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10 So-Called Health Foods You Should Stop Eating

10 So-Called Health Foods You Should Stop Eating

Eat because food is on the table and your last meal might just be that quick granola bar at lunch. You may eat it even though it tastes awful because you can’t hurt grandma’s feelings. You might eat because you’re bored sometimes, or because you’re sad. Sometimes you might feel like you eat because you earned it.

Whatever your reason for eating, a relatively agreed upon reason is that you’re eating to be healthy, or at least doing your best to become healthier. You gave up that super scrumptious looking ice cream with hot fudge and sprinkles for some low-fat or fat-free froyo because you’re trying to have the best health possible. I get it. You know what really isn’t fun? Eating the wrong foods that you deemed to be the health foods, and find out that it’s actually worse for you than before.

We’ve compiled a list of 10 different health foods we’ve sacrificed our other food for. These foods really aren’t doing us any favors, so we’ve provided some yummy and healthier alternatives for you to use instead.

1. Low-fat or Fat-free Yogurt

yogurt is not icecream

    Doesn’t this one just grind your gears? When you see fat-free or low-fat you instantly think, “This has to be better for me because fat is bad.” Wrong-o! For years, we have been trying to end this war on fat; when in reality, it is important to our health! Fat is what you burn when you’re not doing anything, fat gives us energy, and fat is a key part of our diet. When fat is supplemented with harmful chemicals and preservatives and SO MUCH MORE SUGAR, it actually hurts us more than it helps us.

    Healthy Alternatives:

    • Regular, original yogurt.
    • Try just plain yogurt, spicing it up with fruit yourself.
    • Everybody likes parfaits. Am I right?

    2. Fruit Smoothies

    Fresh milk, strawberry, blueberry and banana drinks on wodeen table, assorted protein cocktails with fresh fruits. ; Shutterstock ID 182683421; PO: Brandon for Food
      Fresh milk, strawberry, blueberry and banana drinks on wodeen table, assorted protein cocktails with fresh fruits; Shutterstock ID 182683421; PO: Brandon for Food.

      Jamba Juice, how could you? Fruit smoothies are more fruit juice and super sugared-up yogurt/sherbert than fruit these days. Although they taste heavenly, they really aren’t all that good for you! However, if you want to snag a Jamba on your way to work, make sure to get the smallest size, as this will keep the calories and sugar as low as it can go.

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      Healthy Alternatives:

      • Freshly squeezed juices.
      • Channel your inner chef and make your own smoothie!
      • Use some plain yogurt, milk, and your favorite fruits.
      • You’ll be so much more filled by the time lunch rolls around, cutting your snack time and adding more energy.

      3. Naked Juice

      naked juice

        In case you thought that you could get out of making your own smoothie and turn to the juice above all juices, think again. I’ve definitely snagged a Naked after a workout, thinking the fruit and veggies in my Green Machine were gonna give me power for the whole day! However, Naked packs a whopping 60 grams of sugar per bottle. While this isn’t added sugar, and the fructose within it comes from the fruit, it is still way more than your body should have at one sitting. Juicing your fruits also takes away the fiber within them, leaving you practically starving and itching for that cannoli you saw at Starbucks.

        Healthy Alternatives:

        • Eat the fruit itself, rather than the juice form.
        • Fruit will fill you up, while adding the necessary fiber to your diet.
        • Seriously – just squeeze your own juice or make your own smoothie.

        4. Flavored Milk (Soy, Almond, Coconut)

        flavored milk

          I understand that lactose intolerant people have it hard when morning comes around. All you want is cereal, but all that’s in the fridge is regular milk. However, these alternative milk companies pack in the sugar and preservatives like nobody’s business, otherwise almond milk would have a much shorter shelf life.

          Healthy Alternatives:

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          • You don’t have to cut out soy, almond, or coconut milk completely.
          • Just make sure you buy the “unsweetened” boxes, with 0 grams of sugar!

          5. Sports Drinks

          gatorade

            Are you serious Gatorade? Yes, you’re giving us all the electrolytes and potassium we want (so shoutout to you for that), but did you really need to load on that extra 21 grams of sugar as well? Look’s like I need to hit the treadmill again after that.

            Healthy Alternatives:

            • Try coconut water.
            • Or post workout powders.

