1. Focus on PROTEIN. Make sure to consume protein at every meal, specifically lean proteins. Meats that fall into this category are fish, grilled chicken, turkey, steak, bison and buffalo. Protein helps to regulate blood sugar, strengthens your immune system and provides the raw materials for your neurotransmitters (brain messengers). For developing athletes try to get one gram of protein per pound of body weight
2. Reduce your consumption of simple sugars. This includes cakes, pastries, and any desserts in general.
3. Eat more vegetables – Yes the green kind – broccoli is our favorite. Try to get more vegetables than fruits as they are often higher in fiber and also provide more anti- inflammatory properties that promote recovery.
4. Keep grains to a minimum. This includes rice and bread, regardless if it is wheat-based or white flour. Grains cause huge spikes in blood sugar and the hormone insulin. High blood sugar damages the middle layer of your arteries in addition to premature aging through a process known as glycosylation. Yes, grains are an integral part of the food pyramid, but these guidelines were made based on financial decisions and not on your HEALTH! It may interest you to know that the first nutrition programs in colleges and universities were funded by General Mills. With the just released food plate – grains are not considered foundational any longer.
5. Start with small changes to your diet. For example, your last meal of the day should contain the least amount of carbohydrates. Your metabolism begins to slow down in the evening as the body prepares to regenerate itself during the sleep cycle.
6. Eat several small meals throughout the day. Most nutrition experts recommend 5-6 small meals a day, as this helps to increase metabolism and avoids fluctuations in blood sugar. This does not need to be accomplished all at once. If you are currently eating 3 meals a day, add in two protein-based snacks during the day. After this becomes a habit, attempt to add another protein-based snack.
7. Read your labels. The more names that you cannot pronounce, the worse this food isfor your health. Don’t consume small chemical factories. If you are looking for a good protein bar look for no more than a 2:1 carb/protein ratio. More than two to one carb/protein ratio means the bar is more like a “candy” bar than protein bar.
8. Include healthy fats in your diet. Examples are almonds, macadamia nuts, Brazilian nuts, etc. These are brain food and help with satiation (feeling full).
9. Lastly, but certainly not least, consume a quality fish oil. Our ancestors consumed a diet that had an Omega 6: omega 3 ratio of 1:1. Today, it is estimated that this ratio is now between 20:1 and 50:1. This creates an inflammatory environment in the bodyleading to many of today’s chronic diseases. Omega 3 fatty acids have a host of benefitsthat are beyond the scope of this article. Briefly, Omega 3 fatty acids help to increase serotonin and dopamine in the brain, help nourish your joints, increase memory and learning, provide a cardio-protective effect, and pretty much everything else you would associate with a state of well-being. Many suggest than an adequate dose needs to be at least 4 grams per day, always taken with meals. The dose should be spread throughout the day, so taking the capsules with each meal is appropriate. If you are looking for a positive mood boost, you may need to consume a minimum of 6 grams per day. The ONLY contraindication for taking this nutrient is if you are currently taking Coumadin (Warfarin) or you have hemophilia.