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Get Healthy: Say Goodbye To These 10 Unhealthy Foods In 2016

Get Healthy: Say Goodbye To These 10 Unhealthy Foods In 2016

Food food food. We love our food. As a culture, we also highly value health. With millions of adults across the world resolving this new year to be healthier, we could all use a look at the biggest food mistakes we make.

Many of these foods can be enjoyed on occasion. While they are known for being unhealthy, reading this list may bring on some cravings. I have provided some healthy alternatives for when we crave these delicious-but-unhealthy foods.

Here are 10 unhealthy foods to give up in the new year:

1. Doughnuts

doughnuts

    First thing in the morning, it is hard to pass up a sugary sweet doughnut when you are ordering your coffee. What most people don’t know about doughnuts is that doughnuts are worse than most unhealthy snacks out there. One doughnut is about 300 calories.  Livestrong.com writes:

    “If you add a doughnut a day to your regular diet and don’t exercise the calories off or cut down on calories elsewhere, you will gain about one extra pound every 10 days.”

    Doughnuts have the potential to do some real damage to your body. It would be in everyone’s best interest to practice moderation when choosing doughnuts.

    Alternatives for your sweet tooth:

    One way to satisfy that sweet craving in the morning is to prepare a delicious bowl of Greek yogurt with some fruit and granola. Your sweet tooth will be satisfied and your body will thank you.

    2. Bagels

    SONY DSC

      Bagels are a conventient and delicious breakfast option, however reaching for a bagel first thing in the morning is a guaranteed way to pack on the pounds. Bagels are empty carbs that will quickly settle on your hips and thighs. Bagels lack the fiber that your body needs to turn it into something useful. Instead, the empty carbohydrates turn to sugar and fat.

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      Alternatives for bagels:

      A healthy breakfast alternative to bagels are English muffins. They are high in fiber and contain considerably less sugar than bagels.

      3. Fast Food Burgers

      burger1

        Fast food burgers are delicious, but commonly believed to be untrustworthy. Your gut instinct was right. According to Men’s Fitness, real meat makes up 2-14% of fast food burgers. Then what are we actually eating? Well, they fill the rest of the burger with fillers such as water, cartilage, and bone. It is also no surprise that these burgers are high in fat content.

        Alternatives for fast food burgers:

        Eat burgers from quality restaurants, places that are trustworthy and commited to making real food.

        4. French Fries

        fries

          They are potatoes, so they are healthy, right? French fries are an American staple that are not even slightly comparable to potatoes in terms of nutrition. Jonathon Bonnet, MD writes that removing the skin of the potato to make french fries is actually shedding the most nutritious part of the potato. Fries clearly lack any nutritional value, but what’s worse is their high fat and calorie content. According to Time magazine,

          “A medium order of fries has 365 calories along with 17 grams of fat, a full 26% of your daily value. Sodium clocks in at 246 mg, or 10% of the upper limit you should eat in a day.”

          It is easy to see why experts recommend staying far away from fast food. A consistent diet with this high fat content will quickly lead to weight gain and possibly obesity, not to mention the myriad of health problems associated with it.

          Alternatives for Fry lovers:

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          There is no replacing this scrumptious treat, but some healthy alternatives are carrot fries or zuccini chips.

          5. Chips

          chips

            Chips are a cheap, savory snack for so many occasions. The downside of this treat is that when chips are part of your daily diet, they have negative health impacts. While eating chips, it is easy to take in more sodium than is healthy, putting people at risk for high blood pressure. Chips are often high in fat, which puts people at risk for high cholesterol. These are all risks associated with frequent potato chip eaters, so there is no need to worry when consumed in moderation. However, chips should not be in your pantry when trying to live a healthy lifestyle.

            Alternatives for savory lovers:

            Baked chips are healthier than regular potato chips. Healthier than that are unsalted pretzels and air-popped popcorn, according to HealthyEating.com.

            6. Bacon

            bacon

              I’m sorry. Someone had to say it. The world has a love affair with bacon, but it is possibly THE worst food we can eat. High in sodium and cholesterol, bacon will slowly destroy you. Let’s let the facts paint the picture. According to WebMD:

              “You probably won’t be surprised to learn that 68% of bacon’s calories come from fat, almost half of which is saturated. Each ounce of bacon contributes 30 milligrams of cholesterol”

              We all know bacon is bad for us. Maybe we didn’t know it is THIS bad. In moderation though, it is soooo worth it.

