This one diet swap will help you to look and feel younger

-Apr 30, Jenny Paul, Nutrition -

Remember when you could stay out all night dancing and still be at your desk at 9am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed? Or when getting up early didn’t require a lunch-time nap to make up for the gnawing sleep deficit?

Getting older is fabulous, and the wisdom that comes with age is particularly wonderful. But, unless you’re one of those people that is blessed with unicorn-rare genetics who somehow never seems to age, feeling less than youthful and lacking in energy as the years pass by can be a bit of a bore.

The good news is that there are ways that you can feel younger and as if you have slowed down time. The bad news is, that it starts with what you eat. 

If you have a sweet tooth consider getting your sugar fix in a healthier form.

The ‘better than’ rule is one that applies here: Fresh berries are always a great bet when you’re craving sugar as they come packed with vitamins and antioxidants.

Dried superfoods or brazil nuts are perfect to snack on, as they give you a steady source of energy throughout the day, as well as being nutritional powerhouses. And, there’s lots of great healthy diet swaps out there for people who love sugar.

Try putting an avocado, a dash of almond milk, a drizzle of raw honey and a couple of spoonfuls of powdered organic cacao in a liquidiser and whizzing until smooth, then serving topped with a few sliced strawberries, a sprinkle of chia seeds and a few blueberries and goji berries if you’re in need of a glazed pastry.

The richness of the cacao means you will be satisfied after one smallish serving, and it really hits the spot mid-afternoon when you’d otherwise reach for chocolate chip cookies or ice cream.

Failing that, you can’t go wrong with a probiotic packed portion of kefir, with a liberal smattering of fresh fruit.

Obviously though, sugar-free doesn’t always mean good for you, aspartame has been named as the most dangerous food additive on the market. Alarmingly, it is an artificial sweetener that is often found in low calorie and sugar-free drinks that you want to completely avoid.

If you’re a fan of sugary sodas, ditch them completely and opt for a naturally fizzy, probiotic kombucha instead of a “diet” drink, as those grizzly additives are much worse for your health than plain old sugar.

As a rule of thumb, check the label and if it’s long and packed with words that you don’t understand then don’t buy.

There’s a guide to the top ten worst food ingredients that are bad for your health here, and after a quick glance, you’ll probably only ever want to eat meals that you have made yourself with food from your own garden.

According to health gurus, the ideal is to eat the way we did before food factories ever existed.

If you can shop at the local market and buy from farmers who don’t spray their crops with pesticides then wonderful. But if not, a lot of organic shops are starting to do bags of inexpensive seasonal fruit and veg with the contents changing every week.

Yoga teacher Mandy Ingber says to avoid eating anything processed that comes in a packet. Worth noting: It takes 21 days for your brain to form a new habit, so once you’ve got a few weeks of healthy eating in the bag, you’re likely to stick to it.

Mandy’s fridge is packed with fresh green veg with lots of leafy greens like kale, as well as whatever else catches her eye at the Sunday farmer’s market, some fruit (both frozen and fresh), tempeh, fresh wild organic salmon, almond milk, brazil nuts to snack on, and she shopped on Sundays for the week ahead to save time on prep in the week. Think; home-made butternut squash soup, huge salads with baked salmon drizzled with oil and fresh lemon juice, green smoothies with frozen mango and banana for added sweetness. 

Mandy’s advice is to eat small meals every four hours so your blood sugar levels don’t crash – meaning you’ll be less likely to feel tired and crave sugar, and to sip water all day long but to slow down after 4pm to avoid sleep disturbance.

Her best tip is to treat yourself like you’re your own child and to carefully nourish yourself with the best, most nutritious food possible – self-care is self-love.

And, when it comes to avoiding glycation, that’s the best advice of all: You wouldn’t let your child have an entire packet of cookies in one sitting, followed by an entire tub of ice cream, so why do that to yourself?

Intrigued? Here’s an easy hack to get kids (and adults) to eat their greens before lunchtime. Here’s top nutritionist Eve Kalinik’s prescription to stay happy and healthy and here’s a recipe for the energy boosting (sugar free) snack wellness gurus swear by.

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