You don't need to eliminate all fat from your diet. But for good health, try to replace foods high in saturated fat with foods that include healthier polyunsaturated fats. Start by using oil in place of solid fats. For example, try olive oil for sauteing and canola oil for baking.
Too much salt in your diet contributes to high blood pressure. Over time, this can raise the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Less salt is better, especially if you're sensitive to sodium. Keeping the saltshaker out of sight can help. It also pays to follow these tips: 1. Eat fresh foods rather than the canned or processed variety. 2. Choose low-sodium varieties of prepared foods. 3. Use herbs and spices to flavor your food.
Thanks to a large amount of sugar and caffeine, energy drinks might give you a temporary energy boost. But too much sugar from energy drinks can add extra pounds. And too much caffeine can cause adverse side effects, such as nervousness, stomach upset, irritability, increased heart rate and insomnia. There are better ways to boost your energy. For example, get enough sleep, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
Fiber is probably best known for its ability to help with constipation. But fiber also can lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease. How can you get more fiber? Choose cereals with whole-wheat, bran or fiber in the name. Switch to whole-grain breads and pastas. Experiment with brown rice, wild rice, barley and bulgur wheat. Increase fiber in your diet gradually over a few weeks. Also drink plenty of water; fiber works best when it absorbs water.
That morning cup of coffee or early afternoon soda is probably OK. But more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, or more than about four cups of coffee, can cause insomnia, restlessness, headaches and other problems. Start paying attention to how much caffeine you're getting from foods and beverages. Check labels. If you decide to cut back, do it gradually. For example, drink a smaller cup of coffee each day. This will help your body get used to the lower levels of caffeine and lessen potential withdrawal effects.
Do you know how much sodium is in the foods you eat? Most of the sodium in a typical diet comes from processed and prepared foods. Another major source of sodium is condiments. One tablespoon of soy sauce, for example, has about 1,000 milligrams of sodium. To scale back the sodium in your diet, eat more fresh foods and fewer processed foods.
Saturated fats and trans fats raise total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Reduce saturated fats and trans fats by cutting use of butter, lard, shortening and margarine when cooking. Consider these tips when cooking and baking: 1. Saute with olive oil instead of butter. 2. Use olive oil in salad dressings and marinades. 3. Use canola oil when baking.
Get the facts on products that make food and drinks sweeter.
You need both types of fiber in your diet. Soluble, which dissolves in water, can help lower cholesterol and glucose levels. Good sources of soluble fiber include oats, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots and barley. Insoluble fiber, which doesn't dissolve in water, promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and can help with constipation or irregular stools. Good sources of insoluble fiber include whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts and many vegetables.
Food labels can help you learn important information about what you're eating, including the calorie count and sodium content. Knowing how to read food labels is especially important if you have a health condition, such as high blood pressure, and need to follow a special diet. It also makes it easier to compare similar foods to see which is healthier.
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