Seven Healthy Eating Strategies That May Save Your Life

Here are seven easy secrets to better eating that will make you feel energized and will help prevent the chronic diseases associated with getting older. These seven secrets aren’t a “diet”. Instead they are a healthy strategy that will stabilize your blood sugar and help you lose weight.

Choose “slow acting” (low GL) carbohydrates and reduce your portions of carbohydrates: Most carbohydrates increase blood sugar. This includes potatoes, white breads, and white rice. Low GL stands for low Glycemic Load. It factors in both the type of carbohydrate as well as the amount of carbohydrate you would eat in a normal portion. Low GL carbohydrates are converted to blood sugar very slowly which keeps blood sugar under control and weight regulated. Bad, high GL carbohydrates include white bread, potatoes, and colas. Good, low GL carbohydrates include peas and lentils.

At least three of your carbohydrate servings each day should be from whole grains: Whole grains help reduce your chance of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Since they contain all of the parts of the grain and not just the starchy, low-fiber center, they contain the nutrient-rich germ layer as well as the fiber-rich bran layer. Whole grains include brown rice, oats, whole wheat pasta, and popcorn. They are also rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other healthy compounds that help prevent disease.

Increase servings of vegetables and fruits: Have at least 6-9 small servings of vegetables and fruits each day. This will result in lower blood pressure, and lower risk of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and some cancers. Mixing vegetables with carbohydrates will help lower the GL content of the carbohydrates. However, avoid dried fruits, fruit juices, and starchy vegetables. Vegetables and fruits are also very low in calories. This strategy can be as simple as replacing your fries with a salad.Smoothies, especially green smoothies, are a great and delicious way to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables in your diet.

Include protein with every meal: Protein has little or no effect on your blood sugar so eating protein-rich foods will automatically reduce your GL. Proteins are also effective in controlling hunger, which will help you reduce the urge to have a quick snack between meals. Increasing the amount of protein you eat may also assist the retention of calorie-burning muscle tissue which can help improve your weight loss efforts. Great sources of protein include beans, lentils, peas, nuts and seeds, fish, shellfish, chicken, turkey, eggs, low fat dairy, and lean red meats.

Stick with “good” fats: Saturated fats such as ice cream, butter, and fatty red meats interfere with your body’s ability to control blood sugar and are bad for you. Unsaturated fats are “good” in the sense that they help slows the rate at which food leaves your stomach and help you metabolize carbohydrates better. Good fats can also help reverse insulin resistance. Good fats include olive and canola oil, nuts, fatty fish, and avocados.

Eat more acidic foods: Even just a little bit of acidic foods can reduce your body’s blood sugar response to high-carbohydrates foods. Acidic foods include vinegar, mustard, pickles, lemon juice, citrus fruits, and wine.

Reduce the size of your portions: Cut back on all foods. An easy rule of thumb to calculate how many calories you should eat each day is to add a zero to your weight in pounds. If you weigh 150 pounds, you should eat roughly 1500 calories a day. Put less food on your plate. Stop eating when you are full even if your plate isn’t clean. If eating out, divide the meal in half and plan on taking it home with you.

Again, these seven secrets form a regular strategy for eating right. They are not intended as a short term diet. Yes, following this strategy will result in losing weight, but its goal is long term health not short term weight loss.