It's that time of year again. Bring on the New Year's Resolutions. While resolutions are entirely up to the person making them, most of us tend to make similar ones — especially around our health. Besides exercising more and trying to lose weight, one of the biggest is eating better.
Finding a diet that works for you can be half the battle; the other half is sticking to it. There are many odd diets out there, and not all of them are good for your body. However, a few science-backed diets are great if you're looking to improve your health and commit to a lifestyle change.
The paleo diet is based on what early humans may have eaten before the advent of foods, like dairy products and grains. According to the Mayo Clinic, this diet works well for people trying to shed a few extra pounds and prevent heart disease and other cardiovascular risks.
The main foods are:
Fruits and Vegetables
Lean protein — especially grass-fed or wild game
This diet typically avoids highly processed foods, sugary foods, sodas, trans fat, legumes and most dairy.
2. Whole Food, Low Carb
If you want to lose weight and/or balance your blood sugar, the whole food, low-carb diet may help. This diet limits the intake of over processed foods, especially anything high in sugars and starch, which could be sweets and bread. There are different levels to this type of diet, and it should be fine-tuned to an individual's needs and goals.
Typical foods on a whole food, low carb diet include:
Typical foods consist of:
Minimal meat — mainly poultry
Extra virgin olive oil
This is another diet that cuts back on refined and processed foods, especially those high in carbs and sugars.
The vegan/plant-based diet eliminates all animal by-products, including dairy, eggs and even honey, in some cases. It's a good diet to lose weight, balance your blood sugar and keep your heart healthy. There is even evidence that this diet may be beneficial to the environment.
In place of animal proteins, many on the vegan diet will substitute meat and eggs for beans, legumes and tofu. It certainly isn't a diet for everyone, but even a few plant-based meals each week can benefit your health.
Something to keep in mind, changes to your health and diet can move slow. Don't get down on yourself if you don't notice changes immediately. Think of adopting a healthier diet as an investment in your health and body. If you slip up, that's okay. Improving your health can include life's little indulgences once in a while.