The food you put into your body is the biggest indicator of how fit and healthy you will be. Good nutrition is absolutely vital for optimal health. Whether you are a young, sprightly, active fitness-fanatic, or an elderly, disabled, handicap parking permit user – you can always make improvements to your diet and eat your way to better health. Here are six nutrition tips that will lead you to a fitter body.
Reduce Simple Carbohydrates
Simple carbs are carbs that are broken down by the body rapidly and turned into glucose (a form of sugar). Eating simple carbs is essentially the same as eating sugar. When you eat simple carbs and they are turned to glucose, your blood sugar rises. The “simpler” the carbs (i.e. the easier they are to break down), the quicker your blood sugar rises. Your body produces a hormone called insulin in response to a rise in blood sugar. Insulin signals to the body to stop burning fat for fuel and instead to burn the glucose in your blood for fuel. It also “tells” your body to convert some of the glucose in your blood into fatty acids and to store them as fat. The more activity a person does, the more of the glucose will be used up and not stored as fat, but if a person (such as a handicap parking permit user) has reduced mobility, then they will be storing the majority of the glucose as body fat. This means that the less mobile you are, the less you can “afford” to eat simple carbs.
Frontload Your Water
Getting plenty of water (up to/over three liters daily) is essential. One of the most common nutrition tips is to drink most of your water in the early part of the day. This means that you are sure to get enough water in (as you are less likely to run out of time) and it also means that your body has time to process the water and get rid of waste products early in the day – in turn meaning your sleep will not be interrupted by trips to the bathroom. If you are active, you will need to replenish the water you sweat out while exercising. But even if you have a health condition and are not capable of strenuous exercise, the mere act of getting from your disabled parking space to a building can be a tiring struggle in its own right, so getting enough fluid on board is essential for you also. No matter your current fitness level, drinking plenty of water is sure to lead to improvements in your overall health.
Cut Out Sugar
Not only is sugar the simplest of all the simple carbs (and therefore highly fat-producing), it is also totally devoid of vital nutrients. Most people realize that candy and obviously sweet processed foods such as breakfast cereal (which is, in all relevant senses, also “candy”) contain horrifying quantities of fattening, disease-promoting sugar. But lots of people do not realize that almost all processed foods (even savory foods such as sauces and soups), as well as foods labeled “healthy,” such as fruit juice, are also packed with sugar. Sugar has to be greatly reduced from your diet if you want to lose weight and reduce your risks of getting diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer. This means cutting out candy, most processed food, and weaning yourself off fruit juice. Even fresh, whole fruit contains a lot of fructose, which is a highly fat-inducing form of sugar. And while it is true that fruit also contains tons of vital nutrients, vegetables contain the same nutrients (usually in higher doses) but without the harmful sugar. Sugar is your biggest impediment to effective weight loss. Highly active people sometimes use sugar for a very quick energy boost, but if you are unwell and unable to get around easily, then sugar will always lead to more fat-gain.
Drink Your Greens
Vegetables are packed with vital, health-promoting nutrients. You really can’t eat too many vegetables. With veggies it is a case of “the more the merrier!”. For some people, eating piles of crispy, fresh greens feels like a chore. A way to get around this is to drink your greens. Simply buy yourself a blender and make a fresh-pressed green juice one or more times a day. Cruciferous greens are the best, so plenty of spinach, collard greens, and kale should go into your shakes. Cut up the veggies, put them in a blender with water, blitz, and down it! The blast of rich nutrients that your body will receive will give you instant energy and a feel-good sensation that is hard to match. A few months of daily green juices and you will look (and feel) 10 years younger!
Don’t Skimp on Healthy Fats
Some might think that the words “fat” and “nutrition tips” don’t belong in the same sentence, but you’re mistaken! Healthy fats are vital for the optimal functioning of your body. Ingest good fats in the form of nuts, eggs (including the yolks), avocados, fish, organic meats, healthy oils such as olive oil and coconut oil, and dairy products (if you have no allergic reaction to them).
Improve Your Eating Habits Gradually and Permanently
The final of our nutrition tips is: be kind and gentle with yourself. You are trying to change deeply ingrained eating habits, and this is difficult. Cut yourself some slack. Change a bit at a time. Once one good habit has become second nature (let’s say you are now consistently managing to drink a daily green juice), move onto another. Fad diets don’t work. You are changing your eating habits gradually and permanently, and this is a process of trial, error, and education, so it necessarily takes time. Godspeed!