Your Healthy Lifestyle:
Two Simple Things Not to Miss

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Angeline Thiri from Home Weight Training for Women writes our blog this week with helpful tips on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

If you’'ve been a healthy eater for some time now, here are two things you can do to enrich your healthy lifestyle even further. These simple tips can make a big difference in helping you feel healthier.

1. Use healthy cooking methods that will get the most from your food.

It's great if you eat healthily most of the time. But are you cooking your food in ways that retain the most nutrients?

It's not always possible to conserve most of the goodness in your food. You'll lose some of the nutrients as soon as you start cooking. But many foods have to be cooked to be safe to eat and to aid digestion. There are some cooking methods that are better at retaining nutrients than others.

To understand how you could use healthy cooking to get the best from your food, let's look at the main things in the cooking process that drain nutrients.

Main Things that Drain Nutrients from Your Food

  • prolonged high heating
  • water
  • cooking oil
  • peeling
  • long-term storage

While you usually can't totally avoid these things in your cooking, there are some things you can do to minimize their effects when you cook.

Prolonged High Heating

To avoid this as much as possible, heat your vegetables quickly, and enjoy them crispy. Ideally, eat raw vegetables, many of which are even tastier in their raw form.

Obviously, you can't usually eat raw meat. With meat, slow cooking at a low temperature is one of the best ways of preserving nutrients. Or slice the meat really thinly and quickly stir-fry it.

Water In Your Cooking

A lot of vitamins can easily leach into the cooking water, so one thing you can do is to avoid putting your food in direct contact with the water when you cook. Steaming can come in handy in this situation. When you steam food it isn't in direct contact with water, but even then try to heat for as short a time as possible.

You should avoid boiling as often as possible. If you really must boil your vegetables, then use as little water as possible. And don't throw the cooking liquid away; you can use it to make a more nutritious gravy or a sauce.

Another way to get around boiling food is to make soups, stews and casseroles where you'll eat the liquid along with the food. That way you'll still get the nutrients that drained from your food into the cooking liquid.

Cooking Oil

Cooking oil can kill nutrients in your food too. Some fat-soluble vitamins can easily leach into the oil, so deep frying is one of the worst ways to cook your food. It also adds a lot of calories.

Your best choice would be to stir-fry your food. You can use a little of one of the healthy cooking oils to quickly and stir-fry your food minimizing nutrient loss. It also reduces the amount of calories you would have gotten from deep frying.

Roasting is also a good way to cook your food since you don't need to use much fat.

Peeling Your Vegetables

You lose quite a lot of nutrients by peeling your vegetables, as the greatest concentration of nutrients lies in or just under the skin. So, if you can, eat your vegetables with the skin on. Some vegetables such as potatoes, squash and carrots can be delicious unpeeled. To make sure the skin is clean, rub it with a little sea salt - but not too much.

Storing Your Food For A Long Time

You've probably heard many times by now that food loses its nutrients as it sits in your fridge. So cook your food as soon as possible after buying it.

Another way to ensure freshness is to use frozen vegetables. Most of them are flash-frozen very soon after they're harvested, enabling them to retain quite a lot of nutrients.

Now you'’re aware of the best ways to cook your food, what's the next thing you should add to your healthy lifestyle?

2. Make Exercise a Part Of Your Healthy Lifestyle

However healthily you eat, you still need to exercise.

free weights

Your muscles and bones have the “use it or lose it” factor. That means if you don’t use your muscles, you’ll slowly lose your muscle mass and strength, and your bones will be more prone to breakage as you age. That can lead to a loss of mobility and quality of life.

In addition, your body will function even more efficiently if you add regular exercise to your lifestyle. You’ll have more energy and you’ll feel great. Even better, exercise will help you stay in control of your weight.

When a lot of people hear the word “exercise,” they immediately think “gym.” In fact, a gym is not necessary unless you particularly enjoy the socializing aspect. You can get great exercise without having to set foot outside your door.

When you’re starting out, start with small steps. If you haven’t exercised for a long time, you can just add 10 minutes of exercise every other day. Then gradually increase the time and the intensity you exercise. You don’t need to dedicate a lot of time to your workouts. A lot of people have managed to get fit by doing half an hour of circuit training exercises just 2 or 3 times a week.

Think of physical exercise as an investment in yourself.

There you go. Use the best cooking methods to make the most of your food, and add some regular physical exercise to your life. You won’t regret it!

Angeline Thiri

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