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Health Solutions Through Diet
A healthy body and mind are necessary to enjoy a high quality of life. You do not need to do any scientific research to conclude healthy people are happier and feel better about themselves then their less healthy counterparts. In order to reap the rewards of good health, some turn to rigorous exercise routines while others focus on adheringto the diet plan they feel gets them the most desirable results.
When it comes to dieting properly and exercising regularly it is common among those who are health conscious to excel at one and slack on the other, however both are a vital ingredient to living a healthy and happy life. If you are vigorously exercising but failing to watch what your body intakes, or super strict on your diet but failing to increase your bodies energy expenditure then you are setting your self up for frustration.
The best approach is to gradually adjust both habits at the same time, this way you can avoid the aforementioned pitfall that so many others have fallen into.
If you are already in that position, no worries! I was in the same place, I loved working out but also loved eating whatever I wanted. Make today the day that you take the first steps toward correcting this imbalance. If you keep focused and maintain discipline, you will get to where you want to be in no time!
For those of you (like me) who's Achilles heel is food, below are some ideas that you can begin incorporating into your diet to get back on track.
Fruits & Vegetables
No healthy diet plan can be completed without the addition of fruits and vegetables. Fruits are rich with proteins and vitamins that are essential for the function of the human body. As you know protein is essential for the building of muscles and tissues torn while working out. It is recommended to eat at least five different varieties of fruits or vegetables every day.
Here are some of the best fruits you can turn to when adhering to a healthy diet plan:
1) Bananas: Because they are rich in potassium and carbohydrates these are a go to for a lot of athletes. Potassium is lost when we sweat during exercising and bananas are one of the easiest and most cost-effective way to replenish this in the body.
2) Oranges:Although oranges are less dense, the amount of water they contain make them a highly effective pre and post work out snack. Oranges are also full of Vitamin C which helps reduce inflammation and assists in the absorption of iron from plants that are eaten.
3) Apples:Research has shown that the Polyphemus and flavonoids found in apples can help regulate blood sugar and prevent blood sugar spikes (1). With twenty grams of carbohydrates per serving and the fact they are available all year around, apples are a great addition to your diet.
4) Strawberries:Not only are strawberries delicious, they are packed with Vitamin C which we know helps with inflammation as well as bolsters the immune system. One cup of strawberries can equal out to about eleven grams in carbs which makes it a perfect snack to boost energy.
As for vegetables, here are some to add to your healthy diet plan that come highly recommended:
1) Beets / Beet Greens: Beets are an amazing source of vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese, they are also low in fat and cholesterol. It has been connected with improved exercise performance because it increases the muscles ability to take in oxygen.(2) In addition to the benefits to endurance that come with including beets to your healthy diet plan, ff you are one of the many people who suffer from hypertension, according to this study, a glass of beet juice a day may help lower blood pressure significantly.
2) Swiss Chard: Swiss Chard (although not the tastiest in my opinion) is an excellent source of Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin K. It is usually included in the Mediterranean Diet and has been associated with improved blood circulation, stronger bones and a healthy heart.(3) For great ideas on how to prepare Swiss Chard I suggest you check out this article.
3) Asparagus: If you don't mind the pungent side effect, Asparagus is a good source of Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Dietary Fiber and Folic Acid. The high amount of fiber received from a cup of Asparagus make it an ideal food if you are looking to lose weight. It also contains the the antioxidant glutathione which can be helpful in reducing inflammation in the muscles and lungs.(4)
4) Sweet Potatoes: My personal favorite, if you look at any healthy diet plan you are more than likely to find the Sweet Potato and there is a good reason for that. The Sweet Potato is high in both fiber and carbs and is one of the cleanest sources of fuel your body can consume. A lot of bodybuilders include Sweet Potatoes into their diet plan not just for the aforementioned boons but also due to the fact Sweet Potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A which helps synthesize protein. (5)
Whole Grain Foods
Try to eat whole grain food items like bread and cereals instead of refined quality. Whole grain foods contain high levels of fiber which is great for increasing energy and staying regular, as well as Vitamin B which helps the body release energy from proteins, carbohydrates and fats. (6)
If possible stay away from "refined" wheat, despite the sound of the name these grains have actually undergone a process that strips a lot of the bran and germ to increase the shelf life. Unfortunately, this also strips away most of the fiber and nutrients turning it into mostly empty calories. (7)
Here are a list of some of my favorite whole wheat Foods:
2)Whole Wheat Bread: Similar to rice, whole wheat bread is an excellent source of fiber due to the fact that the grain kernel remains completely intact.
3)Oatmeal: If you are in a rush in the morning, Oatmeal is a great choice. It's quick to make, quick to eat, and provides you with a natural energy boost thanks to its high carbohydrate and fiber content.
4) Quinoa: This ancient grain is one of the highest sources of proteins you can find from a plant based food and is recognized world wide as a great addition to any health diet plan. If you haven't already, get this super food into your life now! If you would like to get into further detail, this article does an excellent job at explaining the many benefits of Quinoa.
Get A Little Fishy
If you feel like some meat to compliment the fruits and vegetables you have incorporated into your diet plan, reach for a good clean fish rather than a piece of red meat. It is recommended to eat at least two portions of fish every week. Try to eat more fish like salmon, trout, sardines, cod, and tuna. Avoid smoked and canned fish as they are high in salt and high salt percentage can ruin your healthy diet.
Some of the healthiest fish that can be incorporated into a healthy diet plan are:
Crab: Crab falls under the shell-fish category; not only is it DELICIOUS and easy to cook but it is chalk full of Protein, Vitamin B 12 and Vitamin C. Like most foods, it is best to stick to the fresh version as canned meat can have excess sodium which is not desirable.
Scallops: Scallops come in all shapes and sizes and they are absolutely delicious. Similar to crab, they are easy to cook and are high in proteins and low on toxins. Scallops can be eaten two to three times daily and are great on their own or as a side.
Sardines: The larger the fish, the more likely it is to contain a higher mercury content due to the fact it feeds off other fish who also contain mercury. Sardines being one of the smallest fish naturally contain some of the lowest amounts of mercury and have essential omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin D and several B-vitamins. Because most sardines are out of a can, sodium levels can be an issue, so it is best to not go over board on these if you are trying to watch your sodium levels.
Trout: If you are going to eat Trout, make sure it is fresh water caught as that is the best quality. Trout can be consumed bi-weekly and is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids which is good for the heart. One of the most popular Trout is the rainbow trout, it has been deemed as one of the best options in regards to fish that can be included in a healthy diet plan.
Learn To Roast Rather Than Fry
Cooking methods are very important in determining the significance of your food, by frying food you can sometimes produce potentially toxic compounds like hydrocarbons and glycation in the pan which as a result can make the food unhealthy.
Research has shown that certain aldehydes found in food are released when they are raised to a certain temperate level which usually occurs when frying. These aldehydes have been linked with some neurodegenerative diseases and some types of cancer. (9)
Cooking methods like baking or roasting, although more time consuming, are relatively safer ways to prepare food for yourself and your loved ones.