With so many wellness tips from so-called nutrition experts available online nowadays, you can quickly get confused about what you should or should not do to live a healthy life. This happens because knowing for sure what experts do or do not recommend is getting quite difficult. Often, qualified experts have their disagreements when it comes to health and nutrition.
To make transitioning to a healthier life easier, we have put together a list of scientifically-backed tips you can safely start to consider if you are planning to put unhealthy habits aside this year.
Lower liquid sugar intakes
You may have heard that consuming too much sugar can be bad for your health, but what you may not know is that liquid sugars are worse than stable sugar. This happens because the number of calories from liquid sugar is measured differently by your brain. So, when you drink soda, you end up intaking more total calories than when you eat a piece of chocolate, for example.
This is why sugary drinks are often associated with obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Also, don’t think that drinking fruit juice is better. Certain fruit juices can be as bad as soda, because they contain the same amount of sugar. And no, the small amounts of vitamins they provide does not compensate for the harmful effects of sugar.
Coffee is not your enemy
Some people say that drinking coffee might increase the risk of heart disease and slow down growth, but that might not be entirely true.
Evidence shows that coffee may not only boost energy levels but also improve memory, mood, reaction time, and mental function in general. For some, coffee may even help burn fat, which is why caffeine is found in almost all types of fat-burning supplements.
But, perhaps the most important evidence that, if consumed with moderation, coffee can be your best friend, is the fact that it has been linked to reduced risks of Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Get enough sleep at night
I cannot stress enough the importance of getting enough sleep at night. Poor sleep can take a toll on your entire life, from loss of appetite to mood swings and overall reduced physical and mental performance.
But studies have found that it’s not only about how many hours of sleep you get at night but the quality of sleep as well. If you sleep on a bad mattress or pillow, you risk developing back and neck problems, so it may be time to say goodbye to your old mattress and consider buying a new one. If you need help deciding, you can always check the best mattress reviews online and ensure you make an educated choice.
Drink enough water
You are probably tired of how many times people told you to drink at least 2 liters of water per day. The truth is, they are not wrong. Drinking enough water has the potential to increase your metabolism by up to 30%, which is why, if you plan on losing weight, you should make water your best friend.
The best time to drink water is before meals, with studies showing that drinking 500 ml of water before each meal can increase weight loss by up to 44%. This happens because water can increase satiety and improve metabolic rates.
Additionally, drinking enough water can also help with several problems, including headaches, constipation, and kidney stones.
Develop a balanced diet
If you are planning on losing weight, restraining from eating certain foods may help, but the best thing you can do is ensuring you eat a well-balanced diet. This means ensuring you get all the vitamins and nutrients you need from your food. And even if losing weight is not your main goal, eating healthy should still be on your priority list.
Consider introducing nuts into your diet, as they are high in good fats, magnesium, vitamin E, and of course, many other nutrients. On top of that, evidence suggests that your body only absorbs 85-90% of the calories of nuts, meaning it can boost your metabolism. Fatty fish is yet another source of good proteins and fats, as it usually is loaded in omega-4 fatty acids.
Make sure to include fruits and vegetables in your diet, as they contain prebiotic fibers, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
If you plan on losing weight, eating enough protein can help boost your metabolism and make you feel full, even though you end up consuming fewer calories.
Although I don’t need to mention this, do ensure you stay away from processed junk food, as it is usually low in proteins and fibers and mostly contains unhealthy ingredients, such as refined grains and sugar.
Exercise, exercise, exercise
Living a sedentary life can do nothing but harm to both your physical and mental health, so make sure you make time to exercise at least three times a week. Exercising helps release endorphins, which reduce your perception of pain and triggers positive feelings in your body and brain, leaving you charged for the day. This is why it is better to exercise in the morning to ensure you start the day off in a positive mood.
Cardio and aerobic exercise helps reduce belly fat, improving your metabolism and preventing harmful fat from building up around your organs. Cardio can mean anything from taking an aerobics class to jogging in the park, as long as you put your entire body to work.
If you want to strengthen your muscles, and better your body composition, don’t forget to include weightlifting into your exercise routine. Besides this, lifting weights also helps improve insulin sensitivity and keep you away from health problems.