Transform your diet in 11 steps

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Transform your diet in 11 steps

The new course invites you to consider improvements in your diet, but if you want to do it right, don’t be in a hurry. Think that you have a year ahead of you to make the necessary changes in your diet.

Transform your diet in 11 steps

The arrival of the new course is usually accompanied by a list of good intentions. They are often related to the health and care of the body. A general desire is to change certain habits for others that are considered more appropriate to achieve certain goals. Food is usually present in this scenario, because it is not uncommon for there to be a more or less significant margin for improvement between what is eaten and what is theoretically recommended to eat.

CREATE YOUR PLAN TO IMPROVE YOUR DIET

But, for many different reasons, these laudable intentions do not always end up coming true. If what we want is to really change eating habits, we must bear in mind that behind each one there are many reasons why they maintain it. Therefore, any modification can imply changes in other life spheres, for example from emotions to schedules.

To be successful and not stop trying, it is essential to design a good plan. This requires, among other things, creating feasible expectations, specifying objectives and defining how, when and where we are going to make changes.

We must also take into account the possible obstacles that we may encounter and anticipate measures to avoid their impact, generate favorable conditions for change, maintain motivation and reinforce beneficial behaviors. Also, since changes are a process, it is not advisable to negatively exaggerate specific “relapses” or to stagnate in them.

When changing aspects of eating, there are some objectives that are at the base of what is currently considered a healthy diet. It would be enough to consolidate one of them every month, as we remember that a lasting transformation is preferable to a fleeting improvement.

1. FRUITS AND VEGETABLES IN ABUNDANCE

Garden products are important sources of certain vitamins, in particular vitamin C, folic acid and provitamin A, and of certain minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, to which is added their high dietary fiber content, all with a low caloric intake and absence of fats and cholesterol.

Added to this is the value of the so-called “bioactive compounds”, substances that are increasingly appreciated for their potential beneficial effects on health. Among those that currently deserve more attention are carotenoids and polyphenols, which exert their main biological action through antioxidant mechanisms.

For all this, an abundant daily consumption of them is unanimously recommended, no less than two servings of fruits and two of vegetables, in all stages of the life cycle. The new “bread” of each day. To the extent that these staples provide us with generous amounts of sensory pleasure, the likelihood that we will consume more of them increases.

For this, it is important to stock up on quality products: seasonal food, little handled, organic … Finding them their own space, for example at breakfast, snack or dessert, diversifying their presentations, betting on variety and preparing juices are other good measures. .

2. EAT MORE LEGUMES

This mainstay of the Mediterranean diet has many advantages. The protein content of legumes is high: 19-25%, and more in the case of soybeans. The generous presence of digestible complex carbohydrates (more than 50% of their dry weight) provides energy without glucose highs and lows. The important fiber content exerts beneficial effects on the intestinal level.

They are rich in vitamins like thiamine (B1), folic acid and pyridoxine (B6), and minerals like potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc. For this reason, the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition recommends taking 2 to 4 servings a week.

In the same direction, but emphasizing the importance of protecting against the action of free radicals, is the so-called “antioxidant food wheel”, in which the need to eat foods with antioxidant capacity is visually represented. Along with fruit, bread, potatoes, vegetables, cocoa, nuts and olive oil, there are legumes, of which a dish is recommended two or three times a week.

Leaving the cliché of traditional preparations and expanding its culinary possibilities will favor its consumption. They can be consumed in hot and cold dishes, in soups, purees, creams, salads … In addition to the classic chickpeas, lentils and beans, to increase the variety we can count on soybeans, beans, peas, mung beans and azuki , beans …

3. CEREALS YES, AND ESPECIALLY WHOLE GRAINS

A wealth of evidence has freed cereals from their supposed “sin” of fattening that has banned them from many tables. To this day they continue to be one of the so-called basic foods and one of the main sources of starch, the carbohydrate that is recommended as the main source of energy. They can therefore be consumed daily.

And as a recommendation, they are better whole than refined, since most of the essential nutrients are present in the germ and in the bran, where oligosaccharides, lignans, phytic acid, tannins, phenolic acid and flavonoids, among other antioxidant compounds, can also be found; hence the negative impact of removing them with refining.