              Alternatives for bacon lovers:

              Turkey Bacon! It will never be quite as perfect and satisfying as real bacon, but Turkey bacon cooked the right way can satisfy some of those bacon cravings.

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              7. Any Deep Fried Foods

              deep fried

                I probably don’t need to do much convincing with this one. Everyone knows eating delicious fried food is about the worst choice you can make. Fried foods instantly add to calorie and fat intake. Food absorbs fat from oil while it is frying. Making fried foods a consistent part of your diet greatly increases the risk for obesity.

                Alternatives for fried food:

                Opt to bake, grill, or steam your food. Skip everything fried.

                8. Soda

                Soda

                  Drinking soda is one of those habits we form when we are eating out or seeing a movie. Having soda with a meal is an American tradition and in the moment it feels very harmless. In reality, soda is liquid sugar. There is no justifying it. Soda is not part of a healthy meal.

                  Studies have found that drinking soda consistently can cause serious healthy concerns. According to Harvard’s Public Health website, adults who drink one sugary beverage a day have a significantly greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes and are more at risk of having a heart attack than their non soda-drinking peers.

                  Alternatives for soda:

                  In order to keep up a healthy lifestyle, opt for soda water (sugarless) or ice tea next time you are out at a restaurant. These are simple choices that can make a big difference.

                  9. Microwave Popcorn

                  Popcorn

                    Dr. Oz has spoken out about the harmful effects of microwave popcorn. Microwave popcorn has been found to contain health concerning chemicals in the bag. That delicious buttery taste comes from chemicals called diacetyl and PFOA . Diacetyl is what makes the popcorn taste buttery and oh so delicious, while PFOA is the chemical that lines the bag. What Dr. Oz has reported is that these chemicals can cause serious health problems such as cancer and thyroid issues.

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                    Alternatives for Microwave popcorn:

                    Buy some kernals at the store and pop your own popcorn on the stove. It take just a few minutes longer than microwave popcorn, but it is healthier and still tastes delicious.

                    10. Processed Meats

                    meats

                      The meat platter is a convenient and yummy way to bless a work party or family gathering. Processed meats are a common part of our culture. They are found everywhere we turn at the grocery store. The bad news is that processed meats are one of the unhealthier foods you can eat.

                      According to Authority Nutrition, eating processed meat has been linked to a greater risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Why? One of the reasons is that chemical compounds are added to processed meats. One example is sodium nitrate, added for flavor and preservation. However, nitrate in processed meat can turn into N-nitroso compound, a cancer-causing compound, when exposed to high temperatures. It is scary to realize that this fact is not widely known. It is important to know what we are putting in our bodies.

                      Alternatives for processed meats:

                      There are many choices for alternatives, but one suggestion for packed lunches is to roast a turkey at home and cut it into sandwhich-friendly slices.

                      We all have those cravings and every once in a while, it is okay to go for it. But, if we want to live a healther life in 2016, these foods should be the first to go. Commit to choosing healthier alternatives for your favorite junk foods.

                      Image sources: doughnuts, bagels, burger, fries, chips, bacon, onion rings, soda, popcorn, meat

                      Featured photo credit: 김목화 via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on August 12, 2019

                      12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

                      12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

                      Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

                      But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

                      I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

                      Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

                      1. Nuts

                      The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

                      Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

                      Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

                      Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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                      2. Blueberries

                      Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

                      When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

                      3. Tomatoes

                      Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

                      4. Broccoli

                      While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

                      Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

                      Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

                      5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

                      Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

                      The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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                      Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

                      6. Soy

                      Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

                      Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

                      Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

                      7. Dark Chocolate

                      When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

                      Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

                      8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

                      Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

                      B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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                      Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

                      Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

                      To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

                      9. Foods Rich in Zinc

                      Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

                      Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

                      Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

                      10. Gingko Biloba

                      This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

                      It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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                      However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

                      11. Green and Black Tea

                      Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

                      Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

                      Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

                      12. Sage and Rosemary

                      Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

                      Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

                      When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

                      More About Boosting Brain Power

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                      Reference

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