Sunday 28 June 2015

First Steps to Better Nutrition

The differences between a typical Western diet and a high quality diet is vast. The typical Western diet is characterized by high levels of refined and processed foods, is absent of meaningful levels of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and is also deficient in essential fatty acids and high quality protein sources. The characteristics of the typical Western diet, particularly its high sugar content, give it drug-like properties, and addiction to the refined foods is evidenced in the nutritional literature. Switching to a high quality diet can therefore require a seismic shift in the eating habits of the individual, and this is not alway easy when addiction to particular foods is present. The best way to adopt a high quality diet is therefore to take smaller steps towards healthier eating over time. Some of these step can be surprisingly easy and when added together can cause significant improvements in health with little effort. Creating smaller goals and achieving them one step at a time is therefore a better strategy than making sweeping changes.
For example, the inclusion of green tea to the diet is a very easy step to take. Not only is green tea a healthy foods that shows benefits against cancer and cardiovascular disease, it is also a weight loss food. Evidence supports a role for green tea in weight loss and this in itself provides significant health effects. Also, as green tea is not drunk with sugar, switching to green tea can also benefit health by lowering sugar intake. Another easy step to take toward better health is to take a multivitamin and mineral formula supplement. Although such supplements should never be relied upon to obtain nutrients, they can be a useful adjunct to a healthy diet. For those not currently eating high quality foods, adding a high strength multivitamin and mineral formula to your nutritional intake can help rebalance vitamin and mineral levels and allow the repletion of vitamin essential nutrient stores for certain nutrients. However, minerals such as selenium, zinc, chromium and iron for example may take some time to build up to adequate levels in tissues.
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, but switching from a sugar laden diet to a fruit and vegetable based diet can be difficult. lowering sugar levels gradually while increasing the dietary intake of dried fruit can allow a more gradual adjustment period for those that find the thought of complete abstinence of sugar difficult. Dried fruit also contains the original fibre from the whole fruit and this can increase the fibre content of the diet considerably. At the same time, substitution of traditional sucrose or table sugar for alternative forms of sweeteners can be useful. Molasses and honey are both sweet, but both contain nutrients that are beneficial to the health. While they should not be over consumed, they can provide a useful tool during any transition to a healthier eating plan. Another simple step to better health is to consume more water. Often thirst is mistaken for hunger and drinking more water for some people can be a successful strategy to maintain more control over food intake.

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