You may have noticed green smoothies and activated buckwheat popping up at your local cafe, but there are some easier ways that you can boost your diet without falling for the fads.
While detoxes and raw cleanses might be good for some people, there are a range of everyday diet hacks that could improve the benefit to your body from the foods and supplements you are already eating.
1. Re-examine your vitamin needs
Back in the ‘90s, we were all told to take a multivitamin on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ basis, and many people continue to do so. But recent long-term studies suggest that multivitamins are rarely effective in addressing the needs of our bodies.
To ensure that you are getting what you need, read the dosage and the active ingredients of the vitamins you are taking. Certain vitamins included in multivitamin products can be harmful in high dosages if your body does not require them.
Alternatively, you may be more suited to a product that specifically delivers a particular strain of the vitamin, rather than the form that is used in the multivitamin which is often chosen due to low-cost. If there’s any doubt as to what works for you and your body, speak to a dietician or doctor who can point you in the right direction.
2. Include turmeric in your diet
Hailed as the current golden child of nutritional research, curcumin – the active compound in turmeric which gives it it’s yellow colour – has been shown to improve all-round health. This includes combatting inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, reducing the risk of heart disease, Alzheimers and diabetes and fighting off bacterial and viral infections. It is even suspected to help prevent cancer.
A key thing to keep in mind is that turmeric is difficult to absorb unless it is good quality and prepared properly". If you are going to include it in your daily food, cook it in coconut oil or animal fat to ensure its bio-availability. If using it as a supplement, do your homework, as not all brands are equal in quality.
3. Increase intake of healthy fats
Believe it or not, we are about to witness the renaissance of fats. Fats have been demonised for the last 50 years or so, resulting in carb-loading and toxic ‘low-fat’ processed foods. But research now suggests that increasing consumption of healthy fats does not block your arteries or raise your cholesterol, but rather can provide a nutrient dense energy source.
The trick is to avoid processed vegetable oils. Instead, opt for natural fat sources such as:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Grass-fed butter
Foods such as eggs and fish also provide good sources of fat.
4. Avoid caffeine when taking supplements
Drinking tea or coffee within close proximity of taking your usual supplements can interfere with your body’s absorption of nutrients. Caffeine increases your metabolic activity, effectively speeding up the amount of contractions in your digestive tract. This causes the supplements you have just consumed to pass through your body without being absorbed. Studies have specifically shown the negative effect of coffee on absorption of calcium, vitamin D and iron.
To get the best results from your supplements, drink your tea or coffee either 30 minutes before or an hour or two after you’ve taken them. It’s also good to change the times that you drink coffee or tea so your body doesn’t become dependant on getting a caffeine hit at the same time each day.
You don’t need to take extreme steps to improve your diet. Making a few minor alterations can have significant benefits to your overall health and well-being.