Are you one of those people who eat the wrong kind of breakfast? Do you break your night's fast with a quick bowl of cereal or some slices of toasted bread thickly spread with jam? Researchers say that's not the best way to start your day.
According to Britain's Daily Mail (as well as many other sources), "a full English breakfast is better for the heart, waistline and blood pressure than carbohydrate-rich cereals, breads and pastries." So a container of yogurt and a donut just doesn't do the job of beginning your day. The Daily Mail goes on to say, "It is thought that a fried breakfast sets up the metabolism for the rest of the day, making it easier to burn off other meals and snacks."
This is true even if you're trying to lose weight. Yes, fatty bacon and ham have a lot of calories, but if you eat them in the morning, you'll have the whole day and evening to burn those calories off. However, it's not a very good idea to feast on a delicious steak with all the trimmings five or six hours before bedtime. Red meat takes a long time to digest. It can take your system three days to fully digest a big steak.
If you're eating a big heavy meal for dinner, it's better to have it early rather than later in the evening. A snack before bedtime is much better for you than a big dinner.
One of the things many folks neglect is hydration. Human bodies are more than half water – almost 60 percent. In fact, the most nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are mostly water. If you're trying to lose weight, drink two cups of water 20 minutes before eating a meal. The water (or other caffeine-free beverage) will help your digestive system feel a little fuller, so you'll feel like eating less. But don't go for a sugary drink or a quick container of diet soda. There is still a lot of controversy over the effects on the brain of sugary or artificially-sweetened drinks. Until this controversy is resolved by further research, natural fruit juice is a better option.
However, you are not much better off with the juices of fruit or vegetables. First, many makers of bottled or canned juice mix it with so much water and artificial flavor that the nutritional value is greatly depleted. The labels may brag 'Genuine Juice!' but the labels are not required by law to say just how much water is added to the product.
Read the ingredients. Labels are required by law to list the ingredients by percentage. You may find when reading the label that there's more food coloring in the product than actual juice.
Another factor that is seriously neglected by many people is fiber. Grains such as whole grain oatmeal serve up a lot of fiber. Many fruits and vegetables, such as pears and avocados, contain high amounts of fiber. Plums, which when dried become prunes, are extremely high in fiber. In fact, not eating enough fiber can be the cause of constipation, which can be naturally relieved by eating prunes.
In addition to staying hydrated and eating foods containing fiber, don't spend most of your time sitting and watching television or reading. Physical activity, even if it's just walking around a block in your neighborhood, will speed up digestion and help prevent constipation.
You've heard the expression 'You are what you eat.' It's true, because what you eat turns into what you are made of. Some folks scoff at the idea of health food, but eating a healthy diet will allow your body to have the raw materials to make the most of itself.
Wina Sturgeon is the editor of the online magazine Adventure Sports Weekly , which offers the latest training, diet and athletic information.