Considering the number of articles there are on the Internet on health and nutrition it’s no wonder that most people are left entirely confused regarding these two (closely related) topics.
Even qualified professionals themselves often have entirely opposite opinions on many matters. However, despite all of the debates and disagreements, there are quite a lot of things that everyone agrees on and are supported by numerous studies.
In this article, we present to you 27 health and nutrition tips that are based on real science and will help you lead a healthier lifestyle:
Don’t drink sugary drinks
Beverages filled with sugar are known to be one of the fattening things you can consume. That’s because liquid sugar calories aren’t registered by your brain in the same way that calories from whole solid foods are.
This is also the reason why when you drink this type of drinks, you end up consuming more calories. Sugary drinks consumption is strongly related to obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and all kinds of other health issues.
One should also be aware that fruit juices are almost as bad as soda because they have just as much sugar and the small content of antioxidants does not neutralize the negative impact of the sugar.
Eat nuts (all kinds)
Even though they have a high-fat content, nuts are filled with a ton of healthy nutrients. They are rich in vitamin E, magnesium, fiber and many other ingredients that are essential to your health.
Research has shown that eating nuts can help you lose weight and may even help with heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It’s also been discovered that around 10-15% of the calories in nuts aren’t absorbed in the body, and there is some evidence to suggest that they can significantly increase the metabolic rate.
In one study, it was shown that eating almonds can increase the weight loss rate by 60% compared to eating complex carbs.
Eliminate all junk food (eat real nutritious food instead)
Processed junk food is the number one reason why people are getting fatter and sicker like no other time in history.
This type of food has been deliberately injected with ingredients that affect the reward circuits in our brains, and trick them into eating more food that we actually need, which in the most severe cases can lead to an addiction.
Junk food is also low in fiber, as well as protein and micro-nutrients, which basically means consuming empty calories. It is however rich in many unhealthy ingredients such as refined grains and added sugar.
Drink more coffee (not too much though)
Coffee has gotten a lot of bad rap over the years, largely due to misinformation. However, the majority of evidence points to it being very healthy.
It is rich in antioxidants and studies have shown time and time again that regular coffee drinkers have a longer lifespan, a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and many other diseases.
Eat fatty fish
All nutritionists agree about the health benefits of eating fish. Even more so for fatty fish, such as salmon, which has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids and many other micro-nutrients.
Studies have shown that people who eat the greatest amounts of fish have a lower risk of many types of illnesses, including dementia, depression and heart disease.
Get enough quality sleep
We sleep away a third of our lives so getting enough quality sleep is of utmost importance for leading a healthy life. It might be just as important as training and diet.
Poor sleep can increase insulin resistance, de-regulate the hormones in charge of appetite and decrease your overall mental and physical performance.
Additionally, poor sleep is one of the biggest individual risk factors for obesity and weight gain. One study demonstrated that not sleeping enough was linked to a 90% increased risk of obesity in children and 50% in adults.
Improve your intestinal health with fiber and probiotics consumption
The bacteria living in your intestines, are called microbiota and are sometimes also known as the body’s “forgotten organ”. These bacteria play a huge role in your body and are extremely important for lots of processes on which your overall health relies.
A disruption in their functioning is related to some of the most dangerous chronic illnesses, one of them being obesity.
A good way to improve your gut health is to consume probiotic foods such as yogurt or sauerkraut, take probiotic supplements and eat foods that are rich in fiber. Fiber acts as a source of food for these bacteria.
Drink lots of water, especially before meals
Many people neglect the importance of being properly hydrated and lots of times forget to drink water. Drinking enough water has a ton of health benefits.
One of its more potent benefits is that it can significantly help you increase the number of calories that you spend on a daily basis. According to several studies, it can increase metabolism by 20-30% over a period of 1-2 hours.
This results in burning up to 100 additional calories if you drink 2 liters (67 oz) of water a day. The most optimal time to drink water is 30 minutes before each meal. One study showed that half a liter of water, half an hour before a meal, can increase weight loss by 50%.
