Healthy diet doesn’t have to be boring. Some foods that may seem like guilty pleasures can be good for you. What matters is how you prepare them and how often they’re on your table. Take pasta: It’s low in fat and salt and keeps you satisfied longer, so you’re less likely to snack or overeat. But watch what you put on it. If you cover it in a rich alfredo sauce, you can boost the fat and salt. Try some whole-grain pasta with olive oil and a bit of Parmesan instead.
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It has to be the right kind: We’re not talking prime rib or greasy hamburgers. Lean red meat – when you’ve trimmed off all the fat you can see — is a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc, and iron. And in small portions, it’s been shown to lower LDL, the “bad” cholesterol.
Junk food, right? Not so much. It’s a whole grain that’s loaded with fiber, which helps fill you up and keeps you regular. It also has vitamin B, manganese, and magnesium, as well as antioxidants, which may protect you against disease and cell damage. The key to keeping it healthy is to go easy on the salt and butter.
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This natural sweetener is full of antioxidants that can protect your cells and be good for inflammation. It also can help with the mix of bacteria in your gut, which is important for digestion and getting nutrients from food.
Cooled potatoes have something called “resistant starch,” which acts like fiber and can help keep you regular and your gut healthy. But hot or cold, potatoes have lots of nutrients, like potassium and magnesium. Look for low-fat, low-calorie mayonnaise to dress the salad.
Doctors used to warn people off coffee if they were at risk for heart disease or a stroke. But research now shows that even heavy coffee drinking doesn’t raise your chances of those. And having three to five cups a day might even lower them. But too much joe can make you jittery and do a number on your stomach. Also, watch the cream and sugar.
Turns out, frozen vegetables have the same health benefits as fresh — even more in some cases because they’re picked and frozen at their nutritional best. Stock your freezer, and they’ll be there whenever you need them.
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Not all fat is bad. The kind in avocados is linked to a healthy heart and good cholesterol levels. And adding them to your regular diet may help with belly fat and protect your eyes and skin.