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A healthy lifestyle should be fun and enjoyable, not stressful. Unfortunately, with so much information out there about healthy eating, dieting, and weight loss, the average American increasingly finds food complicated. So, they end up seeking nutrition hacks on social media.
What’s the solution? It’s “simple”, eat real food that is as close to the source as possible. It should also have few ingredients on the label, or better yet, should have no label at all. People looking for the “complete package” needs to stop looking for food in packages.
Why? Because real food has a relatively high nutrient-density, which means it has a lot of nutrients per calorie that leaves you well-nourished and pleasantly satisfied, rather than hungry and craving more. Real food also regulates your hormones, fosters a healthy immune system and gut bacteria, and allows you to reach your diet or weight loss goals. Whole and unprocessed super foods are the original and the perennial smart drugs.
Real health hacks lie in making better food choices to attain your goals. Eating a balanced diet that consists of all the right foods will see you achieving your health goals naturally. So, we are bringing you both the health hacks and facts that you need to make smart decisions. We understand that you are looking for health hacks that work, not just ones to experiment with.
It has been scientifically proven that making the right food choices can help improve memory, sharpen cognitive function and mental performance, lead to better sleep and help even healthy people attain meaningful health improvements. All without prescription drugs or unnecessary side effects.
If you find healthy eating a challenge, just remember the following simple nutrition hacks that you can lean on when making food decisions:
Good Fat Is Good
Fat does not make you fat. I know that is hard for most people to understand. It just seems so logical that if you eat fat you will become fat. But, our biology is much more complicated than that.
Fat has been vilified for years by food manufacturers to help them sell more manufactured foods. Replacing the good fat of whole real foods with cheap oils and sugar.
Healthy dietary fats are essential for making healthy cells, producing hormones and signaling molecules, and providing energy and energy storage. In short, fat is good. It is important to learn how to re-introduce and use good healthy fats.
Sugar Is Bad
Sugar, quite simply, is what really makes you fat. The food manufacturers have snuck sugar into everything we eat. The reason our waistlines keep expanding is because of this simple fact. Fifty years ago it was pretty easy to know when you were eating sugar.
Now, it is very difficult to really police what processed foods have sugar and which do not. Do you know how many different names there are for sugar? At least 56 different names.
We are eating a lot more sugar than ever. A lot less healthy fats. And our waistlines are growing.
Sugar increases your body insulin levels and facilitates fat storage, which leads to weight gain. If your lifestyle does not immediately burn off the sugar consumed then it is often stored quickly as fuel (body fat) for future demands.
Consuming too much sugar can also cause a bunch of negative health consequences. Elevated sugar consumption increases the risk factors for heart disease such as obesity, inflammation, and high blood pressure.
Carbs Are Kind of Okay
Carbs are tricky because of how we often see them. Most of the carbs we see in our normal diets come from highly processed foods (white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, donuts, white flour, and breakfast cereals – just to name a few). What we see fewer of in our normal diets are the whole unprocessed carbs.
A lot of people have heard of the Blue Zone diets. Blue Zone diets jump out as “odd” to most of us because of the high levels of carbs – often making up over 65% of the caloric intake.
So, how can you be healthy and be eating 65% carbs? Well, by eating whole and unprocessed carbs. So, rather than highly processed foods you would be eating pure unprocessed foods.
Some Blue Zone carbs would be in the form of sweet potatoes, nuts, beans, fruits and veggies (low sugar), whole white or brown rice, other root vegetables. Keeping these foods in their “pure” form with the lowest levels of processing is key to maintaining the underlying health value of the foods.
“Good carbs” are good because they provide energy; are sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals; and make you feel full for longer. Opt for pure carbs and avoid processed and simple carbs (sugars).
Fiber Is Important
Dietary fiber helps with food digestion and elimination, regulates blood sugar levels, and balances intestinal pH levels. No surprise here, but you want to look for foods that are high in natural fiber. You are probably starting to see a trend here. Natural, pure and unprocessed are the keys to maximizing your lean body hacks.
A lot of people will try to lean on fiber supplements to help them reach their daily fiber goals. Remember that supplements should be a form of supplementation. This means that they should be relied upon only if you are unable to get the necessary fiber you need from your diet.
