Finding the right way to lose weight can be a daunting process but once you’re on a roll, you’ll never look back! And sometimes, it’s a lot easier than people who want to shed the pounds think it is.
It comes after social media sensation and NHS surgeon Dr Karan Raj, revealed his key nutrition steps that are scientifically proven to help improve your health – and there’s only six of them.
With so much misinformation surrounding “good and bad” foods these days, it’s hard to figure out what you should be eating in order to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
His first tip is to not restrict diets as it could lead to a bad relationship with food, which can be detrimental to people’s overall health.
“I’m not a fan of restrictive diets for many reasons. Obsessing over what you eat can become a preoccupation and lead to a cycle of even more restriction, plus stress and anxiety,” Raj explains.
“Second, by cutting out a whole food group, you’re going to be missing out on crucial nutrients.”
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He added: “Not only that, but your gut microbiome – crucial for so many aspects of good health, from digestion to mood – wants you to eat lots of different types of food.
“It’s like a hungry kid! The wider variety of food you can give it, the happier it will be, and the better your health will be!”
But being on a diet doesn’t have to be boring – keep it colorful by introducing new and exciting foods to daily meal plans.
“A very simple trick you can try is introducing more colored foods into your diet. Basically the more colours, the wider the range of nutrients you’re getting,” he says.
“Even if you don’t know exactly what specific nutrients a certain food might have, if it’s a piece of fruit or veg, it will be doing you some good, trust me!”
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He suggested setting a goal to make meals as colorful as possible, to encourage eating a wide range of nutrient-packed goodness, ie an omelette with some pepper and red onion thrown in, with some salad or cucumber on the side… and that’s three already.
And don’t peel fruit and veg. The viral TikTok sensation admits many people tend to peel their food but they’re missing out on easy fiber intakes.
He explains: “Increasing your fiber intake even slightly reduces your risk of bowel cancer by 30 percent.”
Protein is also a must, as it is important for building, maintaining and repairing the heat of bones, muscles, cartilage and skin.
And Raj points out it’s definitely a good idea to keep an eye on protein intakes, especially as you age.
He says: “Ensuring you eat enough protein each day can help slow down this process – and help you live a longer, more active life.
“High-protein foods include meat and fish, also eggs, nuts, beans, pulses and other popular vegetarian and vegan options such as tofu, tempeh and soy.
“With so much choice, there’s a health-boosting type of protein for everyone!”
While many diets encourage people to drink liters of water a day, Raj explains we shouldn’t worry if we don’t reach that daily intake.
“It is important to stay hydrated for a host of health reasons, you’re probably getting more fluids than you think,” he noted.
“The key is that you don’t just need to drink pure water for hydration, pointing out that food also contains water, so people shouldn’t become too fixed on the amount they’re consuming each day.”
Lastly, if people are wanting to include a supplement into their diets, Raj abides by one and one only.
“We need vitamin D for a strong immune system (something everyone wants right now!), to optimise muscle and bone strength and many other important bodily functions,” he says.
“It can be hard to get the amount you need because we require sunlight to activate vitamin D – and if you’re in the UK or a similar climate that is generally devoid of huge amounts of sunlight for most of the year, you could easily find yourself vitamin D deficient.
“Also, people with darker skin don’t absorb as much sunlight – and therefore don’t create as much activated vitamin D, putting them at greater risk of deficiency.”