Food Rules for the New Year

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Google ''healthy diet plans'' and you’ll come up with millions of search results; different websites claiming to have the best diet plan for you to stay healthy, fit and youthful for as long as you live. Truth is, every person has a different metabolism, different health issues, and therefore different nutritional requirements. In the food world, there’s no one-size-fits-all diet.

However, there are some basic rules to stick to, no matter what condition you suffer from, or no matter how healthy and energetic you already are. Listed below are a few of them.

Food Rules for the New Year

Eat ''food'': Focus on the literal meaning of the word ‘food’. Food doesn’t mean one of the 17,000 new products arriving in the supermarket each year, all of them craving for your attention. These canned, packaged and processed foods are coated and loaded with substances no average person keeps in the refrigerator. Easier said than done. If you’re one of those who loads up on ready to eat meals and canned beans, corn, coconut milk and more, it’s time you change and take charge of your health.

Get a colorful plate: The color in different vegetables actually reflect the antioxidants they contain- carotenoids, polyphenols, anthocyanins, flavonoids and more. Loading up on different colored veggies ensures that your body gets the constant supply of different nutritional elements it requires. Studies show that a diet rich in different colored fruits and vegetables helps prevent chronic ailments.

Leafy veggies on the go: Opting for plant based diet at least once or twice a week is known to help cut down body fat. This is plainly because leafy vegetables are rich in minerals and water, and are low on the calories. Scientists debate over the best nutritional benefit of green veggies: its antioxidants? Fiber content? Omega 3 fatty acids? Needless to say, leafy green veggies are power packed to help maintain optimum health.

Eat foods with shorter shelf life: Fruits and veggies that last for longer days are probably packed with more chemicals and pesticides than vitamins and minerals. Organic foods are ‘real’ and therefore they die eventually. Eating foods that have been stripped of their nutrition and their valuable content with the intent of making them last for longer durations can actually disturb the body, let alone improve health. Avoid foods that look unnaturally bright and fresh.

Avoid foods that contain more than five ingredients: The higher the number of ingredients on the packet, the more processed the food is. Look for brands that have the least additives and chemicals you probably can’t spell. If it came from a plant, eat it, if it was made in a ‘plant’, don’t.

Choose the sweetness from nature: Having a sweet tooth can require extreme strength and determination to avoid sugar loaded foods, especially if you’re trying to shed some pounds. The trick is to choose your ‘sweet’ from nature itself — fruits like grapes, strawberries, pears and oranges. What’s more is that fruits are packed full of fiber, which slows down their absorption, tricking the mind into believing you’ve had enough. This is why raw fruits are always a better option than fruit juices.

Spend more, eat less: Grandma’s food rulebook had this saying ‘better to pay the grocer than to pay the doctor’. Studies show that this may actually be true-- the more you spend on better quality foods, the more you treat it with care, and the more you feel satisfied. Choose quality over quantity.

Toss the white bread: The pitfalls of adding white bread to your diet is already on the rounds and needs no introduction. The saying ‘the whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead’ holds true, mainly because white bread is hardly different from white sugar in terms of what it does to your health. Whole grain breads on the other hand, are packed with all the good stuff-- fiber, vitamins and healthy fats.

Stop eating before you’re full: Ayurvedic consultants advise their patients to stop eating when they are 75% full. The Japanese and Chinese have somewhat similar beliefs, with their numbers not exceeding 80%. In other words, a full stomach puts an extra strain on your digestive system, wearing and tiring it out, making you more prone to different digestive ailments.

Break the rules once in a while: It’s okay to break rules once in a while. Getting obsessed over food is in fact worse for your health. Years and months of worrying and fretting over foods has got no one any slimmer and healthier. Adopt the policy of moderation in everything. During some special occasions, it’s completely okay to throw out the foods rules and indulge, but make sure you compensate the following day with a new motivation and determination to continue your diet.

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