If you want to turn your life around by taking care of your health, a good place to start is with your diet. You can exercise all you want, but if you don’t pay attention to what you eat, you will still suffer certain health issues. A lot of people don’t have any awareness when it comes to what they eat. They know that junk food is bad, but they don’t really care until related health problems arise.
The problem is that the health consequences of eating bad food take time to accumulate. Only after many years will you start to feel the consequences of bad nutrition, and by then, it’s too late. Eating bad food over a long period of time can cause many severe diseases and conditions that can be fatal. That being said, overdoing it with healthy foods and even drinking way too much water every day can also be detrimental to your health. Moderation is a key component of a healthy diet.
So pay attention to what you eat and how much you eat. It doesn’t take a lot of effort and it helps you to practice self-control, which is a valuable virtue. If you still aren’t sure where to start, here is a list of foods you should avoid.
1. Shark meat
Getting bitten by a shark is bad, but eating its meat is bad as well. Shark meat contains high levels of mercury and, when a person eats it, the high mercury concentration can cause blindness, loss of coordination and, in rare cases, even death. Scientists believe this meat has such high levels of mercury because sharks feast on huge quantities of smaller fish.
If you want to eat similar meats, but without so much mercury, try light canned tuna, shrimp, catfish, pollock, or salmon instead. Just to be safe, you should avoid eating tile fish, king mackerel, and swordfish, since their meat also has a lot of mercury.
2. Baked sweets
Muffins, cookies, cakes, and doughnuts are all delicious and tempting sweets people find hard to resist. But, all of these baked sweets are pure sugar bombs. One typical doughnut has between 250 to 500 calories and can have over 60 grams of sugar. These are a great example of foods that people know are bad for their health, but they eat them just because they’re tasty, and in the end, their health suffers.
These kind of goods can cause a lot of digestive problems, obesity, and excessive amounts of sugar can lead to many cardiovascular diseases, as well as teeth problems. To satisfy your cravings, you can eat dark chocolate or protein bars — in moderation, of course.
3. Cereal with lots of sugar
A lot of people like to eat cereal for breakfast because cereals are supposed to be light and healthy — but are they? Even cereals that aren’t packed with marshmallows have a lot of sugar. If you add up the high gluten concentration, eating a lot of this food will guarantee inflammation within your stomach lining. It’s better to go for oatmeal, while making sure that you choose steel-cut oats. Prepackaged packets of oatmeal are almost as unhealthy as sugary cereals.
As an added benefit, oats are also sodium-free. Sure, they have a dull taste, but they absorb anything you mix them with, so choose something healthy and tasty.
4. White chocolate
Not all chocolate is the same. The health effects of white and black chocolate are quite different. For example, dark chocolate is a very good antioxidant and it is one of the healthiest chocolates out there. Still, this doesn’t mean that you should eat a bar every day. On the other hand, its cousin, white chocolate, is quite unhealthy — three-ounces worth has over 45 grams of sugar.
Eating too much white chocolate can lead to serious obesity issues and tooth decay. In most cases, you should avoid eating chocolate, but if you must, eat only one ounce of dark chocolate per day. Chocolate is also one of the foods that causes constipation, so don’t overeat it.
5. French fries
You’ve probably heard this one before, but it is important to know just how bad french fries really are. Their high levels of trans-fats and oils can lead to hearth disease and hearth attacks.
Potatoes also have a high glycemic index that can lead to increased insulin levels in your body, and I can’t stress enough how bad this really is. Fries also have a lot of acrylamide, which is a carcinogen substance that forms at very high temperatures.
On seemingly every margarine package, you can read about how it’s cholesterol-free, and because of that, people assume that this is a healthy alternative to butter. There might be no cholesterol, but margarine contains tons of trans-fats. What is ironic is the fact that trans-fats damage blood vessel walls and cause cholesterol levels to skyrocket. This leads to an increased risks of heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases.
If you want to find healthy fats for cooking with, you should stick with omega-3 fatty acids and stay away from trans-fats.
7. Fish sticks
Just because they’re called fish sticks, people automatically assume they’re healthy — this is wrong! Fish sticks are fried in oil and are almost as bad as fries, especially because they are covered in fried bread. Fresh fish is very good and healthy, but fried fish sticks are very unhealthy and should be avoided.
8. Flavored yogurts
All of those so-called “healthy” small cups of fruit yogurts are in fact rich with sugar and far from good for your wellbeing. Basically, you are eating a desert in a small cup, and eating yogurt for breakfast or a snack is quite bad. By doing this, you raise your blood sugar and dehydrate your body. If you like yogurt, buy the good old original yogurt or plain Greek and add a little flavor with a small amount of honey or some chunks of fresh fruit.
9. Fruit juice
Yes, fruit juice. You might think that sodas are unhealthy, and they are, but fruit juice is almost as bad. These drinks are full of sugar — even those that are “100 % fruit” have a lot of sugar in them. Avoid drinking any kind of juice you can buy at your local store and instead get a blender. Buy fresh fruit and make your own juice. This is the only real healthy way of drinking fruit juice.
10. Gluten-free food
Gluten-free products are becoming more and more popular each day and they are promoted as healthy. A lot of shops, and customers as well, think that they are a better option for a healthy diet. The truth is that these products are no healthier than the rest. On the contrary, most of these gluten-free goods are usually filled with extra calories and salt.
Furthermore, manufacturers like to add a lot of fat so that their products can look springy and tasty. Avoiding one problem by creating a new one is not a solution, but rather a substitution.
Basically, what you need to remember is to avoid all food that has artificial sweeteners, highly processed foods, and to create a healthy diet that has all the nutrients that your body needs each day, without excessive calories. If you sometimes eat too many calories, make sure that you burn them with regular exercise.
Featured photo credit: Karolina Grabowska.STAFFAGE via pexels.com
Set a goal for yourself
“I’ll eat less unhealthy snacks from now on!”