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The #1 Secret to Healthier Eating

The #1 Secret to Healthier Eating

Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients and fiber—and the more colorful they are, the more health-promoting antioxidants they contain.

Whenever patients come in to see me—often with skin problems like eczema or acne—they inevitably ask about whether or not diet can affect how their skin looks. My answer: absolutely. Diet affects not only how skin looks, it affects how our entire body works and how we feel overall.

Eat unhealthy processed foods instead of wholesome food, and inflammation can set in, triggering weight gain, sluggishness, and skin problems in the short term—and illness and disease in the long term.

My advice to patients: if you want to change your diet, do not overhaul it in one fell swoop. This is what many people do when the calendar changes over on January 1 with their diet resolutions. This is often a surefire way to overwhelm yourself—and not make it very far towards your goal.

The secret to eating healthier is this: make small tweaks to your diet every day or even every week or every month. Then when that small tweak has become habit, start incorporating the next tweak.

"When it comes to diet, small changes are truly the secret to success."

Here are just a few of the dietary tweaks I recommend to my patients:

1) Swap out sugary drinks for water. This simple change reduces your sugar intake (sugar wreaks havoc on the immune system), as well as your calorie intake, and gives the body the water it needs for better circulation, healthier joints, more efficient detoxing, and so much more.

2) Add just one colorful fruit or vegetable to every meal. The more color a fruit or veggie has, the more antioxidants it contains. Antioxidants help keep the body healthy by negating the effects of disease-causing free radicals in the body. (Free radicals are triggered by everything from processed foods to sun exposure and daily pollution.) Some antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables include berries, grapes, mangoes, oranges, red grapefruit, spinach, peppers (red, green, yellow, and orange), and kale.

3) Cut down on red meat intake to no more than four times a month. For protein, opt instead for fiber-rich and nutrient-rich beans/legumes, lean poultry, fish, whole grains like quinoa, nuts/seeds, and eggs. Research has found that the more red meat you eat, the higher your markers of inflammation. And for those times when you do eat red meat, choose grass-fed meat, which is higher in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Just these three small changes will go a long way to making you healthier. Put them into effect one by one and you'll realize how easy it is to eat better, look better, and feel better.

Eat well and you will be well!