Fuel your body the right way.
If you own a vehicle, you likely know that standard care and maintenance includes using the right kind of gasoline and scheduling regular oil changes. This helps to keep the engine in tip-top shape and can improve gas mileage. Just like a car, you can keep your body in form with regular maintenance and good fuel. Who wouldn’t benefit from a simple dietary tune-up from time to time?
If you’ve been feeling a little sluggish lately, you might want to try a system cleanse. Lots of food choices can help reduce toxins in your system, refresh your body and improve your overall well-being. Here are some tasty and healthy ideas.
The more colour, the better
Fresh and colourful fruits and veggies contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals and fibre, not to mention antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that provide our bodies with many health benefits. These foods can help lower the risk of many chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Go ahead and eat the rainbow!
Fermentation is a great way to preserve food, and it’s also a super way to boost gut health. Foods that contain healthy bacteria increase the number of probiotics in your stomach, which improves digestion and nutrient absorption. Yogourt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, pickles, kimchi and kombucha are well known to be effective in this dietary area.
Our bodies need lots of water. In addition to keeping us hydrated, drinking water keeps our cells healthy, normalizes blood pressure, aids in digestion, flushes out toxins, regulates body temperature, cushions joints and helps to control appetite. While each of us has different needs, a good rule of thumb is to aim to drink four to six glasses of water a day – more if it’s hot out or you are exercising. Add lemon, frozen berries or mint to put some zip in your sip.
While many people focus on cutting out fats completely, healthy fats are essential to cell health and nutrient absorption. Healthy fats can keep you feeling fuller for longer and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Foods with healthy fats are also high in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Look for seeds and nuts, olives and olive oil, fatty fish such as salmon, avocados, edamame, eggs and dark chocolate (yes, even chocolate can be healthy sometimes).
We are all exposed to toxins in everyday life. By eating foods that help remove toxins from our cells and flush them from our system, we can work to reverse or halt potential damage. Here are some detoxifying superfoods:
- Leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, chard and arugula
- Broccoli sprouts, beets and blueberries
- Lemons, limes and other citrus fruits
- Sea vegetables, such as chlorella, spirulina, dulse and kelp
- Garlic and ginger
- Green tea
Take a break from less healthy choices
While it’s okay to indulge once in a while, these foods aren’t all that healthy and should be left in the grocery aisle as you cleanse your system.
Processed food: The less food you eat that comes from a box or a takeout window, the better. Stick to natural foods that don’t include additives, preservatives, dyes, hidden sodium, sugar and fat.
Caffeine: Sometimes it’s good to take a break from caffeine. Cutting caffeine for even a week can help to improve sleep, reduce dependency and actually increase energy. Consider replacing coffee and black tea with herbal tea.
Sugar: The sweet stuff is everywhere. Used as a preservative in many processed foods, it can be called by many different names, such as corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose and sucrose. And numerous studies have confirmed the addictive characteristics of sugary foods. So, skip sweets, limit processed food and choose naturally sweet foods such as fruit.
Processed grains: These include white bread, white pasta and white rice. Many people feel better when they reduce their intake of processed grains. Consider replacing them with whole grain versions, such as 100 per cent whole wheat bread, 100 per cent whole grain pasta, quinoa or brown rice.
Developing good habits, avoiding junk food and choosing nutritious, beneficial foods can go a long way towards improving your health. If there’s something that you tend to crave or overindulge in, it may be a sign that you need to skip it for a while. Like any change in routine, eating more healthily can be challenging at first, but you might discover it’s well worth the effort when you feel the difference a better diet makes.