Eat healthier is one of the top 3 New Year’s resolutions for 2023 in the U.S. according to Statista Global Consumer Survey. No surprise here! With the growing presence of plant-based milk products, gluten-free alternatives and meat substitutes in the supermarkets, you would like that healthy eating is a piece of cake (no pun intended). Not so! More choices often lead to confusion and inaction.
To kick off the new year, here are 3 easy tips for resetting your diet. These are basic elements of healthy eating that most people can benefit regardless of their specific dietary preferences or restrictions.
When the body needs water our brains send the signal of thirst – an essential survival mechanism that maintains fluid balance. Having a pre-filled water flask always on hand is one of the best habits we can practice to ensure proper hydration, but even with the super sleek containers available today, most people still do not achieve adequate water intake. This is important to note, as every process in the body requires water – not enough and you could face more than dehydration. Kidney stones, loss of cognitive function, constipation, and fatigue can all be related to poor fluid balance.
So how much water do you need? The Mayo Clinic recommends about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women. Building a habit of drinking more water in combination of drinking fun beverages will make hydration easier.
Try these delicious recipes
Cilantro-Lime Melon Cooler: honey dew + cilantro + matcha green tea + lime juice + cucumber
Ultimate Aqua Fresca: strawberry + mint + hibiscus tea + lime + sparkling water
Fuzzy Peach-Basil Chia Fresca: peach + basil + peach green tea + lemon + chia seed
Blackberry-Sage Cooler: blackberries + 1 sage leaf + berry green tea + sparkling water
Citrus Rosemary Refresher: nectarine + green tea + grapefruit + cucumber + few rosemary leaves with stem for garnish
Most people consume less than half the amount of fiber they need for good health. It is recommended that we get 25-30 grams of fiber a day. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body cannot digest and is important for digestive health and weight maintenance as well as lowering risk of diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. They serve different functions in the body so we need them both.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and acts like a sponge. When eaten it creates a small gel-like mass that helps lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels. It also works with your liver to escort excess hormones, like estrogen and testosterone, from the body. Good sources include: oats, oat bran, beans, lentils, chia seed, flax meal, nuts and seeds, barley, citrus fruits, apples, strawberries, blueberries, pears, and sweet potatoes.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and acts like a broom, facilitating movement of food through the digestive tract. It also contributes to bulking up stool which promotes regularity and reduces constipation. Good sources include: whole grains, vegetables like zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, avocado, and leafy greens.
Fiber is only found in plants which is why consuming a plant-rich diet is so important. Include lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and beans in your daily meals can help to boost your fiber intake.
Eat Whole Grains
Whole grains are an excellent source of nutrients such as minerals, vitamins B and E, and fiber (see chart below). They are also rich in disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals. Research suggests that whole grains contribute to reduced risk of cancers (particularly colorectal cancers), heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.
When shopping for packaged grain foods such as bread and crackers, look at the list of ingredients first – the first word should be “whole”: whole oats, whole wheat flour, etc. If the word “whole” is used to identify the second ingredient, the product may contain as little as 1% whole grains. You can also look at the fiber content listed on the nutrition label in conjunction with the ingredients list to help you make an informed decision. Look for fiber content > 2 g per serving.
There is no one diet that works for everyone but there are eating habits that are good for every body. As you reset your eating for a new you in 2023, start with a check on your liquid and food choices. Are you getting enough fluid and fiber everyday? Are you choosing whole grains over refined grains? Where can you improve and set goals to do so. Consistency will get you closer to a healthier you. Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!