1. Chew your food
Thoroughly chewing will put less pressure on your digestive system and help your body to absorb more nutrients. The digestion of complex carbohydrates starts with our saliva, which contains an enzyme called amylase – this encourages more vitamins and minerals to be absorbed from your small intestine.
2. Don’t count calories
While it’s important to keep an eye on portion sizes, the health world has shifted its focus from calorie counting to making healthy, nutrient-dense choices that are kind to your digestive system. The old ‘a calorie is a calorie’ mantra has been challenged by recent research that says we should be looking at the type of foods we’re eating rather than just the calorie content. Quality is the key.
3. Sweet and simple
Don’t be scared of sugar. The rules are simple – purge the refined, processed stuff from your diet as much as possible and enjoy natural, sweet sources alongside foods that will slow down absorption and regulate blood sugar. For example, eat fruit together with a small handful of high-protein nuts to lower the overall glycaemic index of your snack. Or satisfy a post-meal sugar craving with a drizzle of honey over protein-rich Greek yogurt.
4. Forget the fads
Let moderation be your mantra and make sure that you pack your diet with vegetables, fruit, lean protein and wholegrains – introduce new ingredients into your diet gradually over a few weeks to see if you notice any benefits.
5. Stay positive
Researchers have found that we’re more likely to adopt healthy habits if they’re presented positively. Being told we shouldn’t do something has less of a lasting impact than if we’re told that eating or exercising will have a positive outcome. Focus on the results you want and treat meals as positive choices to help reach that goal.
Find out more about how to eat well in our healthy eating section.
This page was last updated on 24 January 2019.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
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