As much fun as it may be to swing by your favorite fast food place to grab a burger or spend a night gorging on your favorite desserts, the truth is that what you put into your body may have a big impact on your quality of life. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in a special treat every now and then, but making a regular habit of eating poorly can negatively affect your life in a number of different ways. Making the effort to eat healthy and exercise regularly can increase your energy, improve your sleep, and generally improve your life.
Making these choices may also be able to help save you money in a few different ways. First off, the healthier you are, the less you may need to spend on healthcare in the long run. Secondly, if you can manage to make most of your meals at home and include healthy and inexpensive foods in your diet, this may have a positive impact on your spending and help you reach your savings goals.
One issue that you might be facing is that you don’t know what you should be eating. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 93 million U.S. adults were affected by obesity in 2015-2016. This puts people at risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
So, how can you potentially put yourself in a position to avoid becoming a part of this statistic? You can start by educating yourself on what you should be eating, make an effort to make healthy foods the backbone of your diet, and find ways to exercise regularly.
If you’re living on a tight budget, you may think that eating healthy just isn’t affordable. After all, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, how can you regularly spend $10 on a pack of goji berries and buy yourself a $7 protein shake every morning? The truth is, there are plenty of superfoods out there that you can get at any grocery store and that won’t break the bank. Here’s a list of eight everyday superfoods for you to incorporate into your diet.
Eating spinach is a great way to get a good intake of antioxidants, which can help boost your immune system and fight of disease and infection. It can also help to fight off cancer. While it’s typically relatively expensive to buy at the grocery store, if you want to cut back on your grocery bill even more, it’s also one of the easier vegetables to grow in your home garden because it doesn’t need too much sun and has shallow roots.
If you’re looking for other sources of antioxidants, you can eat things like broccoli, asparagus, and cabbage.
Oatmeal is an inexpensive way of increasing your fiber intake, as it’s full of soluble fiber which can make you feel full for a longer period of time. This means that having some oatmeal in the mornings may be able to help stave off your snacking impulses till lunch, reducing your temptation to run to the vending machine when you feel your stomach start to grumble.
If you do want to start incorporating oatmeal into your diet regularly, try to stick with steel-cut or old-fashioned oatmeal instead of opting for “quick cook” oatmeal. While this type will cook faster, it’s also heavily processed. The more extensively the grains are processed and ground up, the less health benefits you’ll be getting. So, while the other two previously mentioned varieties might take a longer time to cook, it’s worth the wait.
Mushrooms are a hearty and healthy option to add to plenty of dishes. If you’re a vegetarian, they’re a great way to add the depth that your food may be missing when you remove meat from the equation. They’re also full of phytochemicals, which work to fight disease in your body. According to Reader’s Digest, mushrooms are filled with minerals that your body often doesn’t get enough of, like copper and potassium.
If you’re looking to cut calories, replacing the beef a dish calls for with mushrooms can help you lighten the dish, and you can replace some of that protein you’re missing out on by adding beans to your meal.
Walnuts are a great source of healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your LDL and simultaneously raise your HDL, or “good” cholesterol. But their benefits don’t stop there. Omega-3s can also help you to fight off cancer and improve your mood, and walnuts are full of antioxidants and protein. Eating nuts everyday, like walnuts, peanuts, pecans, almonds, or hazelnuts, may be beneficial for Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome, which could help to reduce your risk of heart disease.
If you’re looking to get your daily intake of vitamin C, look no further than a lemon. A single lemon will have around 51 percent of what you need in a day. Some of the other benefits of lemons include:
If you’re looking for other sources of vitamin C in fruit, you can eat things like grapefruits, strawberries, oranges, and cantaloupe.
While you don’t want to eat an excessive amount of any type of chocolate, eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate can do all sorts of good for your body. It may help to reduce your blood pressure and “bad” levels of cholesterol, know as LDL. It’s also full of antioxidants and flavonoids, which work to fight of cancer and infections in your body. If you’re looking for other sources of flavonoids, you can find it in peanuts, apples, onions, and red wine.
Pasta is a staple dish in many households, so why not make a simple adjustment to turn this into something a little healthier? By switching to whole grain pasta, you’ll be getting 60 percent more fiber than you would from regular pasta.
Why are whole grains important? According to a study from Tufts University, people who consume three or more servings of whole grains every day can lower their risk of contracting a metabolic syndrome, something that can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes, by 30 percent. Whole grain pasta is a great and inexpensive way of adding some whole grains into your diet.
Beans are one of the best foods to turn to if you’re looking for something healthy, inexpensive, and versatile. If you’re looking to lose weight, they’re a hardy food that’s low in calories and also a great source of fiber and antioxidants. They can also lower your risk of breast cancer and heart disease.
It’s normal to struggle to commit to eating healthy foods on a regular basis. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen, have a busy schedule that leaves you little time to cook, or feel like you don’t have the knowledge or budget to keep up with a healthy diet, there are all sorts of things that could be holding you back. But finding healthy and simple foods to incorporate into your diet doesn’t need to be so difficult.
While it’ll take some effort and time to adjust to your new diet and lifestyle, the benefits of healthy eating may outweigh the initial hump you need to get over. We hope the simple foods we’ve listed here can help you on your journey to a healthier life!