Step to Improve Diet and Health with Nature's Best
Step 1 Eat lot of Fresh and Whole Foods
Eat foods that are in or close to their original state. They have not been altered or processed beyond refrigeration,kitchen preparation and cooking. In other words such foods lokk pretty much the way they did in nature(which is not how processed food looks)
Examples to clarify meaning of fresh and whole foods
A freshly broiled piece of fish looks,smells and tastes like a piece of fish. It is very different from breaded and deep fried fish, coated with refined flour and cooked in mix of vegetable and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
A baked potato looks like a potato, which french fries(boiled in hydrogenated or oxidized oils) do not.
Strictly limit foods canned foods. The reason is canned foods involve some sort of processing or alteration from food's original state,plus addition of unwanted ingredients such as sugars, refined grains, preservatives,flavor enhancers,texturizers and more.
So as you stare in to your cupboard, you must be wondering what you'll eat. It's simple: lots of vegetables,some fruit, fresh(or frozen)fish,lean meats,spices and herbs for seasoning. such foods are straightforward,uncomplicated and to prepare and vary.
Step 2 Eat a lot of Vegetables, the more Colorful the Better.
Vegetables and many fruits are the best dietary source of antioxidants ,which help dampen overactive immune responses.
In addition,vegetables and fruits are also rich sources of carotenoids,another class of powerful antioxidants. These include alpha-carotene,beta-carotene,lutein and lycopene.
The rule to follow is diversity. Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables or fruit daily and make a point of eating different types.
Step 3 Use Spices and Herbs to flavor Foods
Salt and pepper should not be your only flavor enhancers of food.Use of herbs and spices to intensely flavors of your food. The benefits of basil,oregano,garlic,turmeric,ginger,cilantro and other spices go beyond taste. Culinary herbs are rich in antioxidant flavonoids and natural Cox-2 inhibitor(anti-inflammatory).
Step 4 Use Olive oil as your Primary Cooking Oil
Extra virgin olive oil should be your main cooking oil. Its rich in anti-inflammatory Oleic acid(an omega-9 fatty acid),vitamin E and polyphenolic flavanoids.
Step 5 Avoid Coventional Cooking Oils
Conventional cooking oils ,such as corn,peanut,safflower and sunflower,soybean and cottonseed oils, are high inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids(which can cause inflammatory condition such as heart disease, arthritis ,asthma,allergies and many more) and virtually no anti-inflammatory omega-3 or omega-9 fatty acids. These oils are enormously used in processed and packaged foods,including microwave meals,breakfast bars,salad dressings and many restaurants.
The worst are partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.All partially hydrogenated oils have trans fatty acids,which are considered more dangerous than saturated fats. Vegetable shortenings and hard margarine are among the worst of such products,but you will find partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in most salad dressings,non diary creamers,bakery products and many processed foods.
Its always safe to carefully read the label of a food package.
Step 6 Identify and Avoid Food Allergens
Food Allergies or allergy like food sensitivities can rev up the immune system and contribute to chronic inflammation. It is relatively easy and inexpensive to obtain a "food allergy panel" using a simple blood test.
It may be easier to assess your likelihood of being allergic to certain foods when you don't already have an obvious reaction after eating a particular food. In addition,food allergies often take the form of a food addiction- such as a food you crave or cannot imagine living without. If you avoid a suspect food and all related foods(such as all foods with dairy) for a week and if you are in fact allergic to it,you will feel better. However, you also might notice any difference in how you feel until you add that food back to your diet,when you suddenly feel worse.
In Going Against the Grains Melissa Diane Smith writes that as many as half of Americans have some degree of gluten intolerance. The gut damage from gluten can predispose people to numerous other food allergies. A damaged ,or leaky gut,gut can allow undigested food proteins to enter the bloodstream,where they trigger an immune response . The most common sources of gluten are Wheat,rye,barley and Oats.
Night shades are another problematic group of foods for many people with rheumatoid arthritis. These foods include tomatoes,potatoes,egg plants and peppers. Nightshades contain a variety of mildly toxic compounds and by some estimates,one of every arthritics has allergic sensitivities to nightshade foods.
