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Let’s be honest. Eating healthy every day can be a challenge. With the fast-paced life rhythm and two-digit number of daily tasks and obligations, eating healthy can quickly turn into “grabbing a bite” in the nearest fast food restaurant during the lunch break.
Many of us are guilty of not having the time to eat properly or being too tired to prepare a healthy meal. After a long day at work, ordering some Chinese or Italian fast food seems like a good idea. Well, think again.
In fact, did you know that Americans actually eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products and oils? If this hasn’t shocked you maybe the following information will: At least one-in-four persons eat some type of fast food each day (source: Dosomething.org).
So, why should you switch to eating healthier?
Because eating junk food has its consequences. To name a few: Your body is not getting enough nutrients; you are slowly but surely gaining weight; and by eating fast food you can get high blood pressure, which can eventually lead to a stroke. These are some serious statements, which will, hopefully, open your eyes.
If the consequences mentioned earlier somehow made you wonder about additional, potential health issues, then it’s time to change your lifestyle. So, what should be your next step? Should you spend more time on meal portions? Should you count your calorie intake or maybe pay attention to the time of the day you are eating? These are all important questions, but none of them matters if you are not eating the kind of food your body can benefit from. That being said, you have to be aware that having a well-balanced diet is the key to a healthy mind and body.
Alas, what should you eat? Well, in short: A lot of vegetables, fruits and meat. We definitely agree with this sentence, but to keep your body in a good physical condition, you need more than a couple of these kinds of food.
Today, we are presenting you three types of food you are not eating but definitely should. As you read through the article, you will notice some of these foods are great options for snacks or meals during the lunch break.
We hope you enjoy reading through it. Now, let’s start, shall we?
Whole grains are usually referred to as “good carbs” or the food you should be eating if you want to lose weight. In fact, according to Health.com, these types of food are ideal, even if you are allergic to gluten or on a gluten-free diet.
So, what are whole grains and why are they called “whole grains?”
Whole grains consist of all three parts of the original kernel-bran, germ, endosperm. In short, they are seeds of cultivated grass. Usually, when “whole grains” is listed as the ingredient in the product, it means the product itself consists of half a serving of whole grain inside. If you are still not sure what we are talking about, maybe barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, oatmeal, and popcorn will help. These are all whole grains. As you can see, whole grains come in different shapes and sizes, from the large ones like popcorn to the smallest one – quinoa.
These are enriched with fibers, vitamins and minerals, so let’s get to know them better.
Are There Any Other Types of Grains?
Yes, grains can come in three types: whole, refined and enriched.
Whole grains, as we previously mentioned, are the ones in which all parts of the seed are retained. In refined grains, the germ and bran have been removed. Refined grains are usually considered the least healthy option and is used to make white flour and white bread. The last type, enriched grains, are the ones that were previously stripped and nutrients, like vitamins or minerals, have been added after processing. It is common for grains to lose some of the nutritional benefits during processing, hence the reason they are artificially added.
Of these three kinds of grains which ones should you be eating? Well, according to Mayo Clinic, at least half the grains in your diet should be whole grains. Nowadays, it is not difficult to include them in the diet, since this food group can be found in several types of bread, pasta, cereal and flour. You can easily find all of the mentioned products in your nearest grocery store.
So, Why Should You Eat Whole Grains?
There are multiple benefits of eating whole grains. To name a few:
● Whole grains contain fiber
● They can lower your cholesterol level
● You should eat them if you are trying to lose weight
● Whole grains can redistribute fat
● You are going to feel full for a longer period
Let’s explain some of the benefits. You have probably heard that these foods high in fiber are great for your body. Why is that? Whole grains can lower your cholesterol, optimize your blood pressure and can even serve as a prevention of colon cancer.
Whole grains don’t affect just the health of your body; they can also contribute to your good looks. Yes, whole grains are the food group you should be reaching out to if you are trying to lose some extra pounds. A study conducted by scientists from Pennsylvania State University confirms our statements. In this study, participants were 50 obese men and women. Half of them were instructed to eat whole grains, while the others had the freedom to eat refined grains. The process lasted for twelve weeks and the results were surprising.
Average weight loss for both of the groups was the same, somewhere between 8 and 11 pounds. However, the group that ate whole grains showed a significant reduction in body fat. So, next time you are at the grocery store, be sure to take a look at the products that contain this food group. They taste delicious, we promise.
What Whole Grains Should You Eat Then?
In a previous paragraph, we named a few whole grains that are present at the market. But in the end, it is up to you and your taste. Fortunately, there are many recipes you can find online on how to prepare them. You can spice them up to bring out the best flavor in each of them. We suggest Allrecipes.com as a reliable site where you can find the ones that work best for you.
However, if you are not sure where to start, check out this Men’s Journal article. It will provide you with concise information on each of the whole grains.
Remember when we mentioned that some of these kinds of food can be eaten as snacks? Well, nuts are the perfect snack. Not only that, they are extremely healthy.
