Top Health Tips: Eat right ➲ Stay well ➲ Live long

Top health tips
The key to healthy eating is to consume a variety of foods, and here are a few tips I’ve assembled over the years that I find helpful:
  • Eat many different foods, mainly veg 
  • Limit fat intake to a third or less of total calories, mostly as oils 
  • Drink water before you eat 
  • Eat slowly 
  • Cut your calories by chewing sugarless gum before a meal – it reduces your appetite 
  • Have a cup of black tea before you walk. You burn fat faster 
  • Make your salads interesting with celery, carrots, broccoli, onions, and other vegetables 
  • Instead of whole juice mix half with water 
  • Don’t pour oil, spray it 
  • Think small portions 
  • Start to earn your calories through ­exercise 

Carbohydrates are your best friend

Irrespective of the nonsense fad for going gluten-free, carbohydrates of the unrefined variety are the body’s perfect fuel – and the dieter’s best friend.

They ‘burn clean’, which means they don’t leave any ‘dirty’ toxic waste substances behind that your body has to work hard at dealing with.

And if the body doesn’t get enough of them, you start to feel miserable and depressed. Deprived of carbohydrate, as in a high protein diet, the body breaks down fat reserves and its own muscle.

Unfortunately, fat and protein don’t burn cleanly. They produce toxic substances called ­ketones and aldehydes that make your breath smell – like pear drops – if levels get too high.

But... there are good carbs and bad carbs

Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Some increase blood sugar more than others and they’re said to have a high glycemic index. That doesn’t mean carbs make you fat, just that high GI foods elevate your insulin levels too much.

High GI foods result in a high, sharp blood sugar peak, which increases the tendency to insulin resistance and diabetes as well as cravings, binges, overeating, and obesity.

Low GI foods result in slow, shallow blood sugar peaks, no rebound insulin peak, no tendency to insulin resistance, good appetite control, little overeating, and normal weight.

Good carbs = unrefined carbs = low GI foods: Like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, wholemeal products, and whole cereals, particularly oats. So good carbs combine the lowest calories with the highest nutrition.

Bad carbs = refined carbs = high GI foods: Any foods containing sugar and all highly refined foods – cakes, biscuits, ice cream, and chocolate as well as alcoholic drinks.

And there are good fats and bad fats

Fats in foods can age you – so avoid the nasty ones. One of the reasons why coronary heart disease is so common in the UK is our unhealthy diet.

Fat intake, especially saturated fat in the form of animal fat, is much too high.

Age-defying fats

Good fats are mainly oils like olive oil. It can protect the heart by ­reducing the amount of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol in the blood, making blood platelets less sticky and so less likely to form blood clots.

This may be the reason why people in Mediterranean countries, who consume large amounts of olive oil, have lower death rates from heart disease.

Almost as good as olive oil are rapeseed oil, peanut oil, nuts and cholesterol-lowering margarine.
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