Step 7 Avoid or Strictly limit Sugars
Refined sugars are the ultimate in empty calories. They provide Carbohydrates and calories but no vitamins,minerals or protein. And sugars appear on labels by different names:sucrose,high-fructose corn syrup,dextrose and glucose .Even boxes of salt contain little sugar,many popular sugar substituites contain some sugar in the form of maltodextrose.
Consuming empty calories can lead to obesity. High sugar and highly refined carb diets in general elevate levels of inflammation in body,even in thin people.
Soft drinks may be the worst single source of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.The Center for science in the Public Interest,a consumer organization ,has accurately described soft drinks as "Liquid candy".
Some morning cereals have loads of sugar in them. May not be a healthy start of the day eating such sugary cereals. Buy cereals with less than 4g of sugar.
Step 8 Avoid and Limit Refined Grains
Like sugars,refined grains provide mostly empty calories,even though many grain products have been "enriched" with a few vitamins. The most common grain in Western diet is wheat, used to make bread,pasta,muffins ,bagels,cookies and a near-infinite variety of pastries.Many processes foods contain a combination of refined grains,sugars and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
White rice is similar to refined white bread in that most of its important nutrients have been refined out and mostly carbohydrate is left.Brown rice is far superior ,its high in carbs,also contains vitamins,minerals,protein ,fiber and no gluten.
Step 9 Limit your intake of Dairy products
Cow's milk is also a common allergen. It provides considerable saturated fat and homogenization alters the size and metabolism of milk fat,making it more likely to promote heart disease.
Small amounts of cheeses may be alright for many people,unless they are allergic to dairy. Cheese do provide concentrated protein, but most of their fat is saturated because cow are fed grains rather than simply allowed to feed on grass.
Step 10 Snack on Nuts and seeds
So what do you do with your sweet tooth? Try eating more nuts, such as almonds,cashews,filberts,macadamias and pistachios,as well as seeds such as pumpkin seeds. Nuts are high in good fat. Studies have shown that regularly eating nuts reduces risk of heart disease. Also ,nuts and seeds are rich in many minerals such as magnesium that are necessary for heart health.
Step 11 Buy and eat Organically raised foods
Oranic foods are produced without any synthetic pesticides in an environmentally sustainable fashion. That means,essentially, that the soil quality is preserved and enhanced, which is in sharp contrast to conventional farming practices.Organic foods are generally a little more expensive than conventional foods.Consider organics as a desirable option when you can afford them.
Several small research studies have found that organic vegetable and fruits tend to have higher vitamin and mineral levels, compared with conventional produce. Many people feel that organic taste better than conventional fruits and vegetables.
Step 12 To lose weight ,Reduce both carbohydrates and Calories
Step 13 Eat more Fish ,especially cold-water varieties
An ideal amount of dietary omega-3 fatty acids is about 7 grams a week, which you can obtain in two or three servings of fish.
The fish with the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids are mackerel,Pacific herring,anchovy,lake trout,king salmon and Atlantic Salmon.
Although fresh fish is always better than frozen most fish is delivered frozen to supermarkets. You may broil,bake,poach,grill or pan fry the fish in Olive oil.
Step 14 Eat meat from Free range or grass fed animals
When farm animals are fed corn and other grains instead of grass and leaves, their muscles contain no omega-3 fatty acids and substantial amounts of saturated fats
It is important to avoid, or strictly limit your intake of, meat from corn-fed animals. This caution often applies to meat or eggs from "Vegetarian-fed" animals,which may be corn-fed. Similarly ,chicken,turkey and duck should come from animals that were allowed to peck around for their natural diet,not fed corn or other grains.
Step 15 When Thirsty ,Drink water.
Water is a beverage virtually all animals-again,except people consume for life.If you live in an urban area and the quality or taste of tap water leaves a lot to be desired,drink filtered water. Both brita and Pur systems filter out chlorine,heavy metals and unfortunately even some of the dietary minerals(such as calcium and magnesium). Buy a brand of sparkling mineral water with high mineral content. Scientist have found that drinking high-mineral water immediatly triggers a series of bone-building biochemical reactions.
While water should be you main drink,another beverage option is tea.Various teas-black,green and herbal-provide antioxidant polyphenol flavonoids,which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
The best guidance is to drink mostly water and a little tea. And avoid all soft drinks and other beverages(including energy drinks and so called quick thirst quenchers) that contain sugar,high fructose corn syrup or other caloric sweeteners.