Six tweaks for a healthier 2016
The New Year is always a good time to start off on a clean slate. So there’s no better time to list six simple and very doable healthy tweaks that you can realistically make. Like starting tomorrow! Trust me, your body will thank you for it.
Tweak: Ditch artificial sweeteners
So you think ditching the white stuff for an artificial sweetener like Splenda or Sweet-and-Low to placate your taste buds is a good idea? “People believe that artificial sweeteners are great because they provide sweetness minus the calories. What they don’t realize is that these sweeteners are 600 times sweeter than sugar and can cause cravings for intensely sweet foods all day,” says nutritionist Naini Setalvad. Besides, recent research suggests that Sucralose, the chemical that gives Splenda and Sugar Free-Natura its sweetness, can mess with the body’s insulin response. Solution: Switch to a fibre-rich sweet fruit like an apple or pear to go with your coffee. Not just will it satisfy your sweet tooth, it will keep you full for hours so you won’t be tempted to mindlessly graze.
Tweak: Get the right amount of sleep
We all know what it’s like to feel bleary eyed. There’s enough been said about the importance of getting enough sleep. As general physician Dr. Raveena Shah says, “Getting enough sleep is linked to everything from serotonin production and blood sugar balance to immunity, and heart health.” It’s only when we sleep that our bodies repair and recharge themselves. Ideally, you should aim for seven hours every night, though some people may need more. Trial and error is the best way to figure out how much sleep you need. If you find it hard to catch adequate zzzs try a melatonin supplement like GNC Melatonin Cap 3mg (60 Tabs).
Tweak: Snack smarter
It’s 3 o’clock and hunger pangs strike! Mid-day snack attacks can wreck the hardest won battles. But that doesn’t mean you can’t snack between meals. “In fact research suggests eating two or three healthy snacks through the day boosts your metabolism, improves weight control and reduces obesity,” says Setalvad. But note, there’s a right and a wrong way to snack. If your idea of a snack is a samosa or grilled cheese sandwich, think again. Ideally a snack should be no more than 100-200 calories. That’s an apple and ten almonds or two tablespoons of hummus with cucumber and carrot sticks, or a bowl of low fat yogurt sprinkled with sesame and flax seeds. The healthy fats in these snacks will keep you full till your next meal. At a crunch you could even have a healthy soup like Unived Fybur, Instant Health Soup, 5g Hi-Fiber -7 Sachetson the go.
Tweak: Replenish B vitamins
Winter isn’t the only time to be concerned about your vitamin intake. You should pay special attention to your B vitamin intake, even if you’re a non-vegetarian. “B vitamins like folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12, are essential for proper metabolic function, but get depleted quickly and must be consumed daily,” says Setalvad. Besides if you like to party, you need to stock up because alcohol depletes B vitamins. Nykaa recommends HealthVit B-Vit Vitamin B Complex With Bioton, Vitamin C & Folic Acid (60 Tablets). Vitamin B rich foods include fruits and leafy greens, whole grains, fish and eggs.
Tweak: Make Apple Cider Vinegar your BFF
The last few years have seen apple cider vinegar been touted a cure-all for everything from curing hiccups to treating diabetes, cancer, heart problems, high cholesterol and weight issues. But recent studies have shown the sour stuff can keep your blood sugar levels balanced. One study of people with type 2 diabetes (who were not on insulin) were given two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime and their glucose levels were lower by morning. Another study at Arizona State University found that insulin resistant people who drank a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water before eating a high carbohydrate meal had lower blood sugar afterward. Scientists believe the anti-glycemic effect of the acid is the key. Give Nature’s Bounty Original Apple Cider Vinegar a try.
Tweak: Increase your probiotic intake
There’s no dearth of hype around probiotic rich foods from dahi and dark chocolate to pickles and kimchi. There’s enough scientific evidence to back this fad. As Setalvad says, “Probiotics are an important part of a daily routine of healthy eating because they naturally ‘cleanse’ our bodies by eliminating toxins from our digestive tract. When our digestive tract is functioning efficiently, so are our hormones and metabolism.” Essentially, probiotics contain trillions of healthy bacteria that help to keep your gut in top shape. If you’re too rushed to eat probiotic-rich foods, you could try a supplement like GNC Probiotic Complex Capsule 1Bn (100 Capsules).