Friday, January 13, 2012

Good Diet Considerations to Lose Extra Pounds

Recognizing that your diet has room for some healthy improvement is a step in the right direction. A good diet provides the nutrients you need for energy and vitality, and it reduces your risk of chronic disease, such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Take the next step, and improve your diet with a simple plan based on sound nutritional wisdom that will guide your food choices, whether you eat out or prepare your food at home.
Increase the Fiber
Increase your intake of fiber to improve your diet. Although adults should get approximately 25 to 35 g per day, most get only 14 g, notes Colorado State University Extension. Fiber lowers cholesterol and prevents constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulitis, a painful inflammatory disorder of the bowel. It may reduce your risk of certain cancers and possibly help with weight loss, because it creates a full feeling with zero calories. Fiber is only in plant foods. Get both types of fiber -- soluble and insoluble -- by eating a variety of beans, whole grains, oat bran, fruits and vegetables.
Include Good Fats
Cut back on saturated fat, the unhealthy solid fat in animal products like bacon, full-fat dairy products, butter and fatty meats, and avoid trans fats. Trans fats are worse for your health than saturated fats, and are commonly found in stick margarine, biscuits and other baked goods, fried foods and processed foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Instead, include heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your diet. You can get these healthy fats from plant oils, such as olive and canola, avocados, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and other nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and fatty, cold-water fish, such as salmon, herring, anchovies and sardines.
Switch to Whole Grains
Improve your diet with whole grains. Stay away from refined grains, which have their fiber, B vitamins and iron removed during processing. Refined grains are found in foods like bread made with enriched flour, white flour or wheat flour, instead of whole-wheat flour. Choose whole grains from foods like oatmeal, brown rice, wild rice, barley, and whole-wheat bread, pasta and crackers. To make sure you're really getting a whole-grain product, check the first ingredient listed, and look for the name of a grain with the word "whole" in front of it, such as whole wheat or whole rye, or other whole-grain ingredients, such as oatmeal, whole-grain corn or whole-wheat bulgur.
Add Colorful Fruits and Vegetables
Eat more fruits and vegetables to improve your diet and reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease and certain cancers, lower your blood pressure, protect you from eye problems, regulate your blood sugar and keep digestive ailments at bay. Set a goal for nine servings each day, which is about 4 1/2 cups. Potatoes don't count, notes the Harvard School of Public Health. Eat fruits and vegetables in a range of colors to get a variety of nutrients. To sneak more into your diet, keep fruit in a bowl where you can see it, have a few servings with each meal, try new varieties to keep things interesting and make more dishes that put vegetables in the spotlight.
Cut Back on Sugar
Cut back on foods and drinks with added sugar. Sugar adds extra calories to foods, causes unhealthy ups and downs in your blood sugar and insulin levels and causes weight gain. Sugary soft drinks are a major source of sugar -- just one 12 oz. cola contains 10 tsp., equal to a whole day's recommended limit. Cookies, cakes, candy and other sweets are obvious sources of added sugar, but even foods that don't seem sweet, such as bread, canned soup, pasta sauce, canned vegetables, frozen dinners and peanut butter can have a lot. Read labels to find sugar hiding under other names, including fruit juice concentrate, evaporated cane juice, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses, glucose, sucrose and maltodextrin.

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