needed for healthy bowel, cardiovascular and blood sugar function. To boot, these products can be spiked with artificial colorants and chemical preservatives that you don’t want in your food, let alone your body. Best to avoid.

HEALTHY DIET TIPS # 3 Trade Fat-Free For Fat-Smart – Omega 3 fatty acids are good for brain, joints and nerve function as well as healthy mucous membranes. We seldom get enough. Enjoy in moderation the right fats, like those contained in cold water fish, raw nuts and seeds, and cold or mechanically pressed vegetable oils. Cross trans-fats off your menu and eat sparingly saturated fats primarily found in animal products. Get the last from high quality sources that are ideally organic and hormone free.

You need adequate Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet for good brain, heart and immune function. You also need them in good ratio to the Omega 6 fatty acids. Press here for more on the Benefits of Omega 3 as well as other fats. Extra virgin olive oil is a healthy alternative to saturated fat-rich butter and lard for cooking as well as at the table. Omega 3 rich flax oil is great on salads. Avoid trans fats because they are bad for your heart, brain and other systems.

Get your vegetable oils from quality cold pressed or mechanically distilled sources and, like your nuts and seeds and their butters, store well sealed in a cool, dark location, to avoid your health-giving oils becoming an unhealthy source of oxidized free radicals. Yuck!

HEALTHY DIET TIPS # 4 - Avoid Refined or Added Sugars Fruits and vegetables are often full of naturally forming sugars. However when separated from the fiber and nutrients of the original plant which facilitates digestion, these refined sugars can become empty calories that potentially damage the body.

In excess, refined sugar has the potential to harm the endocrine and immune systems -leading to insulin over-production and inflammation. Scary! Stick with the original fruit or vegetable and not their refined byproducts.

Sucrose, a refined sugar ubiquitous in soda pops and processed foods, is metabolized in the liver and thought to contribute to the growing epidemic of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Avoid.

For more on the effects of food, including refined sugars, on blood sugar and other body systems, see Low Glycemic Index and Metabolic Syndrome Diet. For more on the many aliases for sugar, check a Healthy Balanced Diet.

HEALTHY DIET TIPS # 5 - Don’t drink your Calories – Eat them - When it comes to beverages, stick with pure water with the occasional glass of red wine with your meal.

Beverages, other than water, can be calorie rich. Drinking your fruit or dairy means you can consume substantial calories unknowingly but without triggering the satiety signals that chewing solid food initiates.

While there is a place for fresh raw juices, be cautious of 100% fruit juice; while seemingly healthy because it contains only fruit, the fiber has been removed and, if undiluted, can spike blood sugar leading to insulin overproduction followed by plummeting blood sugar levels.

Sodas and other sweetened drinks do the same. Worse yet, sodas, whether diet or conventional, are full of empty calories and worse often contain artificial sweeteners and colorants that have no business in your body.

Healthy Diet Tips –Alcohol Alert

While moderate red wine intake has been linked to health, possibly because of the anti-oxidant effects of resveratrol, be cautious. Alcohol is calorie rich and it’s easy to over- imbibe. In excess, alcohol taxes the liver, the body’s main detoxification organ – not good for balancing hormones, healthy immune function or proper digestion.

HEALTHY DIET TIPS # 6 - Chew Your Food - Sounds like something your mother might say but it’s true. The science backs her up. Chewing is good for health and weight loss.

Saliva contains the enzyme amylase, needed for carbohydrate digestion. Adequate chewing helps amylase do its job. Gulping food impedes it.

Chewing your food triggers the excretion of stomach acid needed for effective digestion. Stomach acid levels decrease with age, with one study of post-menopausal women finding 40% having low stomach acid levels that could prevent effective nutrient absorption.

Also food is digested best in all stages of the intestinal tract when it arrives in smaller pieces, since more of the food is exposed to the digestive juices.

Healthy Diet Tips -Chew, Chew, Chew

Chewing well means you’ll get the most nutrients possible from what you eat. Also, adequate chewing gives your body time for satiety control signals like the hormone leptin to trigger and register in the brain.

By slowing your rate of consumption, it’s no surprise that studies suggest chewing well decreases your overall food intake – a good thing, if you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight or lose some kilos.

For more on the importance of chewing and stomach acid and consuming enough enzymes to achieve healthy digestion, check out the benefits of digestive enzymes.

HEALTHY DIET TIPS #7 - Watch the Stimulants – Caffeine and theobromine found in coffee, tea and chocolate are stimulants and can be addictive. Their “high” works, among other means, by triggering release of cortisol and other stress hormones, which can give a sense of alertness and energy but also nervousness and anxiety followed by fatigue and exhaustion, if used to excess. Products containing these stimulants should be used in moderation.

The effect of swinging cortisol levels can play havoc with your blood sugar balance and adrenal health generally, making your body less responsive to the insulin and adrenal hormones it produces. The result can leave you low in energy and susceptible to cravings which can lead to binge or unhealthy eating.