We can find different types of cereals in multiple presentations, which allows us to introduce variety in the diet and a large number of culinary possibilities. It also enables them to be part of any of the food intakes throughout the day.

4. FATS, THE HEALTHIER THE BETTER

The quantity and quality of fats is an essential aspect of any healthy diet. Two important measures in this regard are the use of olive oil and the intake of skimmed dairy products.

Olive oil, unlike other oils and most fats, is rich in oleic acid. Many studies have pointed out that olive oil lowers LDL or “bad” cholesterol and increases HDL or “good”, two good news for cardiovascular health. The general recommendation on its consumption is 30 to 50 ml daily, that is, 3 to 5 tablespoons. Ideally, these amounts should be divided between lunch and dinner.

If you include dairy in your diet, keep in mind that their fats are mainly saturated, associated with increased cholesterol levels. The Spanish Arteriosclerosis Society places skimmed milk among the foods that can be consumed on a daily basis, while it considers that the consumption of whole milk should be exceptional. In addition, the elimination of fat considerably reduces its energy content; in the case of milk, for example, in half.

5. EAT RAW

You are interested in a high daily consumption of natural foods, without packaging, without precooking and without handling. In addition to many vegetables and all fruits, we can also eat dried fruit raw, unroasted oilseeds, sprouted seeds, honey or the same virgin olive oil.

This is an advisable practice throughout the year, adapting the choice of food to the season. The raw food also stand the test of discerning palates, as their consumption is not incompatible with gastronomy. Salads of all kinds, cold soups, smoothies or salads are a good example of this. In winter, food can be tempered in a bain-marie or left in the oven for a few moments.

6. ATTENTION TO SUGAR

Sugar likes and this is one of the reasons why its intake is often excessive. But it is not a staple food and its consumption can have repercussions on health: obesity, mood swings, intestinal problems…

What would be a reasonable dose? In a general way, it has been pointed out that between 20 and 30 g per day, adding the intake of sugar as it is and that of foods that include it, which are not few. But being totally dispensable, the most sensible recommendation is the less, the better.

7. PRUDENT USE OF SALT

Salt is not a food, but a seasoning. And moderate salt intake, along with the practice of a Mediterranean diet and physical exercise, is among the lifestyle habits that can allow the prevention of high blood pressure. A reasonable amount of sodium in the diet is 2 g daily, which is equivalent to 5 g of salt.

Effective measures to consume less salt are: reduce or stop using salt when cooking, do not bring the salt shaker to the table, reduce consumption or do without superfluous foods rich in salt, read labels and choose products made without salt or those that have low sodium content, and use preparations that enhance the flavor of food: steam, oven, iron …

8. HEALTHY COOKING

The kitchen is an extraordinary laboratory where countless transformations take place, many of which affect the palate and health. The battle is being fought on three fronts. On the one hand, it is about minimizing nutrient losses, avoiding, for example, excessive cooking times or cutting food too much.

For the same reason, steaming and baking are preferable to boiling. It is necessary to avoid charring when cooking on the grill or on the grill, since reactions occur in which harmful products are generated. Finally, it is recommended that the cooking does not contain too much fat and that these are not subjected to an excess of temperature, in particular avoiding the burning of the oils.

9. SLOWLY, THE FOOD FEELS BETTER

Fast food has been an undeniable success that seems to continue to gain popularity. Even more people decide to eat standing up every day. This is not good news for our digestions, which welcome some reassurance. Nor does sensory enjoyment benefit when savoring is substituted for swallowing.

Some of the measures to achieve eating in peace are: designing the day in order to have enough time to eat, chewing well, paying attention to each bite to get the most out of it, resting the food for a certain time and eating in environments relaxing and protected from stress-generating information.

10. AVOID EXCESSES

“You eat a lot after you’ve had enough,” the saying goes. Although there are signals that warn the brain that enough is enough, these can be ignored or silenced by other motivations or more powerful emotional or social pressures. Precisely, paying attention to the signals of the stomach can help to control this basic aspect of eating.

Other useful factors are, for example, bringing the right amount of food to the table, not trying to finish the portions, serving the food on small plates, not getting used to preparing very succulent desserts. And above all, learn to enjoy the pleasant sensation of getting up from the table fully, but without heaviness.

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