Health  

Easy ways to eat for better health

PHOTO: Everyday Health

As a society, we have a very close relationship with sugar and sugary foods. Chances are, sugar is in most of our favourite foods. We use sugar to comfort ourselves when we’re not feeling well, we reward ourselves with sweet treats, and we use sugar-laced cakes, pies, and cookies to celebrate holidays and major life events. Unfortunately, as sweet as it is, sugar is killing us.

We’re consuming more sugar than ever and this is driving the obesity epidemic. The intake of added sugars, such as from table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup has increased dramatically in the last hundred years and correlates closely with the rise of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. In fact, the chronic inflammation caused by sugar is a primary player in every major disease in the body including, but not limited to, heart disease, fatty liver, dementia, osteoarthritis, infertility and even cancer.

Sugar is highly addictive, even more addictive than cocaine! The more we eat sugar, the more we crave it, and the more we are at risk of these diseases. The first step to eating for better health is to break free from the sugar addiction that plagues most people in our society today.

How do we do that?
The first step in quitting any bad habit is getting rid of the temptation. Just like smokers that want to quit smoking would get rid of their cigarettes, if you want to have better health, you need to clean out your kitchen of any sugary treats and sugar-laden foods and snacks. If you don’t see it, you can’t eat it! It’s best to surround yourself and stock your kitchen fridge with nourishing, whole foods.

Now that the kitchen is taken care of, the next thing to do is to examine daily habits. Do you have a tendency to go grocery shopping without a list, and end up coming home with sugary foods and drinks that you don’t need? Maybe you stop in and grab donuts and meat-pie with a bottle of soft drink everyday at lunch? Perhaps you always keep a pint of ice cream in the freezer for nights when your favorite show is on, or you always have candy in your office drawer? Whatever your habits are, make note of them, and consider them triggers. These are habits that lead to unnecessary sugar intake, therefore you have to retrain your mind to avoid them or replace such habits with healthier choices.

What do we then eat?
Clean Lean Protein: Eating lean, organic protein like fish, chicken, pork, lamb, eggs, and some protein powders help to make blood cells; they help build muscle and keep major organs healthy.

Healthy fats: Eating plenty of healthy fats will help to keep you fuller longer, they’ll also play a role in lowering inflammation. Incorporating healthy fats into your diet will help to absorb more vitamins and nutrients while also working to keep cell membranes fluid, cushion organs, and nourish energy reserves.

Carbohydrates : You don’t have to cut carbohydrates entirely, but you do want to cut back as much as possible because carbohydrates break down into sugar. Aim to keep carbohydrates intake below 50g daily. These carbohydrates should be unprocessed and gluten free, examples include bananas, legumes, quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice, tomatoes, oatmeal etc. Foods such as these improve digestion, improve blood sugar control, help you stay fuller for longer, and improve mineral absorption.

Fiber: Majority of people deal with digestive issues such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, slow intestinal motility and this is mainly as a result of the continuous ingestion of ‘bad foods’ such as sugar. Hence, the digestive system stops working properly. Fiber intake will improve your gut, detoxify your organs, increase bowel movement, lower cholesterol, keep you fuller for longer, and improve your blood sugar balance.

When do we eat?
Time-restricted eating is a type of intermittent fasting that limits your food intake to a certain number of hours each day. An example of time-restricted eating would be eating all your food for the day in an 8-hour period, such as from 10 a.m. to 6 pm and this schedule would be repeated everyday. Time-restricted feeding allows you consume fewer calories thereby improving weight loss, heart health and blood sugar balance. Studies have shown that when mice are switched to time-restricted feeding diets from their usual high-fat and unrestricted diet patterns, issues like diabetes, obesity, and liver diseases can be prevented altogether! Therefore, in this same way, improves overall health in humans as well.

We are facing a sugar epidemic and it’s ruining our bodies as well as our lives. If you desire to live longer and stay disease free, you have to break your ties with sugar. These tips would help you break free from sugar addiction and ultimately attain optimal health.

• Disclaimer: This medical information is provided as a resource only. It does not create any patient-physician relationship and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment

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