Why should you grab a hand-portion size of nuts every day? According to Organic Facts, in addition to the health benefits similar to whole grains, nuts also have other benefits. They boost the immune system, increase skin health, protect from viral and fungal infections, etc. One of the biggest advantages of eating nuts is that they taste good, and they can be used in many desserts, as well as in everyday cooking and fresh salads.
Now, let’s dig deeper.
What Are Nuts Exactly?
Nuts are one of the oldest known food groups grown on a tree. In fact, Ancient Greeks believed that hazelnuts had the power to treat baldness and coughing. Scientifically, the truth is a bit different. Nuts are actually considered fruits that consist of seeds and shells. In this food group, some nuts do not separate from their shells and seeds, like chestnuts and hazelnuts, then there are ones that do. The ones that do separate from their seeds and shells are classified as nuts, while the others are often called “seeds.” In day-to-day practice, both of these types are called “nuts.”
No matter which nuts we are talking about, Ecellulitis team is nuts for them and you will be too! Continue reading…
Now that you know the basics about their origin let’s get to the health benefits.
Nuts are full of fibers, proteins and fatty acids. They are enriched with Omega-3 acids, antioxidants and minerals. You can find the following nutrients in nuts: Vitamin E, flavonoids, L-arginine, copper, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc and magnesium. These are the benefits, but there is one thing you should know about fatty acids.
Try Not to Go Overboard with Eating Nuts, Otherwise…
Nuts are like a good bag of crunchy chips once you start eating, there is no stopping until the bag is completely empty. We are just kidding, but you should definitely count how many nuts you eat. Why? Because fatty acids are the ones to blame.
We will explain the difference between “good” fats and the “bad” ones a bit down the road in the article, but for now, just know that when certain kinds of food have a lot of fatty acids, it most likely means they are high-calorie foods. Many articles debate how much nuts you should eat per day. The question is: How can a high-calorie snack fight overweight and obesity? Older studies have put almonds to the test and shown that through chewing, a lot of fat portion is left untouched in the almond cell, which leads to less available fats in the digestion tract. However, this is just one side of the story. Now, we have decided to put to rest this question by searching for the ultimate truth.
The truth is quite simple. In one of the studies, the results showed almonds had a much lower calorie content because 90% of the fat was not absorbed. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should eat nuts as much as you want. Be moderate, and we guarantee you are going to feel fuller during the day and be able to resist an unhealthy snack before dinner.
In the world of healthy eating, fat, somehow, got criticized and put in the same basket as carbs, sugar and a variety of processed foods. Now, let’s bring the throne back to its original owner. Yes, we are pro-high-fat foods, and here’s why.
Before we start providing arguments, we have to elaborate on what we mentioned in a previous paragraph about “good” fats and “bad” fats. The term “healthy fats” is used to describe monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Simply said, those fats help to reduce the level of LDL cholesterol, the one that is in charge of clogging arteries. Monounsaturated fats are used in a diet as prevention of cardiovascular diseases, while the polyunsaturated ones you know pretty well they come in the form of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
On the other hand, “bad” fats are the ones that raise the LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL, the good kind of cholesterol. These unhealthy fats are popularly called saturated fats.
Now that we got the scientific explanation out of the way let’s get to the real benefits of high-fat foods.
High-Fat Food Benefits
According to Precision Nutrition, there are several key benefits of this food group: Cardiovascular protection; improving body composition; supporting metabolism and hormone production; and as a way to prevent cancer. As you can see, popular opinion stating fats can only cause weight gain is more than false. We need fats for the proper functioning of our whole body.
So, which fats to eat and how to include them?
Out of all the good, high-fat variety of foods, we picked one food we know you are not eating enough of. Why did we choose this one? Because it can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. We are talking about avocado.
As Eat This, Not That! states, avocado is butter from Mother Nature. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats but the best thing about them is that they are able to raise your level of satiety in no-time. That is why we highly recommend that you incorporate it in the breakfast, as a substitution for butter just slides it on the bread.
In case you were wondering why we chose avocado, the answer is simple. It has antioxidants, Vitamins B5, B6, C, K, E and contains more potassium than bananas. But the benefits of avocado don’t stop there. It is full of fibers, more precisely, 7% of the avocado is fiber. Due to all these benefits, avocados are great as the prevention of metabolic syndrome.
Changing habits and choosing a healthy path is not the easiest thing. It is like practicing for a math test even though you didn’t like doing it, in the end, the effort paid of. You were pleased you invested time in something that made you feel good afterward.
Please remember that the wish to change has to come from within. However, through this entire article, we never once mentioned you had to change your habits immediately and permanently. Start with small changes. Once you see the results in your body, you will be ready to go one step further. It is amazing how your body can signal to you what is working and what is not.
So, when you feel like you can’t do it anymore, just reread this post again, and remind yourself why you chose this path. We wish you good luck on that journey, and hopefully, this article gave you the strength to create new habits. 🙂
What foods have you been eating recently? Is there any food group you wish we would have mentioned? Tell us in the comment section below!
Last article update: 10/16/2018
Image credits: Pixabay.com