Do not overcook or burn the meat
Even though vegetarians and vegans may disagree, meat is an incredibly nutritious food that keeps your body functioning at an optimal level. It is rich in protein, as well as many other micro-nutrients. The health-related issues with meat happen when it is overcooked or burnt.
This can cause the creation of dangerous chemicals which raise the risk of cancer development. So, don’t be afraid to eat meat, just be careful not to overcook or burn it, even though you may like a bit more crispy.
Do not use electronic devices before going to bed
Electronic devices emit a bright light, which confuses our brains and makes them think it’s daylight and not to time to go to bed. It basically messes with the production of the hormone in charge of sleeping, called melatonin, and suppresses it.
There are lots of apps nowadays for both your laptop and smartphone, which reduce the brightness level of the screen and don’t interfere with your sleep patterns.
Another interesting trick that you could use is to wear a pair of amber-tinted glasses which block the blue light from getting to your eyes at night. This will allow for melatonin to be released as if it were totally dark, thus making you fall asleep much faster.
If you’re not getting enough sunshine, take vitamin D3
Decades ago people were being outdoors a lot more than today and got most of their vitamin D from the sun. The problem nowadays is that the majority of people simply don’t get out much and are thus deficient in this vitamin.
They either live in a place with no sunlight, or they stay inside most of the day or use sunscreen when they do get out. According to studies done a few years ago, approximately 40% of the US population is deficient in this essential vitamin.
If being exposed to the sun is detrimental to your health for other reasons, then supplementing with vitamin D has been shown to be a very helpful alternative that will give you lots of health benefits.
This means increased muscular strength, improved bone health, decreased symptoms of depression and a decreased risk of cancer. Vitamin D has also been shown to add longevity and vitality.
Eat veggies and fruits
“Vegetables and fruits” is the first answer you’ll get from people when asking them what healthy foods you should eat. And there’s a good reason for it.
They are filled with vitamins, minerals, prebiotic fiber and a multitude of antioxidants which have tremendous health benefits. Studies have shown that people who eat the most fruits and veggies live longer and have a decreased risk of heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and many other diseases.
Eat enough protein
Consuming an optimal amount of protein is extremely important and many nutritionists believe that the generally recommended daily intake is much too low.
Protein is involved in many body processes and is especially important for accelerating weight loss, and it does this through various different internal mechanisms.
A high intake of protein has the potential to increase your metabolism significantly, and it will also make you feel full for longer periods of time thus restricting you from consuming too many calories.
It can also kill your cravings and decrease the need for snacking during the day. Eating lots of protein has also been proven to decrease blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
Do some form of cardio
Performing any type of aerobic exercise is one of the best things one can do to improve both their mental and physical health.
Aerobic exercise is especially effective in decreasing fat around the waistline, as well as visceral fat which is the type of fat that is deposited between the organs. Decreased belly fat will almost surely lead to big improvements in metabolic health.
Be sure to do about 120-150 minutes of cardio a week, evenly spread out over 2-4 cardio sessions.
Quit smoking or using drugs and drink alcohol moderately
If you smoke tobacco or use drugs, then losing weight and exercising should concern you less and you should work on getting rid of the first two habits. If you’re one of those people who simply can’t quit alcohol, then at least try to drink in moderation.
You should also consider eliminating it completely if you find yourself having a tendency towards drinking alcohol as a stress-reliever because that can quickly lead to a dangerous addiction.
Use extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is without a doubt the healthiest source of fat. It is packed with monounsaturated fats which are good for your heart and important antioxidants which can fight many types of inflammation.
As already mentioned, it has lots of benefits for your heart and those who consume extra virgin olive oil are at a much lower risk of dying from strokes and heart attacks.
Reduce your sugar consumption
Added sugar is one of the worst ingredients in modern people’s diet. Eating small amounts is okay, but when you eat a large amount, it can really disrupt your metabolic health.
A high added sugar consumption has been linked to numerous conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many types of cancer.
