Nutrition is absurdly simple.
Hard, but simple.
By and large, though, we expend our time and resources looking at the wrong things — and the choices we ultimately make come down to which promises the fastest results.
Regrettably, there are no tricks or a “superfood” protocol that can shed body fat and get you from point A to point B lightning fast. But, there are some gold nuggets I’d like to share with you that can have a tremendous effect in terms of your health and body composition.
1. Don’t fear salt
We’ve been indoctrinated into this mindset where salt is to be avoided at all cost. Despite the widespread belief salt is bad for you, I’m here to tell you it is in fact a major contributor for optimal health and performance. I say this with a complete understanding it will likely take a couple more years before we erode the vilification of salt.
It’s an essential mineral.
It aids in digestion and regulates your metabolism, increases blood flow and circulation, which then helps deliver nutrients to the body, and helps remove waste.
Conversely, salt restriction can have an adverse effect on your health. You’ll start to run into problems such as: low blood volume, electrolyte imbalance, chronic fatigue, and headaches. These symptoms become more pronounced if you exercise regularly.
Likewise, when you cut out salt from your diet, your body compensates — it pulls minerals from your bones. In turn, you start to run on fumes, which then elevates your heart rate and blood pressure.
So, if you think about it the very thing you’ve been told to restrict is actually causing the problem.
2. Consider taking a vitamin D supplement
It’s been well documented low levels of vitamin D poses a real risk to your health. Granted, it may not be the only micronutrient we want to pay attention to, but it is a major player.
It largely affects your mood, energy, sleep, and can negatively impact your cognitive function and brain health. It’s also worth mentioning that it plays a significant role in your immune system, and is strongly associated with your body’s sensitivity to insulin. In other words, if you’re low in vitamin D chances are carbohydrates aren’t your friend.
Sadly, more than 40 percent of American adults are considered deficient. In addition to sunlight, fatty fish such as tuna and salmon, whole eggs, and dairy are among the best sources.
For adults, a safe range to supplement is 2,000-4,000IU daily.
3. Everybody should be taking a magnesium supplement
Once you have the point above in check, it’s important to outline the inclusion of another micronutrient, magnesium. Sufficient levels of magnesium is required because they aid in the absorption and metabolism of vitamin D.
Recent research suggests that vitamin D alone could possibly be dangerous. Too much leads to a surplus of calcium in the blood, which can cause calcification of the arteries.
Without magnesium taking vitamin D alone is rendered useless. What’s more, low magnesium has been shown to increase blood pressure, and has a negative effect on carbohydrate metabolism. There is also an increased risk of bone fractures, which could also be attributed to low vitamin D.
For males, shoot for 400-450 mg. For females, 300-350 mg. If you choose to go the au naturel route, nuts and leafy vegetables are among the best food sources of magnesium.
4. A brief period of eye-bulging discomfort is what you might need
Restrictive methods are completely unwarranted because at the end of the day if you can’t adhere to a plan long-term, then you’re bound to crash at some point. Meanwhile, there are certain individuals who need a degree of restraint in order to get the ball rolling.
I’m all for kicking your feet up and enjoying a savory meal, but for the sake of your progress, a brief period of eye-bulging discomfort is what you might need. Generally, those who are sedentary and have baggage need to consider eliminating, or at the very least, meticulously controlling their guilty pleasures.
Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, but I’ll tell you what, it’s certainly the best approach to reduce your body fat and unsightly gut.
This strategy may not be sustainable, but for 30-60 days you’d be surprised how far better off you’ll be when you put aside things that are counterproductive. Effectively, you’ll improve your health markers which positively impacts body composition. It’s not punishment. It’s a rite of passage.
5. Pay close attention to your gut
For some odd reason, people perceive gas and bloating as healthy. This is especially true for those who habitually go on detoxes. Frankly, I find it mildly entertaining.
I hate to break it to you, but the only reason a detox might work well in the beginning is because you’ve eliminated the crap you normally consume.
Gas and bloating is not by any stretch of the imagination, healthy. And, if you’re going straight to the toilet that should already give you an indication that it is anything but. Moreover, continuing to consume foods or stay on a diet that causes gut distress wreaks havoc on your health and performance — and it makes fat loss extremely difficult.
6. Hydrate first thing in the morning
This is one of those “Thank you, Captain Obvious” moments.
And, it’s certainly a drum I keep beating, for good reason. The vast majority are chronically dehydrated. Many disregard and fail to understand the importance of adequate hydration.
Instead of drinking a glass of cold water first thing in the morning, you’re reaching for a cup of coffee. I’m no purists, but the most important things we should give our attention to are often the simplest.
Along with sleep, drinking enough water is the easiest thing you can do to move forward.