I have been looking forward to this post. I love food! I love knowing what food can do for the body…that tenuous relationship between food and health. Let me preface this by saying there is no one-size-fits-all diet. BUT there are certainly things we can all do to make a positive impact on our well-being. Because really..who wants heart disease, cancer, type-2 diabetes, autoimmune disorders, arthritis and alzheimer’s? No one. I have exciting news for you…are you ready?
You are in control of your health.
We each have the ability to decide every day if what we are doing invests in our wellness, our health….OR if it subsidizes our illness. Ask yourself, and be honest, do the little choices you make on a day-to-day basis support your goals to have a healthy life or are they adding up to really do damage to your body?
I’m going to start with a few basic tips that can be easily implemented and can quickly become a new habit for you.
1. Drink water
I know this may sound basic, too easy, but staying hydrated is HUGE for your body. Every cellular reaction that happens, everything your body needs to function at an optimal level requires water. How much? Take the amount you weigh in pounds and divide by 2. That is the number of ounces you should drink per day at a bare minimum. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds divided by 2 = 75 ounces of water per day. Now, if you are overweight, have any kind of illness, or drink coffee, tea, soda or alcohol- you need to drink more. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel and look after staying well-hydrated.
2. Eat More Plants
The amount of evidence is overwhelming on the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. Really it’s a post all by itself. But to keep it simple-the USDA now recommends that half of your plate-whenever you eat-be fruits/veggies. That’s easier for all of us I think, than to sit around and count servings. Every time we eat-let half of what goes in our mouths be antioxidant-rich, immune boosting, disease-preventing, anti-aging fruits and vegetables. And for a bigger challenge-try and eat the rainbow colors everyday. For recipes, tips and support you can check out The Color Code, The Engine 2 Diet, Forks Over Knives and Foods that Heal.
Keep in mind, it’s not about one superfood over another, but a total sum of the variety you are getting in everyday. Different color fruits and veggies do different things in the body. You need them all. Start with the ones you like and try a new one each week. Buy organic as much as possible!
3. Whole is best
Eat foods that are in their whole state, rather than extracted and highly processed. For the greatest benefit, you’ll want to choose foods that are edible in their most natural state. Raw fruits, raw or steamed veggies, whole grains rather than refined, juices made from freshly juiced/blended fruits and veggies-not the bottled pasteurized kind on the shelf.
The last point I want to make is opt for foods that are as close to being vine-ripened as possible. The reason for this is that the majority of the nutrients found in fruits in vegetables do not appear until the last 2 weeks of ripening. Most of our store-bought produce is picked very green in order to maintain a longer shelf life. And so, is devoid of as many nutrients. One tip I like to offer is that frozen produce is a great option. It is picked when ripe and then immediately frozen. So, these items are great for smoothies, soups, sides, salads, etc. Avoid steaming your veggies in the microwave-it kills the nutrients. (more on that another time).
I hope you have found some helpful things you can do to add more of the best kinds of foods into your life to look and feel your best, all the while preventing life-altering diseases.