Tis the season for resolutions. More often than not New Year's Resolutions involve either weight loss or health related goals. To achieve either of these, diet is of the utmost importance. There are foods that will enhance health and those that will sabotage it. Here are some foods that are proven to boost the immune system, speed up the metabolism, or provide some other much needed benefits to the body.
Since the dawn of nutritional awareness and the desire for weight loss and improved health, drinking more water has been encouraged. Water flushes toxins and assists in the transportation of vital nutrients to cells; basically, it helps the body run more efficiently and effectively, which promotes good health and better function. For many years, 8 to 10, 8 ounce glasses of water daily has been advised, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, they report that about 9 glasses of water for the average female and 13 for the average male. Remember, vigorous exercise or anything that increases sweating also increases the required amount of water. For those who currently drink little water, start slow and gradually build up aiming for at least 8 glasses a day. This will improve overall health and aid in the body's ability to release toxins and burn fat , which leads to weight loss.
Stevia is a natural, plant based sweetener that provides intense sweetness with no calories. It is also reported to not make the body crave sweets like sugar and artificial sweeteners do. When purchasing Stevia, the liquid or green powder form is the healthiest since the white powder form has been highly processed and mixed with other ingredients such as maltodextrin, a starch-based filler and erythitol, a sugar alcohol, which have a profound impact on blood sugar and therefore are not effective health or weight management tools.
These tiny little powerhouses boast tons of nutrition including high fiber, omega 3,6 and 9, and protein. They are so full of antioxidants that they are shelf stable for about 2 years. They have been used for centuries to boost energy and stamina. They are a great addition to any diet and all of their benefits promote health and weight loss.
Raw almonds are a great source of fiber and protein, which makes them a great satiating snack. While they are higher in fat and calories, they are full of healthy fat that is needed in the diet. If eaten properly, one serving is one ounce-about 20 almonds, they promote health and weight loss. Try pairing a serving with a small apple for a great mid-morning or mid-day snack.
They are good for you. They are bad for you. This has been the conflicting statements about eggs for years. So which is it? Well, they are good for you in moderation. The high protein content make these little guys the perfect breakfast or snack option for stabilizing blood sugar and causing longer lasting fullness. The other nutrients they contain such as Choline and Lutein, which promote brain and eye health respectively are just an added bonus.
An apple a day...they say. Apples are a good source of fiber and many phytonutrients that make this a great food for health and weight loss. Eating an apple leaves a feeling of fullness that studies have shown to reduce overall food intake. Choose a small or medium one for the optimal benefits and to keep sugar intake down.
Don't say yuck just yet. Any kind of greens such as kale, spinach, collard, beet greens, etc. pack such a low calorie, high nutritional punch that they help to increase the body's fat burning potential. Greens are packed with vitamin K, which had been known to have a variety of health benefits including preventing diabetes. The fiber and protein make greens practically a perfect food for increasing fullness and burning fat. Not a fan of cooked greens? Try swapping uncooked baby spinach for regular lettuce, the taste is similar but the nutritional benefit is far above.
Most of these foods are available at your local grocery stores. For those that are not and for organic versions, try your local health food stores. In Columbia, Clovers Natural Market and Natural Grocers are great options for purchasing these and a variety of healthy foods.
While there are many foods out there that will boost health and promote weight loss, these are a great start and will produce noticeable results.Start with one small change at a time for lasting improvements. Starting with more water is a great idea, where you go from there is up to you. Just remember, slow and steady wins the health race. Enjoy.