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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 5, 2020

          Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

          Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

          Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

          I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

          This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

          What Is Intermittent Fasting?

          As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

          While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

          The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better[1].

          Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

          Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

          The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

          It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

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          My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8PM one evening to 12PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

          You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

          Tips To Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

          1. Drink Plenty of Water

          Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

          2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

          The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

          3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

          One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite[2] like a drink that contains sugar and cause you to overeat.

          4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

          The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

          To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

          5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

          While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

          Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

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          You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

          How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

          Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

          This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way[3].

          Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

          Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH[4].

          The influence intermittent fasting weight loss has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

          Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

          Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type II diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

          One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”[5].

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          This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fa-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

          Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

          Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

          Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

          Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

          How Much Weight Will I Lose?

          The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors. Fasting for 16-20 hours a day can help you safely lose 2-3 pounds of fat every week.

          While losing this much weight every week is great, it’s how it makes it happen that’s really cool. Losing weight with intermittent fasting means that you will never have to count calories or plan and prepare several meals a day.

          Can I Work out While Fasting?

          Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

          The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are 3-4 intense strength training workouts weekly. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts.

          Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

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          Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

          First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen. Studies actually show that even after fasting for 3 days, no muscle is lost.

          Is Fasting Safe?

          As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting style of dieting.

          I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when your ability to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

          Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

          As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to ensure that your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.

          I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branch chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

          For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

          Conclusion

          Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly, safely, and pretty much effortlessly.

          If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with you lifestyle and give it a go.

          More About Intermittent Fasting

          Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

          Reference

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