10 No-Brainer Ways to Eat and BE Healthier Today
There is quite a barrage of information about what not to do in order to stay healthy – don’t eat processed food, don’t drink too much alcohol, and don’t watch too much television top the list. But instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t do to improve your health, here are 10 extremely simple ways to become more healthy today, with very little effort:
- 1. Add Avocado to Your Smoothies – If you are already blending up some fruit in a blender for a summer treat, add half an avocado. This wonderful food aids in the absorption of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene by up to 400%, which means you’ll be getting more nutrition out of a delicious snack or meal that you are already consuming.
- 2. Order Salmon Instead of Tuna at Your Favorite Sushi Joint – While tuna is a slightly leaner fish, replacing it with Atlantic salmon will provide you with more vitamin B-12, (it contains 45% of the daily value versus 30% in tuna). Salmon also has 25% of the DV of riboflavin in a serving versus 6% in tuna, 15% of the DV of thiamine versus 2% in tuna and 6% of the DV of folate versus 2% in tuna. More antioxidant power is packed into salmon, and it’s a tasty fish to boot. If you must eat tuna, choose skipjack over bigeye, since it usually contains less mercury. (Yes, fish may be contaminated these days).
- 3. Add Brazil Nuts to a Salad – Brazil nuts are really seeds, not nuts, and just a handful added to your favorite salad or soup can mean adding a whole lot of nutrition. These seeds are full of important trace minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, and manganese, as well as a whopping 767% of your daily value of selenium. Selenium is needed for the proper functioning of the immune system, and it seems to be an important nutrient for fighting inhibiting the progression of HIV to AIDS. Brazil nuts also contain infection-fighting cytokines, which keep all sorts of unwanted diseases at bay, including cancer.
- 4. Instead of Mayo on Your Sandwich, Use Herbs or Hummus – If you’ve never tried a sandwich with fresh cilantro or basil pesto, or with a spread of a nice garlic hummus, then you’re missing out. Not only are these better tasting than plain old mayonnaise, they are also much better for you. A study by researchers at Purdue University revealed that basil “contains a wide range of essential oils rich in phenolic compounds and a wide array of other natural products including polyphenols such as flavonoids and anthocyanins.” Hummus made of chickpeas is full of antioxidants, fiber, and protein.
- 5. Stir Unsweetened Cocoa into Your Morning Coffee – Just a teaspoon of raw, organic cacoa powder scooped into your morning coffee will not only lend it an incredible flavor, but you’ll be adding a super food with an ORAC rating (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) that rivals many other foods. Chocolate also boosts mood, reduces cardiac arrest, enhances glucose metabolism, and improves the functioning of the brain.
- 6. Add a ½ Cup of Whole Grains to Stir Fry – Adding whole grains like quinoa, barley, amaranth, or similar complex carbohydrates to your stir-fry will increase levels of seratonin – an important neurotransmitter that helps to relieve depression. Complex carbs also help you to feel sleepy at bed time, ensuring you get enough rest – another vital component to superior health.
- 7. Add Oranges or Grapefruit to Leafy Green Salads – If you are already eating salads full of kale and spinach, you are certainly being radically healthy, but wouldn’t it be great to get even more oomph from that habit? Vitamin C in citrus fruits help the body turn iron in leafy greens into a source more readily available to our bodies. Many people are iron deficient, and this is one easy way to remedy that problem.
- 8. When Choosing Dessert, try Fresh Fruit, or Angel Food Cake – The benefits of chocolate are not to be overlooked, and many desserts are full of it, but they also contain loads of sugar, or worse, high-fructose corn syrup. If you want to indulge your sweet tooth – try a bowl full of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries to help burn stored fat, boost short term memory, and ease inflammation. Or try Angel Food cake, (which just happens to pair well with strawberries or other fruit) that contains lots of hunger-fighting protein due to its use of eggs. It is also notoriously low in sugar for a dessert.
- 9. Add Vegetables to Every Meal – This is an especially easy trick for those wanting to lose weight and boost overall health. Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association says that every bite of vegetables has 3 to 4 times fewer calories than every other food on your plate. If you eat more vegetables, you will also feel full faster since they contain high levels of fiber. Fiber helps to clear up digestive issues as it passes through the colon, often sweeping away toxins on the way out.
- 10. Sit Down to Eat – Our fast-paced world makes getting a bite to eat a fast endeavor, but when you eat while distressed and distracted, you eat more, which leads to the creation of stress hormones that causes even more cravings. Our bodies require a ‘rest and digest’ peacefulness to truly digest our food properly, and it doesn’t matter what you eat . You’ll benefit more from your food if you slow down and stop eating on the run. Eat dinner at a table with friends and family.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.