Are you ready to make a new year’s resolution? Do you want to make the most of the next 12 months? If so, then why not aim to improve your health in 2023? Frankly, this might be a goal that a fair share of those living in the United States should consider. As it stands, Americans tend to eat diets that lack the proper amount of nourishing fruits and vegetables, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Beyond that, around 11.3% of the US population has been diagnosed with diabetes, while heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S.
Although these may seem like dire facts, you can rest assured by knowing that you can start your journey toward better health by taking a few simple baby steps. That includes eating the following foods, which Paulina Lee, MSHS, RD, LD, gut health functional dietitian and founder of Savvy Stummy, LLC., tells Eat This, Not That! will completely turn your health around in 2023. Read on, and for more, don’t miss Want a Lean Body For Good? Eat These 8 Foods Every Day.
Kimchi is a Korean fermented vegetable dish typically made with cabbage. It can offer your body some pretty notable benefits that could make a big difference when it comes to your health over the next year.
“Kimchi is a fermented food or probiotic food with compounds from the ingredients such as polyphenols, carotenoids, capsaicin, sulfur-containing compounds, fiber, and compounds generated from the fermentation process such as lactic acid bacteria (LAB),” Lee says. What does that mean for your health? Lee explains that kimchi may “contribute to improved bowel movements,” while also boasting “antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-obesity, and antibacterial properties.”
You may think of kimchi as something that will offer your meals an extra kick of flavor which, of course, is totally accurate. As Lee says, “Kimchi is a great addition to any meal or food. In Korea, it’s typically added as a side dish but also included in lots of meals. It pairs well with all kinds of protein, can be added to soups, consumed plain, added to stir-fries or fried rice, and so much more.”
Lee also recommends adding turmeric to your meals, noting that “this potent anti-inflammatory spice can help with inflammation in the gut lining and throughout the body,” which will definitely make you feel better.
“Turmeric contains curcumin, [a type of plant compound called a ‘polyphenol’,] that stimulates Phase II liver activation, thereby increasing detoxification of activated toxins.” Curcumin can also “increase the amount of antioxidants the body makes and has anti-inflammatory properties,” Lee adds.
As for incorporating this spice into your diet, Lee suggests “adding turmeric when seasoning fish or protein.”
Strawberries aren’t only a tasty treat, they’re also a healthy option to satisfy both your hunger and health goals. Lee tells us, “Strawberries are full of polyphenols with great antioxidant effects. They have a high amount of vitamin C, manganese, folate, and potassium, which are vital for immune health, brain function, cell growth, and blood pressure regulation, respectively.”
“A 2019 study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry concluded that eating strawberries helps increase beneficial bifidobacteria in your gut microbiome,” Lee continues. Lee explains the benefits of this, saying, “Bifidobacterium has been shown to positively affect constipation, diarrhea, and gut inflammation.”
While you may enjoy eating strawberries just as they are, Lee points out that “you could freeze them to make it easy to toss into your morning smoothie, pair them with a yogurt dip for a quick snack, throw them into your favorite spring salad mix, or add them to your favorite oatmeal combo.”
There are certainly benefits to eating various kinds of fish, however, Lee specifically recommends salmon if your aim is to improve your health in 2023.
“Salmon contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties,” Lee says. “Eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA found that omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce neuroinflammation. It’s also something our bodies don’t make, so it’s an essential food that should be included through food or supplementation.”
In turn, Lee says that “anti-inflammatory omega-3s work to reduce inflammation in the body and can help to improve cardiovascular health and cognitive function.” Beyond that, “healthy fats can reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and feed some good gut bacteria to support gut healing.” In fact, Lee points out, “One study found improvements in inflammatory markers, C-reactive protein (CRP), and interleukin-6 (IL-6), with improved the lipid profile numbers from fish oil supplementation.”
“Bone broth has a healing amino acid profile, minerals, and gut-healing collagen,” Lee says. She adds that it’s a food option that “can be incredibly nourishing for an inflamed gut.” Indeed, “the high glycine content in collagen works to strengthen the gut lining while also reducing joint pain and increasing skin quality.”
If you’re intrigued by the benefits of bone broth but are intimidated by the potential preparation process, Lee explains that you can put worries aside, saying, “Don’t get hung up on making your own. There are tons of pre-made bone broths you can buy. Use it as a soup base, add it to vegetable stir-fries, or just drink it warm.”
While you surely know all about the health benefits of broccoli, you may also want to consider adding broccoli sprouts to your regular diet. Lee explains that “broccoli sprouts are a powerhouse of nutrition filled with fiber, vitamin C, and sulforaphane.” As for the latter, “sulforaphane is a compound in cruciferous vegetables with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.”
“One 2018 animal study from the Current Developments in Nutrition noted a decline in prostate cancer occurrence with the intake of broccoli sprouts,” Lee says. “There continues to be promising research showing benefits of broccoli sprouts intake in cancer treatment.”
Also noting that “you can buy them from the store or grow them yourself at home,” Lee says, “Either way, broccoli sprouts are easy to add to your sandwich, use as a topping to your avocado toast, or toss into any salad.”
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