            6. Energy Bars

            Granola Bars

              More like Reese’s 2.0, especially if we’re talking about the nutritional value. Energy bars sound like the greatest idea, but these otherwise healthy snacks are riddled with sweeteners, white flour, and high-fructose corn syrup.

              Healthy Alternatives:

              • Just look for bars that have LESS THAN 15 grams of sugar.
              • Also look for as little saturated fat as possible (less than 2 grams).
              • Sprinkle with tons of fiber and protein, and then you’re ready to go!

              7. Reduced- Fat Peanut Butter

              peanut butter

                Peanut butter is absolutely fabulous. Nut butter is filled with healthy fats and proteins that provide enough energy and fullness to help you go about your day until your next meal without feeling famished. However, whenever fat is reduced it just adds oils with the worst types of fats and even more sugar to keep it yummy.

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                Healthy Alternatives:

                • Reduce your protein size of a regular peanut butter.
                • Slather that on some celery and you’re good to go!
                • Snag some natural peanut butter next time, where peanuts are the only ingredient.

                8. Prepared Salads

                salad haterz

                  I’m not going anti-leafy-green-veggies here, but rather anti-everything-else-in-the-salad. The bacon, the deep-fried meats, the cheese, croutons, and creamy dressings are a lot of carbs and calories you really don’t need. The lettuce isn’t enough to make that salad healthy, my friends.

                  Healthy Alternatives:

                  • Just saying “No” is a wonderful principle, especially when it applies to croutons or any of the other no-no’s listed above.
                  • You can do a dressing, but ask for it on the side, so you are in control of how much you’re using.
                  • Tip: Dip your fork into the dressing first and use what’s on it to cover your salad with each super healthy bite.

                  9. Margarine and Butter

                  butter and margarine

                    It’s got trans-fat. It’s completely artificial. It’s got loads of vegetable oil. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give a big welcome to margarine! Margarine came into play when butter was accused of having too much saturated fat. Margarine is supposed to be better for your heart health, but is also loaded with trans-fat out the wazoo. Actually, butter (as unsalted as you can make it) is totally fine. The fight between the two honestly comes down to trans-fat versus saturated fat, Meanwhile, neither option is very good for your body. Honestly, your best shot to eat healthier would be to avoid both margarine and butter if you can.

                    Healthy Alteratives:

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                    • Unsalted butter, whipped.
                    • Whipped, trans-fat free margarine.
                    • Olive oil.
                    • Avacado.
                    • Nut butters.
                    • No matter what, try and limit your intake and monitor your portion sizes.

                    10. Fake Healthy Chips

                    chipsiez

                      Veggie chips are the absolute worst. You gave up your Cheeto Puff’s for some fake health food that is literally just the color of whatever veggies are listed. Sadly, dye is the only difference between both types of chips. It’s still just potato starch, corn flour, and deep-fried lies being serving to us. Pita chips are baked rather than fried, so props to them for that, but the healthiness ends there. Pita chips are made from refined grains and enriched wheat flour, giving them next to none of the nutrients they are trying to peddle at you.

                      Healthy Alternatives:

                      • Pita chips with whole grain flour.
                      • Make your own (like in the picture above).
                      • If your craving that satisfying crunch, try and eat the actual veggies rather than the fried/baked kind, as they retain all their nutrients this way.

                      Conclusion

                      Watch for sneaky sugars and unhealthy fats, and you’ll be on your way to spotting unhealthy health food in no time!

                      Did any of these foods fool you and sneak their way into your pantry? Sound off in the comments below. Also, let us know your own healthy alternatives!

                      Information courtesy of Shakeology.

                      Featured Photo Credit: Yogurt gif, Fruit smoothies, Naked, Flavored milks, Gatorade on reporter gif, Unhealthy granola bars, Peanut butter toast, Parks and Rec salad gif, Butter/Margarine, Homemade healthy chips

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                      Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                      How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                      How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                      Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

                      To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

                      Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

                      1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

                      Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

                      Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

                      To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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                      2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

                      Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

                      If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

                      Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

                      3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

                      Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

                      Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

                      4. Feed Your Brain

                      Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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                      This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

                      Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

                      Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

                      5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

                      According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

                      Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

                      Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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                      6. Write it Down

                      If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

                      It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

                      You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

                      7. Listen to Music

                      Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

                      8. Visual Concepts

                      In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

                      Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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                      Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

                      9. Teach Someone Else

                      Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

                      Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

                      10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

                      Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

                      So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

                      Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

                      More About Boosting Memory

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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