When it comes to a better body there are some small steps that make the biggest changes. These are my simple food swaps to boost your energy, well being and weight loss.
1. Swap Regular Milk for Organic Milk
If you make one organic switch you should make it milk. The jump in price is worth the lower levels of hormones in regular milk. Research also suggests that organic milk comes higher in omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for good health.
If you don’t drink regular milk you might like soy, but because it is phyto-oestrogenic it has been shown to boost oestrogen levels in the body so it’s best avoided if you’re under 50 or male – I prefer to recommend rice, almond or oat milk as great alternatives. Try making your own nut milk by following my simple recipe.
2. Swap Bananas for Blueberries
Berries are significantly lower in sugar than bananas. They are also extremely rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients which have powerful anti-ageing benefits. Plus, as we’re at the start of the berry season, it also means you’ll get the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals out of them too.
3. Swap Diet Drinks for Sparkling Water
Diet drinks may have low calories but again perpetuate the desire for sweet tasting things later. Some studies have shown we subconsciously make up for those empty calories that our body has expected from a sweet tasting drink naturally. Have fizzy water with a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice instead. The fresh lime also gives you the added benefit of a vitamin C boost.
4. Swap Nuts for Seeds
Remember, not all nuts are made equal. Some are roasted and salted making them a less healthy option – and peanuts can contain goitergens, a substance known to inhibit thyroid function.
Swap from nuts as a snack to mixed seeds – think sunflower, sesame and pumpkin are particularly. They are easier to digest for many, while being denser in minerals including magnesium which 75 per cent of women are estimated to be low in.
5. Swap Coffee for Green Tea
Caffeine may give you a short term jolt but green tea contains the antioxidant catechin, which actually helps with longer term weight loss. If you’ve already made the green tea leap of faith take it a step further and try Oolong tea, the taste is creamy and more similar to black tea but contains even more health and weight loss boosting properties than green tea. Try my Matcha Green Tea Latte.
6. Swap low fat Yogurt for Plain Yogurt
Flavored yogurts may be low fat but it simply means they contain sugar and sweeteners which can encourage you to want more sugary food – have plain low fat and add fresh fruit instead.
7. Swap Milk Chocolate for Organic Dark Chocolate
Most chocolate bars are high in sugar and come with zero nutritional value. However, dark chocolate is naturally lower in sugar – a small bar of Green & Blacks dark chocolate contains less than half the sugar of your average KitKat. Dark chocolate has also been shown to increase blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of stroke.
8. Swap Fruit Smoothies for Green Smoothies
Keep smoothies green to boost the rejuvenation of the body. Try green veg blended with avocado (for the vitamin A, E and monounsaturated good fats), coconut milk (rich in lauric acid which is antimicrobial & antibacterial properties for digestive health), a teaspoon of linseed or flaxseed oil (rich in omega 3 & 6) and mixed berries (rich in anthocyanidins which have antioxidant properties as well as supporting circulation). This is an excellent skin tonic too. And stick to ‘smoothies’, rather than ‘juices’ which typically have no skin or fibre in them. Read my Green Smoothies: The Basics for some delicious recipes.
9. Swap Sweetener for Stevia
Artificial sweeteners have been linked with a number of health concerns – it’s claimed that aspartame has 92 potential side effects – from skin rashes to depression. Stevia on the other hand is a completely natural leaf extract containing no carbohydrates or calories. Studies show that stevia could also help lower blood pressure in individuals with elevated blood pressure.
10. Swap Table salt for Colored Salt
A little salt is fine for you, but make sure it’s Himalayan pink salt or grey Celtic Sea Salt; both still contain essential minerals. A study by the University of Gratz in Austria also linked Himalayan crystal salt to better sleep, concentration and energy levels.