Have you noticed that your stomach is constantly upset? Facing a bit of frustration with stubborn belly fat? Looking to start your morning with a breakfast that doesn’t leave you feeling bloated? The answer most certainly dwells within your diet. Finding the perfect balance between what your body craves and what your body needs can be tricky, but getting informed is the first step to a healthier you. Keep reading for four things you may be surprised to learn about your health and dieting:
- The Key(s) to Better Digestion
When your digestive system isn’t functioning optimally, your whole body can be thrown off balance. You’re probably already roughly aware of how fiber affects your digestive system, but are you versed in the finer ins and outs of just which fibers you should be focusing on? In order to maintain a healthy gut, you need to locate the balance been soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fibers slow down the digestive process, thusly keeping you feeling full for longer. Examples of soluble fibers include beans, nuts, oats, lentils, sweet potatoes, and avocados. Insoluble fiber, meanwhile, helps to provide bulk and assists your intestines in moving waste material along. Examples of insoluble fibers include whole grains, lettuce, onions, and bell peppers. Besides helping out with your bowel movements, balancing your fiber intake properly will help to curb pesky cravings.
Aside from fiber intake, magnesium intake also plays a major role in the health of your digestive system. Foods rich in magnesium such as spinach, figs, bananas, legumes, and salmon help to draw water into the gut and subsequently improve stool consistency. Take care of your gut, and it will take care of you!
- Quench Your Thirst
Water is obviously a crucial tenant of survival for the human body, but do you know just how pertinent it is to maintaining a healthy weight? Oftentimes, when you think that you are hungry, it’s actually just your body telling you that you’re dehydrating! Try drinking some water and waiting fifteen minutes to see if you are still hungry. If you are, then you’re actually hungry; if you’re not, you were just dehydrated! Moreover, water helps to flush toxins from the body and is essential for regulating metabolism. Infuse your water with things like lemon or mint for an extra invigorating boost.
- Cut the Dairy
There are many good reasons to cut out or reduce your dairy intake that aren’t exclusive to being vegan or lactose intolerant. Cutting out dairy can also cut out bloat, lethargy, and acne, plus lower your risk of diabetes.
But what kind of dairy products should you turn to? From coconut to soy to almond and oat, plant-based alternatives each have different benefits as well as subtly different flavors which will appeal to different palettes and nutritional needs. Besides cutting out harmful growth hormones typically found in dairy products, by selecting any plant-based alternative, you will incorporate a common helpful component into your diet: seaweed based carrageenan. This naturally occurring agent comes from a type of seaweed and is frequently used to thicken and stabilize plant-based milks. In addition to improving your gut health, this organic friend can promote antioxidant support and lower cholesterol levels.
- Keep Those Carbs
When trying to shed a few pounds, many people will start forgoing pasta night in favor of something sans carbs. While it’s true that some individuals (per a dietitian’s orders) may need to significantly lower their carbohydrate intake, for most of us, carbs are a daily essential for energizing both our bodies and brains. Though cutting carbs can lead to weight loss, this doesn’t necessarily translate to loss of fat, and can harm and hinder your bodily functions more so than help.
Instead of shunning carbs entirely, opt for healthier carbohydrates, such as those found in quinoa, sweet potatoes, legumes, and bananas. Pasta and breads are fine, as long as they aren’t the bulk of your consumption. If you must eat low-carb, ensure that you’re eating more than just meats; eggs, spinach, and cauliflower are all healthy and filling low-carb options.