12 simple nutrition tips for 2016
Make 2016 your year by following these 12 simple tips to improve your health and well-being.
1. Include protein with all meals and snacks (if you need snacks). This will help lower the glycaemic load (GL) of each meal, i.e. how quickly the sugar levels rise in your blood. With protein, digestion is slower (as with fibre), meaning blood sugar rises slower and not as high. The slower and less high the blood sugar rises, the less of a drop (or crash!) resulting in cravings, bad mood, lack of energy you will have in a couple of hours.
2. Eat whole foods over refined/juices. Again for the added fibre, lowering of GL and also for the added nutrients as most of the nutrients lie just under the skin.
3. Buy organic where you can especially for animal products e.g. dairy, meat and eggs. Produce may not necessarily look better but will taste better and are better for you as they have less chemical influence. Xeno oestrogens are rampant in todays world and research suggests are linked via hormone imbalances to formation of tumours, breast cancer and early puberty.
4. Start the day with a glass of preferably warm water with a good squeeze of lemon juice to flush the liver (support detoxification), kick start the metabolism and aid digestion.
5. Eat a rainbow a day of two fruit and at least five servings of vegetables. This will provide a good amount of fibre for blood sugar balance and regular bowel movements and nutrients to:
- Red: reduce cancer risk.
- Green: promote hormone balance.
- Blue/purple: protect cells.
- White: Reduce inflammation.
- Yellow/orange: Strengthen the immune system.
6. Eat oily fish maximum three times a week e.g. wild/Sockeye salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines etc. to provide omega 3 fatty acids for memory and cognitive function (brain is 70% fat!), reduce inflammation - helping with exercise endurance and recovery, "bone" pain and cardiovascular health.
7. Use coconut oil or butter for cooking at high temperatures e.g. frying. Heating vegetable oils to smoking point changes their molecular makeup causing them to be inflammatory to the body. You can use these or olive oil for roasting - best bet is to steam and add olive oil afterwards.
8. Two to three teaspoons of milled flaxseeds per day will help to increase natural oestrogen levels. Phyto oestrogens help with reducing oestrogen levels slowly rather than having them drop and fluctuate wildly which causes strong menopausal symptoms. They are also high in fibre and omega 3 fatty acids.
9. Eight glasses of water or herbal tea a day to enhance detoxification and keep the body hydrated (better skin, concentration and sports performance). Try infused waters too e.g. a couple of slices of lemon and lime or some mint and cucumber.
10. Coffee and tea: Keep to a maximum of three a day of the real stuff i.e. percolated as opposed to instant (gluten), to help with concentration and sports performance. Research also suggests coffee is helping to reduce risk of bowel cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Tea contains L-theanine which helps to keep you calmly focused as opposed to jittery focused.
11. Eat some kind of fermented food every day e.g. one cup of plain live yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut or kimchi to help with gut flora balance. Good gut flora means less chance of bloating, less chance of colds (80% of the immune system lies in the gut) and less chance of depression (70% happy feel good hormone serotonin lies within the gut). Ever notice how down you can feel after a course of antibiotics?
12. If you want or "need" something with such a huge craving - go ahead and eat it! Chocolate for example - there's no place for guilt - we are only human! Just own the moment, enjoy it and move on. Don't make a habit of it but there's no point resisting if you're just going to eat it anyway. So in these cases, satisfaction is better than added calories of eating everything else and then finally the chocolate :)
It's good to keep in mind that:
- Chocolate cravings can be a sign of magnesium insufficiency so try adding more dark leafy greens, avocados, fish and nuts in the diet.
- Refined carb/sugar cravings can be a sign of serotonin and dopamine insufficiency so include more tyrosine (dopamine precursor) rich foods such as almonds, avocados, bananas, dairy products, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and tryptophan (serotonin precursor) rich foods like turkey, chicken, cottage cheese, oats, lentils and eggs in your diet.
- A few cacao nibs will stop a chocolate craving straight away for many people.
- People are less likely to snack on refined foods and chocolate if they are kept out of the house!
Have a great year!