There's an old saying: "you are what you eat." And sometimes a simple, smart food switch can improve your health tremendously.
"What we eat can often determine to some extent how quickly we age," Dr. Anthony Youn M.D., author of the "The Age Fix," tells Newsmax. "There are good and bad foods, no doubt about it, and what you put in your mouth can have a profound effect on your health."
Top nutritionist and fitness expert Lisa Lynn, author of "The Metabolism Solution," adds:
"When it comes to boosting health or improving weight loss it's often the small changes that make the biggest impact. That's good news because all you have to do is replace your favorite indulgences with a super food swap to start feeling healthier and more energetic."
Here are five simple food switches for the most common consumer foods:
- Swap out sodas and sports drinks. The evidence is clear that these beverages, even diet drinks, are unhealthy for you. "They contain too much sugar or sugar substitutes that may cause health problems," Lynn tells Newsmax. Try drinking mineral water if you enjoy the bubbles and add fresh lemon juice. Drinking water with lemon helps reduce uric acid in the joints, which helps reduce inflammation and also acts as a decongestant.
- Switch to fresh fruit instead of fruit juice. So-called healthy fresh fruit juice is loaded with sugar and has little fiber. A glass of apple juice, for example, has a whopping 9 teaspoons of sugar. Biting into that fresh piece of fruit won't spike your blood sugar levels like juice and provides the much-needed fiber that keeps you feeling fuller, longer. The fiber in fresh fruit also helps keep our digestive systems healthier and regular.
- Try almond butter instead of cream cheese. Next time you slather your bagel with cream cheese, think about making a healthier choice of spread. Almond butter is not only tasty, it's chock-full of healthy monounsaturated acids. Unlike saturated and trans fats, which are inflammatory and accelerate the aging process, monounsaturated fats are anti-inflammatory, says Youn. "They can help lower blood serum cholesterol levels and slow down the aging process."
- Opt for dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Research has shown that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate that contains at least 70% raw cocoa can not only reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, it also helps build strong bones and connective tissue. "It contains powerful amounts of free radical-fighting antioxidants," says Dr. Youn. "Unfortunately, most commercially available chocolate bars, like milk chocolate, contain too much sugar and too little cocoa to be healthy for you."
- Switch from white to whole wheat. This is probably the most important switch of all, says Youn. "Sugar is the worst food for your body. It causes inflammation, produces unhealthy AGEs, or advanced glycation end products, and creates fat pockets." Refined foods, just like desserts and sweets, are bad sugars, too. The refining process removes the bran and germ, causing the food to taste lighter but it's also digested much faster. This results in blood sugar spikes. So, to decrease blood sugar spikes and the damage associated with them, choose "whole over white." Eat brown rice instead of white, whole grain pasta instead of white pasta, whole wheat bread instead of white bread. Whole wheat fiber also aids in digestion. This simple switch can have a profound effect on our health, and even how we age.
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