January 2, 2019   By Kelly Bejelly

The beginning of a new year is the perfect opportunity to take a look at all of the habits and tendencies you’ve adopted in the past and evaluate what’s working for you and what needs to go. Many people take this chance to think about what they’re putting into their bodies and how it impacts their health.

The amount of sugar and fats you consume can affect every part of your body, even down to your hair follicles. About 85% of men have significantly thinning hair by the age of 50, but simply getting the right vitamins and nutrients can promote hair growth instead of hair loss. Know how to replace your favorite junk with nutritious alternatives and you’ll start to see improvements like this in every aspect of your health.

  • Zucchini For Pasta
    Pasta is a nearly universal comfort food, as it easily fills you up and you can doctor it with any sauces and toppings you like. Unfortunately, eating a lot of pasta means that you’re also eating a lot of carbs while ignoring the other food groups. Zucchini makes a great replacement for any dish that involves noodles. Shave the green vegetable into ribbons or use a spiralizer to create the classic noodle shape. Instead of ingesting carbohydrates, you’ll be getting fiber, vitamin A, and potassium with your zucchini pasta.
  • Sugar-Free Drinks For Soda
    A major culprit of unhealthy diets everywhere, sugary drinks like sodas are filled with calories that don’t fill you up, leading you to eat more food on top of the unhealthy beverages. Just by itself, consuming a large amount of sugar is linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and heart disease and can drive insulin resistance in the body. Replace soda and other sugary drinks with tea, soda water, coffee, or plain water. While just about 3% of the Earth’s water is fresh water, there is plenty to go around and simply adding a lemon can give it a tasty kick.
  • Quinoa For White Rice
    Plain white rice may seem fairly harmless, but eating a large amount will fill you up on carbs, just like its pasta cousin. For any meal in which you would use white rice, try replacing it with quinoa instead. As a pseudocereal that closely resembles spinach, amaranth, and beetroot, the quinoa seed is a great substitute for rice. It is gluten-free and contains 40 calories less per serving than traditional white rice. Quinoa is also high in fiber and protein and will cook very similarly to rice.
  • Tea For High-Calorie Coffee
    On its own, coffee actually has many health benefits. However, coffee drinks that are filled with artificial creamers and sugars just give you a sweetened beverage with a side of empty calories. Be sure to drink plain coffee instead, or opt for tea. Although green tea contains about 20 to 45 milligrams of caffeine in an eight ounce cup, a relatively small amount, it will give you the boost you need while benefiting your health.
  • Healthy Fats For Refined Vegetable Oils
    Refined vegetable oils such as corn oil, soybean oil, and canola oil are very high in omega-6 fatty acids. Not only does this increase your consumption of added fats, but it can increase oxidative stress in the body and these oils have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. For your cooking needs, switch to healthier fats such as coconut oil, avocado oil, butter, or extra virgin olive oil.

While these are relatively easy changes to make in your daily diet, you’ll begin to feel the effects in no time. By giving your body healthier foods, you’ll be creating a better foundation from which the rest of your lifestyle can grow.

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