You often find the best diet benefits come from a few small swaps. There are a few nutrient nasties out there so keep an eye open for them and swap them for better options and you will be well on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
- Sugar – The more sugar you eat the more sugar you crave. The human body cannot tolerate too much sugar which is why we see so many health problems such as diabetes and obesity.
Be aware of the types of sugar you consume and some better alternatives can include natural stevia (a herb sweeter than sugar), raw or unprocessed honey and maple syrup in tiny amounts.
- Refined Salt – Excess sodium has been linked to increased blood pressure resulting in cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack. Our bodies only need approximately 1 to 2 g of sodium per day for good health. However with the high percentage of sodium in bread, meats, poultry, cereals and grain-based products (biscuits & pizza) we consume much more than this.
A better option would be to cook all your food from scratch and add vinegar, spices and herbs instead of salt. Also buy foods with no added salt or sodium.
- Processed Juice – Fruit juices are naturally high in sugar, even those with no added sugar and very easy to over consume.
An alternative option if you are thirsty would be to drink water. If you still want that fruit then eat a piece of fruit. Herbal teas are great as they contain natural pick-me-ups like peppermint and camomile.
- Saturated Fat – Even though good fat is essential to a healthy body, bad fats (saturated fats) have been linked to obesity and other serious health problems. Saturated fats are found in processed foods like chocolate, cakes, pies, biscuits as well as basic foods such as meat, milk and cheese.
You should not eliminate fat from your diet as we need fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A,E,D & K). Foods which are healthy sources of fat include nuts, seeds, fish, lean meats and low-fat dairy foods.
- Breakfast Cereal – Most cereals have the goodness process out and then sugar and salt added to make it palatable. Many of the natural nutrients may have been lost and the balance of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals has been altered.
A healthier option would be to start your day with porridge or natural muesli, this helps reduce the phytic acid that blocks the absorption of calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron.
For good health, choose foods that are nearest to their natural state, rather than highly refined foods.