Don’t eat large amounts of refined carbs
When it comes to carbs, not all of them are the same. Refined or processed carbs, as the name implies are highly processed and the fiber in them has been completely eliminated by the processing.
They have a low amount of nutrients, which means empty calories, and can contain some very harmful ingredients. Research has shown that processed carbs are linked to overeating and many metabolic diseases.
Don’t avoid saturated fat completely
For many years, saturated fat was undeservedly deemed dangerous and unhealthy. So, even though it does raise cholesterol levels, it also raises the “good” cholesterol, or HDL and changes LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) from small to large, which has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease.
Studies that have included thousands of participants have repeatedly shown that there’s no link whatsoever between the consumption of saturated and increased risk of heart disease.
Lift (relatively) heavy weights
Weight lifting is without a doubt one of the best things one can do to strengthen their body and drastically change their appearance in a good way. It also massively improves metabolic health, as well as insulin sensitivity.
You can join a gym and start a training program straight away or you could also do some bodyweight exercises which can be tremendously effective.
Eliminate artificial trans-fats
Trans-fats are man-made fats which are extremely harmful and strongly related to heart disease and inflammation. Do whatever it takes to eliminate them from your diet.
Add lots of spices and herbs to your meals
The fact is that there are so many healthy herbs and spices which can help you make your meals incredibly delicious. Turmeric and ginger, for example, have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, leading to many health benefits.
Whenever you are trying a new recipe, always make a conscious effort to try out new and as many different spices and herbs as possible. You will definitely see a big difference.
Take care of your social life
Building and having strong and long-lasting social relationships is one of the foundations of leading a happy and meaningful life. It has actually been proven in numerous studies that people who have lots of close friends and are getting along with their family lead a much healthier and longer life than those who aren’t. They are not only good for your mental state, but for your physical health too.
Keep a food journal and track your progress
In order to really be able to know exactly what you’re eating, you need to weigh your food portions and use a nutrition tracker app such as Cron-o-meter or MyFitnesspal.
It is very important to know the number of calories you are ingesting on a daily basis. It is also very important to ensure that you’re getting the right amount of protein, carbs, fat, fiber and micro-nutrients.
Research has shown that those who track their daily food intake in any form have a greater chance of losing weight and sticking to healthy diet habits.
Generally, anything you do that makes you more aware of what you eat increases your chances of success. It may be a bit tough at first, but once you get in the habit of doing it, it gets easier and before you know it few months will have passed and you’ll be a lot slimmer.
Additionally, when you track your food intake you’ll know exactly where to make some necessary adjustments so that you can reach your goals faster.
If you have fat around your waist, lose it
There are different types of fat in your body. The most troublesome fat is in your abdominal cavity, the fat around your midsection. This fat slowly accumulated between the organs and is the most likely cause of metabolic disease.
That is why your waist size can be a greater indicator of your health than the number you see on the scale. Decreasing your carb intake, increasing protein intake, and eating lots of fiber are all great ways to lose your belly fat.
Stop following “diets”
Diets that pop up every once in a while in the mainstream can be, at best totally ineffective and at worst, dangerous. There’s hardly a diet that gives results for the long-term.
On the contrary, going on a “diet” is the strongest predictor that you’ll gain weight in the future. So, instead of doing that, you should try to slowly incorporate healthy habits.
Focus on giving your body healthy nutrients and becoming physically active on a regular basis. Weight loss should be the accompanying effect of making better nutrition choices and improved metabolic health.
Eat whole eggs, not just the egg white
Whole eggs are packed with so many nutrients that they rightfully deserve the nickname “super-food”. It’s a myth that eating whole eggs is bad because of the cholesterol in them.
Numerous studies have shown that they don’t raise blood cholesterol levels in the majority of people. What’s more, a massive study involving more than 250,000 participants found that eating eggs had no link with the risk of heart disease.
So, once you remove all the bad rap that eggs have gotten because of some false claims, you get the most nutritious food known to man. By the way, the yolk is the place where almost all the good stuff is found.
Telling someone to throw it away is perhaps the worst advice one could give to another in terms of nutrition.