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10 Common Foods in Your Diet that Are Making You Healthy

10 Common Foods in Your Diet that Are Making You Healthy

We’ve all heard the nutritional consultants, dietitians and food gurus who reprimand us about what not to eat – giving us warnings and statistics about the bad consequences of poor dietary choices. However, there are some common foods we eat every day that studies show provide great health benefits. While to the untrained eye our food is just, well…food, below I’ve listed 10 common foods found in your diet that are actually making you healthy.

1. Coffee

The caffeine in found in coffee can help aid physical performance, fat loss and mental alertness. However, what many people don’t know, is that coffee contains essential nutrients for human health, as well as antioxidants that have been shown to prevent certain types of cancer and disease.

It’s been recommended to drink five cups of coffee daily to receive these benefits. Anything more than five could be counterproductive, as too much caffeine has been shown to increase levels of anxiety and stress.

By choosing a quality brand, and perhaps leaving out the sugar, you could be receiving more than a pick-me-up for the morning – you’ll also receive a range of benefits that will aid your health down the line.

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2. Chocolate 

Normally it’s dark chocolate that gets a lot of attention for its antioxidants and health benefits. However, studies show that eating regular chocolate can bring us some good too. Chocolate releases the chemical serotonin in the brain, making us feel happy and also improving our stress levels.

Whilst dark chocolate seems to be a more sensible choice than your average chocolate brand, as long as you have a balanced diet in check then having a bit of chocolate from time to time, no matter the variety, is actually a good thing!

3. Peanut Butter

peanut-butter

    Peanut butter is a great source of vitamin E, which is good for the skin and helps reduce damage from high cholesterol. Peanut butter has also shown to be a great food supplement for women during and after pregnancy, as vitamin E is very important during the early stages of life.

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    Of course, choosing an organic brand of peanut butter is ideal to get the most benefits, as cheap supermarket brands contain high amounts of sugar, salt and vegetable oil. So if you – like many others – suffer with a mild peanut butter addiction, studies show it’s not all that bad.

    4. Eggs

    Eggs have been labeled as a superfood in recent years, as they contain essential vitamins, minerals, and protein and are a source of good fats for the body. Eggs have also become a staple food in some of the best fat-loss diets around.

    Having eggs in our diets is by no means a bad thing. Eggs got a bad reputation in the past because of high cholesterol concerns; however, further research has shown this to be a fallacy and that we can enjoy eggs as part of a healthy diet.

    5. Red Wine

    Red wine is becoming widely known for its various health benefits. This is chiefly because of the antioxidants it contains, which have been shown to prevent certain types of cancers and to increase longevity. In addition, red wine is a preferable choice for dieters because of its low sugar content. And whilst not wanting to encourage you to drink more alcohol, the studies on red wine are still very promising – you could be better off drinking one glass a day than none at all.

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    6. Curry

    Turmeric is a principal spice ingredient in most curries, and it’s responsible for a range of health benefits. Some of these benefits include the reduction of swelling and pain associated with the inflammation of the joints. Curries that contain chili, ginger and black pepper also aid a healthy metabolism, not to mention helping the immune system.

    7. Tomato Sauce

    tomato-sauce

      If you enjoy Italian food, make sure your pastas have a tomato-based sauce. Tomato paste, which is the main ingredient of common pasta sauces, contains vitamin B5, which supports our adrenal glands and improves our response to stress. One tablespoon of tomato paste contains just 13 calories, so not only is it good for our health, it’s also a wise choice for dieters looking to shed some pounds.

      8. Milk

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      dairy-milk

        While many of us are aware that milk has some health benefits, particularly its calcium levels and fat-soluble vitamins, one of the most interesting facts about milk is that it contributes to your hydration levels. Those of us who neglect drinking water but have time for a glass milk will find that milk is in fact 90% water! So if you’re not keen on eight glasses of water a day, studies show that substituting some of those for milk can be just as beneficial.

        9. Beef Burgers

        Believe it or not, a beef burger by itself is not all that bad; beef provides nutrients such as iron, zinc and B vitamins. Whilst a burger and fries from your standard fast food joint may not be the best way to go about health, creating your own burger at home and choosing a wholemeal bun is actually a rewarding meal in terms of good health and nutrition.

        10. Cereal

        cereal-image

          Most cereals – including high-sugar brands – contain folic acid, which is essential for our bodies’ cell replication and prevents cell mutation and cancers. Of course, choosing low-sugar cereals is advocated, but as with any balanced diet, if you weaken and indulge in a childhood favorite every once in a while, it might not be so bad after all.

          Final Note

          There are a lot of foods we commonly eat that offer a range of health benefits. And even some of the most energy-dense foods can still have their potential health properties. The real key is to find a balance in our lives and enjoy the food we eat, and if you want to lose some excess pounds, just cut back a little bit and increase your exercise level. You may just find the foods you are eating now are offering more than you realized.

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          Last Updated on October 16, 2018

          The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

          The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

          It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

          If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

          One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

          Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

          In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

          Why you can’t sleep through the night

          The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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          Stress

          If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

          Exposure to blue light before sleep time

          We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

          While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

          Eating close to bedtime

          Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

          Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

          Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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          Medical conditions

          In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

          The vicious sleep cycle

          The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

          Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

          You get a bad night’s sleep
          –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
          –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
          –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

            You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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            How to sleep better (throughout the night)

            To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

            1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

            What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

            Here are a few suggestions:

            • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
            • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
            • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
            • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
            • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

            2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

            What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

            • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
            • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
            • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
            • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

            3. Adjust your sleep temperature

            Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

            Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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            Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

            Sleep better form now on

            Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

            I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

            As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

            Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

            Reference

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