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Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Diet Naturally

 width=It can be a huge challenge to your lifestyle to follow all or some of these top 10 ways to improve your diet naturally and you would have to be superhuman to make such changes overnight. Nevertheless, just making one or two changes at a time is easier and you might even find that with each measure of success, you would be spurred on to speed things up a bit.

Eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible

This is key to improving your diet naturally. All the nutrients and vitamins you need will be found in fresh, raw or lightly steamed foods. You might think you are eating healthily if you buy a vegetable that has been cut up, sauced up and then placed in a microwaveable bag but that is one or two steps too far removed from being really natural.

1. Changing from processed, convenience or take out foods to cooked-from-scratch meals at home. Many people no longer cook complete meals in their kitchens – unlike their parents and grandparents did in the past. You might have to learn or re-learn but that is why the internet and youtube are there – to show you how to do everything under the sun!

2. Including natural healthy fats – olive oil, coconut oil, raw butter – and ditching the unhealthy manufactured trans fats made when a liquid vegetable oil is changed into a solid fat. Trans fat is often added to processed foods because it can improve taste and texture and helps the food stay fresh longer but trans fat is not needed for a healthy diet and you should eat as little as possible. Meat, milk, and butter naturally contain small amounts of trans fat but the trans fat found naturally in foods is different than manufactured trans fat and does not increase your risk of heart disease. Don't be taken in by the "low fat" labels either as the fat is often replaced with sugar or other fattening substances.

3. Drinking pure filtered water in place of other beverages along with delicious smoothies, freshly squeezed orange juice, a cup of fresh organic fair trade coffee or a mug of tea. Although I enjoy black Indian tea with a slice or two of lemon straight from my garden, herbal tea or Rooibos tea are both healthy ways to take your tea.

4. Using fermented foods and probiotics help to put back the natural flora in the gut and boost your immunity. One of the most healthful fermented foods is kefir - an ancient cultured, enzyme-rich food full of friendly micro-organisms to balance that inner ecosystem – your gut. Other fermented foods you could include are natto, kimchee, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut and olives.

5, Making one of the easiest changes and that is to eat plenty of fresh (and preferably raw) vegetables, fruits, herbs and nuts of all types and all colors every day. And even if you are not happy with a particular taste, do what I do and add in a small amount to my daily smoothie where it will be disguised by other tastes. Look for fresh fruit and vegetables from a local supplier (organic if possible) but the closer the source of this food is to your home, the fresher it will be. Of course if you are able to grow some in your own back yard, then that is first prize in the health stakes.

6. Enjoying natural salt (and not processed salt) together with all the health giving spices such as cayenne pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, chilli peppers, oregano, ginger, and top of the list – garlic - for tastier, healthy suppers and other meals

7. Cutting down or cutting out smoking, alcohol, sugar, artificial sweeteners, sodas, cakes and pastries and and of course GM foods. Most of these are just bad habits and sugar is as addictive as smoking. You literally have to “kick the habit”. GM foods are getting plenty of publicity with 90% of the American population wanting to have foods labelled as to whether or not they contain GMOs. This is an important step in the right direction.

8. Changing from battery-raised to organic free range eggs and poultry and from factory feed lot dairy and meat to the grass fed, humanely reared variety. Most people know this and just need a nudge in the right direction. If you cannot afford to buy everything organic, then concentrate on these items in particular for your organic purchases as these will give you the greatest health benefits for your money. This is because conventionally-raised animal foods (apart from containing inferior nutrition) tend to have higher concentrations of pesticides. Non-organic meats can have up to five times more pesticides than non-organic vegetables!

9. Cutting back on wheat and certain whole grains which are behind so many modern health problems. Celiac disease and gluten intolerance is as high as 30 to 40% in people of European descent to some degree. Due to a high starch content, grains are inflammatory foods so the more refined the grain, the more inflammatory it is. However, whole grains are still moderately inflammatory foods and certainly more so than other foods like fresh vegetables and wholesome fats. Chronic inflammation is linked to a myriad of degenerative, modern diseases. Choose organic grains and make sure you eat them sprouted, soaked or soured.

10. Stocking up on superfoods can make all the difference even if you are already healthy. A healthy diet including several different superfoods will help you maintain your weight, fight disease and enable you to live longer. A superfood is always a real, natural food and includes: kale, sweet potatoes, beans, blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, pumpkin, salmon from safe sources, spinach, tomatoes, walnuts and many more.

Those on a fixed income or having to watch the budget may find it difficult to change their eating habits – after all, processed foods are often subsidized and cheaper. The cost of eating healthy foods is often the subject of debate with experts continuously warning Americans, and now other nations, about the dangers of obesity. Over a third of all USA adults are obese and the numbers keep growing. A recent US Department of Agriculture study said that cheap food that provides few nutrients may be more `expensive' for the consumer from a nutritional economy perspective, whereas food with a higher retail price that provides large amounts of nutrients may actually be cheaper.

Of course the cost of poor and low nutrition eating habits for the person concerned can be huge in terms of health and the quality of life enjoyed.