This time of the year, dieting is in the headlines and the subject of conversation nearly everywhere you go. Some people want to lose weight, anticipating swimsuit season, and some just want to clean up their diet and live healthier. There is a learning curve to dieting as the information about the newest diet and the foods that are good for you seems to be ever changing. There are certain foods prohibited in every fad diet but it seems that there are tried and true guidelines that fit into every diet plan. Before you start searching out health foods stores near you, there are some simple guidelines of foods that you can add to any diet to make a healthier you!
The Greener the Better
Your mom always wanted you to eat your vegetables. And as it turns out, mom was right. In some cases, if you regularly eat these foods, you may reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. A lot of people are missing the vital nutrients that can be found in green vegetables, especially the dark, leafy, greens. Green vegetables contain nutrients like potassium, fiber, folate and vitamins A, C and E. Fiber helps us feel full for longer periods of time and helps regulate our digestive system. It is recommended that everyone aim for 2-3 cups of green vegetables every day. This doesn’t have to be a dull, repetitive routine of salads day in and day out, although there are endless ways to construct a salad! You could toss a handful of spinach into a smoothie for an extra kick of vitamins. You can test out some of the darker greens, by introducing your family to swiss chard or kale! Green veggies are easy to find but best bought organic due to their fragile nature, the fewer pesticides the better. And a store that carries organic produce in Pembroke Pines should have quite a variety for you to choose!
It’s Always Bananas
Bananas are an often overlooked superfood, despite the fact that bananas can be found at any grocery store near you. Bananas are loaded with both soluble and insoluble fiber, which like the fiber in green veggies, helps keep you feeling fuller for longer periods of time and helps regulate your digestive system. There are few foods that compare to the banana when it comes to the amount of nutrition contained in a single food. It is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and B6. These all contribute to the proper functioning of the body and keeping you healthy. Bananas are a good thing to reach for to help a sour stomach, the sugar plus potassium can settle a stomach and help you get back on your feet after a bout with a gastro virus.
Lacto-Fermentation isn’t as Complicated as it Sounds
Lacto-Fermented food is just a fancy word for a lot of foods we commonly see in diets in the US but aren’t necessarily viewed as healthy foods. Lacto-fermented foods are part of the American tradition but are commonly eaten globally in one form or another. The most recognized lacto-fermented foods are sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and some kinds of pickles. Lacto-fermentation is an ancient method of preserving food. All health food stores near you should carry a wide variety of lacto-fermented foods, and better yet, kits so that you can try lacto-fermentation at home! Lacto-fermentation makes foods more readily digestible, thus those who have problems digesting fresh fruits and vegetables still have options. As the foods ferment, they release more vitamins and minerals; they particularly produce B vitamins and vitamin K2. Most importantly, lacto-fermented foods are full of probiotics! A single half-cup serving can contain millions of beneficial probiotics.
The Squirrels are Onto Something
Contrary to the fat-free fads of decades past, nutritionists and physicians are starting to advise that we consume certain healthy fats on a regular basis. Some vitamins cannot be absorbed into our body without fat to help the process, crucial vitamins such as Vitamin D. An easily accessible source of these healthy fats are seeds and tree nuts. For quite some time, seeds and nuts were demonized for their high fat and calorie content, but as it turns out, seeds and tree nuts are good sources of natural unsaturated fats. They contain protein, fiber, and plant stanols, which may help lower cholesterol, and antioxidants including vitamin E. Best of all, to get the benefits of seeds and nuts, you need only include a handful in your diet per day! Any nutrition store near you will have a selection of nuts and seeds, as well as products such as granola bars and cereals so that fitting these healthy foods into your diet is never dull!
It Doesn’t Have to Be a Puzzle
Adding healthy foods to your diet is a good way to begin your path towards your dietary goals, be they weight loss goals or overall health goals. By making sure these four healthy food categories are part of your diet, you are doing a large part of the work! Don’t forget to utilize the organic health stores around Pembroke Pines when you need ideas or advice!