Just as you wouldn’t put low-grade fuel in your brand-new Porche, putting anything less than premium food in your body is likely to keep it from performing to the best of its ability. Most believe that going to the gym and cutting out a meal or two a day will get you the results they’re looking for — wrong!
Many people think they are on a good diet. Processed foods encourage the retention of fat and places excess stress on the body. It makes it hard to burn off that last (and most important) layer of flab. If you’re frustrated by fat that won’t leave your side, then it’s time to make some changes, so let’s get down to business.
They key to getting optimal results lies in the kitchen. If I had to break it down into a percentage, 80 percent of the battle is your diet. You can definitely build lean muscle in the gym but what gets you toned and beach ready is what you put into your body.
1. Add Fish to Your Diet
Eat fresh fish! Your preferred fish choices should be ones with low mercury levels such as flounder, haddock, herring, mackerel, perch, pollock, salmon, sardines, scallops, sole, tilapia and trout. Mercury consumption causes negative health side effects.
Out of that list: salmon, mackerel, and trout are your top three choices because of their high omega-3 content. If you can’t consume fish on a regular basis, find a quality fish oil supplement. Fish oils are derived from the fat of a variety of oily fish. Fish contain a natural source of omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFA), which is an important nutrient that provides many health benefits.
The way you cook the fish is critical too. To make sure you reap all the nutritional benefits, the best options would be to broil, grill or steam the fish, whatever you do, do not deep fry.
2. Tea Anyone?
Another great way to boost your fight against stubborn fat is by having herbal tea on a regular basis, especially green tea. Decaffeinated tea is a healthier option than coffee. Having some green tea is a great way to kick-start your metabolism. Have a cup or two each day, and you’ll be well on your way to being trim and toned … Green tea also provides you with numerous antioxidant benefits, which can help to fight free-radical damage.
3. Focus on Healthy Fat
Fat consumption can be good or bad for you, depending on the type of fat you consume. If you overload on saturated or trans fats it can lead to stroke or heart disease by increasing your LDL cholesterol, according to the American Diabetes Association. On the other hand, filling your diet full of unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids is the perfect way to keep fat in check. Just remember, it’s important to get a good ratio of omega-3 fats and omega-6 fats.
Foods richest in omega-3 fatty acids include: flaxseed oil, soybean oil, canola oil, salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and walnuts. Combine these with the right amount of omega-6 fats you can get from corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and cottonseed oil to get the best results. Ideally, your ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid should be 4:1.
Other healthy sources of dietary fats to keep an eye out for: avocados, natural nuts and nut butters and seeds.
4. Choose the Right Carbs
Limiting your carbohydrate intake is important to help shave off that last fatty layer, but you don’t have to take an ultra-low approach. Just place more emphasis on getting plenty of protein and foods rich in healthy fats.
The carbs you do eat should come from fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies should account for at least 60 percent of your total carbohydrate calorie intake. The remainder comes from all-natural and slow-digesting sources like beans, legumes, oats and brown rice.
All processed carbohydrates (even if they say whole grain) should be avoided.
5. Herb & Spices
The right herbs and spices can do wonders for your diet. These spices encourage a lean and toned body: chili pepper, cinnamon, parsley, garlic and oregano. Ginger and ginseng are two herbs that have long lists of health benefits, and plenty of taste to turn a bland meal into a gourmet dish in seconds.
sources: bodybuilding.com and webMD