Trying to put into words the rate at which the nation has been swept by a health craze over the past several years is an all-but-impossible task. Low-fat, low-sodium “health” foods line entire shelves in grocery stores, and consumers can find a healthy alternative to just about anything they are looking for. On the whole, this trend has been positive, resulting in a more health-conscious society. Producers and food exporters, however, have capitalized on this movement as an opportunity to boost their market share. As a result, consumers can no longer believe that a food product is healthy simply because its label says it is. Five cases in which there seems to be tangible proof that dietary changes can promote better overall health include:
According to renowned chef Cheryl Forberg, quinoa is a “powerhouse of nutrition.” This supergrain, which has been a mainstay of the diet of Andean societies in present-day Peru and Colombia for millenia, is rightfully earning its place as a grain that can be eaten at every meal with no adverse effects. Fibrous and iron-rich, quinoa is a complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids. It is an ideal substitute for rice, pasta, and other common grains, as well as a great addition to just about any soup or salad. Quinoa is versatile, absorbing flavors from other foodstuffs to mesh well with whatever dish it is a part of. If you find after doing some experimenting that quinoa is not the grain for you, then try to incorporate more bulgur wheat, couscous, and other whole grains into your diet in place of pasta and white rice.
Sure, nuts are packed with protein. But don’t they also have a lot of fat and calories? The answer to this question is “yes,” but it’s a deceptive yes. The fat in nuts is considered to be good fat and, when consumed in moderation, nuts can actually aid dieters with weight loss. In addition to having one of the densest protein concentrations, nuts contain many essential vitamins, can lower LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels, and promote brain health. If you love nuts, don’t be shy about incorporating them into your diet. If you are not crazy about nuts but have no allergies, see if you can incorporate them into salads and other dishes in which their flavor may not taste so strong. Almonds, walnuts, and cashews are three common nuts that are especially healthy.
Eat Less Meat
While vegetarianism has been on the rise for several years, we hardly live in a meat-free society. It’s still considered “cool” to eat 12 spicy chicken wings in 6 minutes or throw back ten burgers in one sitting without getting sick. Okay, maybe not everyone thinks these meat-eating contests are cool, but you get the idea: not a whole lot is being done to promote the healthy consumption of meat. Through research and example, nutrition experts and health-conscious chefs are trying to promote a new trend by preparing dishes that most people think of as meat-intensive with smaller portions of high-quality meat. Meat lovers, take note: you don’t have to go vegetarian, but the environment and your health can both benefit from even a moderate reduction in your meat intake. A great tip for doing so is to budget the same dollar amount that you spend on meat now, but to buy meat of a higher grade. Instead of cutting meat out of your diet, focus on eating smaller servings of lean, free-range animal meat.
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, aids with digestion, is a metabolism booster, promotes heart and lung health, and inhibits the growth of some cancer cells. The simplest way to get your daily dose of capsaicin is to sprinkle a dash of cayenne pepper on any savory dish you eat. If you aren’t a fan of hot spice, there are capsaicin supplements you can take. Alternatively, you can focus your efforts on other herbs and spices that can provide you with the same benefits. Ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and other spices have recently been hailed as “smart” spices for their anti-inflammatory, energy-boosting, cancer-fighting properties. Onions and garlic, two members of the allium genus that have been mainstays in the American kitchen for centuries and are perhaps best known for inducing bad breath, also offer an array of health benefits.
An Apple a Day is Still the Best Way…
…to keep the doctor away. Embrace new health trends that appeal to you, but don’t forget that most old wives’ tales exist for a reason. Apples are rich in several essential viatmins and antioxidants, and eating one a day is sure to reduce the likelihood that you will be develop cancer or heart disease. There has been a lot of buzz about superfruits recently, and most nutrition experts agree that berries, figs, kiwis, pomegranates, and passion fruit have several potential health benefits. The long-revered food pyramid has been replaced by a plate that contains more fruits and vegetables than foods from any other group, and we experts suggest that we should rearrange our dinner plates accordingly. Some reputable dietitians even claim that individuals can eat fresh fruits and vegetables to their heart’s content without having to worry about weight gain, regardless of portion size.
Incorporating these healthy eating tips into your day-to-day diet can help you look and feel better. Adopt these practices, exercise portion control, and try to maintain and active lifestyle as part of a comprehensive strategy for improving the quality of your life. Do this, and the mantra Live Life + Love Life will soon feel like an appropriate motto for your life. At AMLI Residential, we seek to make living a healthy lifestyle as easy as possible for our apartment dwellers. Well-equipped kitchens and state-of-the-art fitness facilities are two ways in which we demonstrate this.