While dietary guidelines are constantly changing, we’re all basically told to eat multiple servings of grains, fruits, veggies, and to eat 5 or more servings of whole grains every day, chug milk by the gallon, limit fish consumption to once a week, and the most common of all: you can never drink too much water!
We’ve also been told that skipping breakfast leads to poor brain function and depleted energy levels throughout the day.
So many of these myths are fraught with negative consequences to your health, if you choose to blindly follow them rather than following what science has taught us about the many so-called “healthy habits” in recent years.
1. Go Gluten-Free
The list of health problems associated with gluten which are now common knowledge are longer than the notorious 1930’s gangster, Al Capone’s juvenile arrest record! Celiac disease, leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, idiopathic neuropathy, ataxia, and many mental disorders ranging from schizophrenia to epilepsy.
While most people would like to ignore the negative consequences of consuming whole grains because they’re so delicious and packed with nutrition, the fact is that our bodies simply do not like gluten, the indigestible protein found in most grains. It damages the lining of our intestines, and countless clinical studies have proved gluten to be the #1 precursor to nearly every autoimmune disease imaginable.
Worse, it takes months of leading a gluten-free existence before this toxic protein is completely eliminated from our body.
2. Limit Fruits and Starchy Vegetables
Nearly everyone now knows that a diet which is high in sugar has a significant impact on one’s risk for type II diabetes. What few realize is that even if you never develop sugar control problems in your life, sugar is still wreaking havoc on your hormone levels. Most fruits and all starchy vegetables are loaded with excess sugar.
Adopt low carb fruits like avocados and melons, and only eat green leafy vegetables and other low-carb veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, and peppers. Ditch, or limit apples, berries, grapes, citrus, and never drink fruit or vegetable juices. Leafy vegetables contain way more vitamins and minerals than many of the so-called “healthy fruits” which are often crammed with sugar and over-consumed to boot.
There’s also a long-standing myth that foods which are high in animal cholesterol, such as eggs and beef, cause high cholesterol levels in our blood. In fact, sugar is the biggest standalone culprit of high LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels (source). It’s likely that your family doctor or heart specialist is still espousing the “dietary cholesterol equals high blood cholesterol” myth, but there aren’t any studies that can prove that belief conclusively.
3. Eat Plenty of Oily Fish
Particularly oily fish like salmon, herring, trout, and sardines. These fish are loaded with high-quality protein, and the most important antioxidant available in nature, omega 3 fatty acids. The benefits are far reaching, way beyond the improved heart, skin, and hair health that many of us hear about so often in the media (see 61 Omega 3 Benefits.)
Fish often gets a bad rap because of the known dangers of consuming too much mercury. These risks can be minimized by choosing deep ocean varieties, and avoiding salmon and trout from rivers and shallow lakes where mercury concentrations are much higher due to pollution.
4. Consider Regular Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting (also called “IF”) is quickly becoming a lifestyle standard which is helping people to improve their health. It doesn’t require you to starve yourself for days at a time, just that you abstain from eating food, particularly proteins and carbs, for at least 16 hours. Intermittent fasting can help reverse insulin resistance by limiting blood sugar, reducing inflammation throughout the body, accelerating immune response, improving digestion, increasing cognitive function, and encouraging the body to burn more fat for fuel (see more information and benefits).
Like many modern medical findings, the idea of intermittent fasting contradicts the dictum that we must eat breakfast to start each day off on the right foot. In fact, back before civilizations were first formed, human beings had to fast far longer than this and we did just fine. Obesity and lifestyle-related diabetes (aka “type II”) didn’t exist either when man had to work for his food.
5. Stop Over-Hydrating
Overhydration is another very real problem in our society. Overhydration lowers sodium levels in the blood (called “hyponatremia”). Sodium levels are critical to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Too much water also slows digestion by diluting stomach acid, and makes our kidneys work overtime; rather than helping to cleanse them.
The body regulates water levels by two basic methods: thirst response and urination. Many health experts out there ignore the fact that the body knows what it needs and communicates those needs very effectively (ie., making us feel thirsty when it needs more water, and telling us to go to the toilet to eliminate the urine accumulated in our kidneys.)
Certainly you never want to ignore your thirst, which many of us do when we’re working or exercising. You also need to be aware of any health conditions you might have which can cause increased thirst, despite the fact that the body doesn’t need more water such as diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, or side-effects of certain medications. However, don’t cram liter after liter of water in, thinking it will help you detoxify your body. This is yet another harmful fallacy that the “experts” tell you to do, which has no science behind it.
Do One or Do Them All
Any one of the suggestions made above can have far-reaching, positive effects on your short and long-term health. Pick one, or all of them, and get started today. There’s no time like the present when it comes to living the healthiest life you can. You owe it to yourself!