There may be a variety of reasons why it is hard to get all you need from your diet. In those cases a supplement is appropriate to lean on. Otherwise, first strive to get your fiber from your whole, unprocessed and pure foods.
You Should Get Salty
Salt, along with good fats, have received a very undeserved black eye over the past 40 years or so. Do we eat too much table salt? Yes, because that kind of sodium finds it way into everything (remember, humans crave three things – sugar, salt and fat. For years we have been told no fat so we have been inundated with the other two – sugar and salt).
Traditional table salt has iodine, which is an important essential mineral that we need in our bodies. However, this type of salt lacks the other great minerals that you can find in more complete salt – like sea salt and Himalayan pink salt. These are chocked full of calcium, iron, zinc and potassium. These minerals help to act as natural (there it is again) electrolytes in the body.
One great lean body hack to get more “good sodium” in your diet is daily solay water. Solay water, quite simply, is salt water. Making it couldn’t be easier.
You purchase high quality Himalayan pink salt and a glass mason jar with a plastic lid (not metal). You drop a few chunks of salt into the jar, fill it up and let it sit overnight with the lid on.
In the morning the water will have absorbed all of the salt that it can hold. There should be a small amount of salt at the bottom of the jar. If all the salt is gone then you should add more and let it continue to absorb.
Now, when you want to have some solay water you take a teaspoon of your salt water and mix it with a full cup of regular water. That is all you need. This is a highly concentrated teaspoon of salt water. You can add in some lemon or lime juice to spruce it up. This daily (or at most 2 per day) glass of solay water will help you stay hydrated and full of electrolytes.
Lean Body Hack Foods
1. Good Protein Sources
Protein is an essential nutrient that your body needs to grow, repair cells, and work properly. It is present in a broad range of foods. All lean body hacks require that you consume enough protein in your diet. Often, the amount of protein you need varies depending on your weight, age, gender, and health.
You can simply achieve your daily protein needs from eating a balanced diet. Look for the highest quality protein sources you can find. Remember that you are not what you eat. Rather, you are what you eat ate. This means that the health of the steak you are eating is structured in major part by what the cow ate. If the cow ate garbage feed then you will be eating garbage meat. You are what you eat ate.
High quality protein makes a difference in your long-term health. Some good sources of dietary protein include:
- Wild seafood like salmon and tuna (avoid farm raised seafood at all cost)
- Whole bird meat poultry like free-range chicken (don’t be scared to venture past a skinless, boneless chicken breast)
- Grass-fed beef that also contains iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 (again, don’t be scared to venture past the normal cuts of beef)
- Grass-fed whole fat dairies such as milk, cheese, or yoghurt that also contain calcium and vitamin D
- Seeds and nuts (just make sure they aren’t roasted in inflammatory vegetable oils as that will mitigate most of their benefits)
- Free-range eggs
- Legumes such as lentils and beans. They are inexpensive and loaded with a high fiber content
2. Resistant Starches
These unique starches are a great way to get more carbs into your diet without risk of carb weight gain (if this is a concern of yours).
Resistant starches go through your digestive system without the latter breaking it down and absorbing it as glucose. It then ferments in your large intestines giving off prebiotic-rich fibers that feed your good gut bacteria.
Resistant starches help keep you full without the resultant high-calorie content effect, which makes them the perfect lean body hack and suitable addition to a weight loss or healthy diet. These starches also provide bulk in your gut, release fatty acids to fight inflammatory diseases, prevent insulin resistance, and do not cause as much bloating as other fibers.
There are four categories of resistant starch categories:
- Grains, seeds, and legumes
- Granular starches found primarily in raw potatoes, green bananas, basmati rice, and some types of corn
- Retrograded starches, which result from regular carbohydrates that turn into a resistant form of starch after cooking and cooling
- Human-made starches that undergo chemical modification
Heat changes the amount of resistance in these starches with green bananas, oats, and plantains losing some of their resistant starch property when cooked.
3. Good Dietary Fats
Good dietary fats and oils are naturally occurring in plant and animal foods. Welcome them back into your diet. Remember, humans love three things: salt, sugar and fat. Bring back the fat.