For more on the importance of good blood sugar health, check out the benefits of chromium.

HEALTHY DIET TIPS #8 - Make a Healthy Breakfast and Healthy Snacks a Habit – Again more advice from Mom. A healthy breakfast and regular nutritious snacks can help ensure even blood sugar levels through the day and avoid binge eating on junk.

Much of maintaining a healthy weight or losing what you’ve got is keeping your blood sugar steady and avoiding huge glycemic swings that send you to your chocolate stash. Breakfast is called what it is for a reason – it breaks the fast of the night.

Like your car, you need to refuel with something that will keep you running smoothly for the long-haul. A nutritious brekky, containing slow releasing whole grains, low fat dairy, nuts or seeds, is key to ensuring even blood sugar. Press here to read more about the glycemic index and why it’s important for maintaining a healthy weight.

When you snack, keep things simple – meaning unprocessed. Fresh fruit or chopped veggies and humus or yogurt dip fit the bill and make your fresh and raw quota outlined in Healthy Diet Tips #1 easy breazy to meet.

HEALTHY DIET TIPS #9 - Opt for Whole Grains instead of Refined Grains Think of it as a choice between wholesome versus unwholesome. Whole grains include products made with brown rice, brown flour and whole cornmeal instead of their refined counterparts which, from a nutrition and fiber standpoint, are anemic. Don’t bet your health on nutrient depleted foods.

Whole grains contain the entire seed, as opposed to only a portion, with often the most nutritious parts removed. In the case of the wheat kernel this includes the germ and the bran husk. Fortification which is widespread with rice and flour replaces only some of the nutrients removed. For example, our reliance on refined grains is one reason why chromium deficiency, a mineral that’s helpful for blood sugar regulation, is widespread.

Healthy Diet Tips - Think out of the Bread Box

Variety in your grains, as well as food generally, ensures you get the range of nutrients we omnivore humans need to be healthy, wealthy and wise. Think out of the bread box, when it comes to whole grains. Whole grain alternatives to popular wheat and rice are quinoa, rye, spelt, bulgur wheat and barley.

As well as containing important vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that their refined cousins lack, whole grains provide all important fiber that’s useful for many body systems, not just your bowels. Whole grains, because they contain more complex carbohydrates that are metabolized slower than the refined versions, have a lower glycemic load. As mentioned, this promotes healthy blood sugar balance, useful for avoiding cravings and binge eating. (We’ve all been there – great to know why!)

HEALTHY DIET TIPS #10 - Use animal products sparingly and, when you do, make sure they’re from organic, free range, wild or hormone free versions. When it comes to animal products aim for quality versus quantity.

While you don’t need animal products as part of a healthy diet, they can play a nutritious and health sustaining role providing quality protein, minerals and fats. The key is moderation and making sure that your intake of meat and dairy don’t overshadow the starring role that fruit and veg and whole grains ideally have in your diet. See The New Food Pyramid for more on what you should be eating.

When enjoying meat and dairy, make sure it’s organic or pesticide and hormone free. Why? Animals, versus plants, generally have higher chemical loads because old hormones, pesticides and other contaminants become more concentrated the higher up the food chain you travel species-wise. Fat stores, as well as organs like the liver, kidney and brain, are often the repository of these unhealthy residues. It’s the same for us humans where our fat reserves can store some unhealthy end products like old hormones that may increase a person’s susceptibility to certain hormone-related cancers.

Free range or grass fed animals and their products are preferable to those raised or fattened on dry feed. Animals that can forage in the wild or on grass outdoors (which is hopefully pesticide-free), contain a healthier ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in their meat, eggs and dairy than animals fed in the feed lot. Farmed raised fish have a higher pesticide and contaminant load than wild fish, so shop accordingly.

For more on organic food and whether it's worth the cost, press on the benefits of organic food.

Remember that beans, nuts and seeds, as well as their products like nut butters, tofu and tempeh, are quality sources of protein, especiall­­­­­­y when eaten alongside whole grains in the diet.

While that’s the wrap on ten healthy diet tips…. for you….. there’s a bonus!

Let’s call it the Bonus Healthy Diet Tips #11. Don’t forget it, because it’s perhaps the most important healthy diet tip of all, especially in this age of chronic dieting, food phobias and obsession with what goes into our bodies.

…here she goes…

BONUS HEALTHY DIET TIPS #11 – Enjoy your food, whatever you eat. - See your diet and food as the sustaining and life giving force it is. Thank the animals, plants, farmers and farm workers, and cooks and factory workers who made it possible, as well as yourself for taking the time and attention to savor it.

Even if you’re indulging in a little junk, every now and then, savor the flavor, the texture, the sight, the smell and the people you’re sharing it with. Food is one of the great pleasures in life. Make every bite count.

… now I’m really sounding like Mom. Enjoy your next bite.

For some delicious and nutritious recipes to cook up, check out Healthy Food Recipes.

For more reading on Healthy Diet Tips and other health and diet related topics, press on the below links...

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