2017 is here – a perfect time to kickstart the pursuit of new goals. The term “new year, new you” might sound like a cliché, but why not try to make a real change in your life? This could start with better diet and eating habits. Here are a few tips that you could try to make 2017 a better year for your health and palate.
Opt for whole grains instead of processed carbs
Consumption of whole grains is associated with lower risks of obesity and diabetes as well as improved heart health, according to Dr. Walter Willett, chair of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health.
“Many of the cereal grains and breads we eat are heavily processed, which is not what you want,” Willett’s colleague, Dr. David Ludwig told TIME. “You want something where you can see bits of kernel in it, and that has a dense, chewy consistency… Basically, the opposite of Wonder Bread.” Ludwig recommended “sprouted” or “stoneground” grain breads to get the best health benefits.
Eat more vegetables
It goes without saying that vegetables are good for you – the vitamins, minerals and fibres help prevent heart disease, cancers and weight gain. But did you know that most Australians only eat half of the recommended quantity of vegetables a day?
Eat for Health recommends 5 serves of vegetables per day for adults – which means around 2.5 cups of cooked green vegetables 5 cups of raw salad vegetables. So make sure you always have some veggies in your plate!
Don’t drink your calories
With the plethora of drink options available – from sports drinks and juices to coffee and tea – water remains the best choice. It will keep you hydrated without the added sugar and calories, keeping your weight in check.
Fats: eat the good, avoid the bad
Fat has long been blamed for weight issues, but it is actually an important part of our diet. Fat is a significant source of energy which also helps vitamin absorption and cell regeneration.
The trick is to choose the ‘good’ fats from the ‘bad’ ones. According to Harvard Health Publications, the bad ones include trans fats and saturated fats, which could increase LDL cholesterol level as well as the risks of heart diseases. These could be found in red meat, cheese, whole-milk dairy products, and more.
The good ones include unsaturated fats, which can lower cholesterol levels and risks of heart diseases. These fats could be found in avocados, flaxseed, a number of oils (such as canola, peanut, olive), most nuts (such as walnut), and fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, trout).