You can use them for cooking and seasoning, or add them to processed foods. Fats provide energy, help with nutrient abortion by the body, and improve nerve and brain function. Sources include:
- Olive oil: It contains vitamins K, E, and powerful antioxidants, some of which can fight inflammation. It also helps lower blood pressure and improves cholesterol markers and overall cardiovascular health.
- Avocado: Avocados are 77% fat, by calories, which makes them higher in fat content than most animal foods. They are also an excellent source of fiber and potassium and have significant cardiovascular health benefits.
- Ghee: It’s a rich source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K that promote brain and bone health and boost immunity.
- Grass-fed lard: The healthiest lard comes from grass-fed pigs (pastured or foraged). It has high levels of vitamin D.
- Cheese: It’s incredibly nutritious and a great source of minerals, vitamins, quality proteins, and healthy fats.
- Fish: Fatty fish such as salmon contains essential nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids.
- Nuts: They contain high levels of healthy fats, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, and are a suitable plant-based protein source.
4. Low Sugar Fruits
Fruits are a healthy way to add nutrients to your diet and cater to your sweet tooth. Still, some fruit, such as mangoes and bananas (green bananas are good – the sugar content increases as they ripen and turn yellow/brown), have a considerable high amount of sugar, which can be counterproductive for people looking to lose weight or lower their blood insulin levels.
Therefore, low-sugar fruits are perfect nutrition hacks that allow you to reduce your daily sugar intake without compromising your health or taste. What’s more, all these fruits also contain high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants. They include:
- Berries: They are high in fiber and contain minimal sugar content with only about eight grams of sugar in eight medium-sized berries. They include strawberries and blackberries.
- Avocado: These fruits are almost sugar-free.
- Grapefruit: This favored breakfast food contains around 11 grams of sugar in a medium-sized fruit.
- Cantaloupe: It’s low in sugar and high in water content, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Oranges: A medium-sized orange contains about 14 grams of digestible sugar.
- Peaches: A medium-sized peach contains 13 grams of sugar.
5. Colorful Veggies
Without a doubt, the daily consumption of colorful vegetables and fruits will improve your health. However, it’s no longer about the number of servings you take, but the variety you pick. Multivitamins and other supplements are just that, supplements to your primary source of minerals and vitamins.
Anthocyanins are pigments that give vegetables and fruit their vibrant color; they also serve as powerful antioxidants. Some good examples of colorful veggies include:
- Swiss chard
- Japanese sweet potatoes
- Red cabbage
6. Good Salt
Salt does not only add flavor to your food, but it’s also a good source of sodium. The body needs salt to function correctly and maintain normal nerve function and heart rhythm.
- Himalayan pink salt: Many healthy home cooks swear by pink Himalayan salt for its ultimate mineral-rich seasoning purposes. It’s also the purest sea salt product available.
- Sea salt: It’s derived from the sea. It is pure, clean, and available in fine and course options. It comes in different colors including white, red, grey, black, and pink.
7. Cognition Enhancers
We love nootropic supplements here at EMH. We have a great article for you to check out here on this topic. But remember, healthy individuals need to use supplements for supplementation when they are unable to get enough of a target vitamin or mineral in their diet. So, before you hit up the supplements, let’s start with some real food.
Studies suggested that the following foods can be considered “cognition enhances”. Eating proper food boosts brain functions in a healthy and enjoyable way. No need to run out and buy a cupboard full of ginkgo biloba supplements to get a brain boost…look to foods first. Here are 12 foods you can target to add to your diet:
- Fatty fish (this tuna, sardines, mackerel and the like)
- Dark chocolate (shoot for a cocoa percentage over 80%)
- Berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and the like)
- Nuts and seeds (either raw or roasted in non-inflammatory oils such as coconut)
- Whole grains (especially if resistant)
- Black coffee
- Natural soy products
- Eggs (look for pasture raised)
- Broccoli (especially broccoli sprouts)
- Kale (really most dark leafy greens – spinach, radish greens, etc.)
Over to You
There you have it, a complete breakdown of lean body hacks to help you on your journey to a healthy lifestyle. Thank you for reading this article till the end and hope you now have more than a few nutritional hacks to get started.
Check out our other EMH (Eat. Move. Hack) posts for more inspiration and resources to make your diet changes a success. Also, stay tuned for more lean body hacks posts coming soon.