Health & Wellness

The Top 6 Healthy Food Swaps for Adults That You Need Now!

Let’s talk about healthy food swaps!

When you decide it’s finally time to make a true and lasting change to your diet to improve both your waistline and your health, it can be hard to get started. In fact, I’m often asked for some easy and quick tips to help people stay on track with their dietary overhaul.

One of the best tips I have is to implement some pretty simple (and tasty!) healthy food swaps. They’ll keep you on track and even provide some extra energy to help you get through the day!

So, let’s review everything you need to know to get and stay on track by incorporating healthy food swaps. Here’s to your success!

 

Top 6 Healthy Food Swaps You Need Now!

Look, the odds are that you’re here because you’ve tried it all and you’ve realized how important it is to keep your body nourished. So, let’s not waste any time here.

The bottom line is that all of these healthy food swaps were chosen with two goals in mind: To replace inflammatory foods with anti-inflammatory foods and to provide your body with much-needed nutrients.

Why? Well, inflammation can actually cause you to hang onto excess fat. And studies have shown that having excess fat causes your fat tissues creates even more inflammation in your body. [1] It really is a never-ending cycle.

The unfortunate result? You wind up in a state of chronic inflammation that causes oxidative stress.

And, as you may recall, oxidative stress is linked to a myriad of modern diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, fatty liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and more. [2, 3]

So, let’s take a look at the easiest and best healthy food swaps you can make when you’re starting on your health and weight loss journey. Then, we’ll discuss how each of these foods support lowering inflammation.

 

Healthy foods swaps - Dr. Pingel

 

The Science Behind the Swaps

Now, let’s take a look at what the research says about some of the preferred foods listed in our healthy food subtitutions.

Why Nut Milk?

Because dairy is inflammatory, any nutrients you could get from it aren’t really worth the risk—especially when you can get those same nutrients from other foods.

In fact, click here to see a chart comparing the value of almond milk against cow’s milk!

Want more proof that nut milk is a better alternative to cow’s milk? Let’s take a look at one study with some incredible findings!

A 2013 study revealed that when people with type 2 diabetes (a disease known for its inflammatory origins) replaced 20 percent of their daily caloric intake with about one-half cup of almonds, their inflammatory markers decreased anywhere from 10.3 percent to 15.7 percent!

The researchers surmised that incorporating almonds into your daily diet could help improve both inflammation and oxidative stress in patients with type 2 diabetes. [4]

Now, almond milk is just one option, but this example gives you an idea of what you’re missing by using cow’s milk instead of a nut-based alternative.

Why Apple or Cassava Chips?

Because potato chips are filled with inflammatory trans fats, it’s a great food to swap out with a healthier alternative. Apples are high in fiber, and apple chips offer the same great crispy crunch from regular chips.

Plus, studies have shown that eating apples regularly for just 10 weeks helped women ages 30 to 50 lose just over an average of 2 pounds. Plus, they ate fewer calories each day than those who ate pears or cookies! [5]

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something a little less sweet, you may want to check out cassava chips. Cassava (also known as yuca) is a tuber vegetable, similar to potatoes, yams, Japanese artichokes, and more.

Cassava has a unique nutty, slightly sweet flavor. And it’s important to note that it must always be peeled and thoroughly cooked before consumption.

Cassava is also rich in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. This makes it not only filling but a great way to help support your immune system health.

Interestingly, a 2018 study revealed that people who ate more fiber each day (which is found in both cassava and apples) had higher levels of indolepropionic acid, an anti-inflammatory chemical produced by healthy gut bacteria. [6]

You can find both apple chips and cassava chips online or at your local health food stores and/or grocery stores.

Why Mashed Avocado?

Ah, butter. We all love it, but it doesn’t always love us, does it? Well, the good news is that when it comes to healthy food swaps, mashed avocado is a fantastic substitute for butter!

Not only is it rich and creamy (and delicious!), but it’s filled to the brim with nutrients and health benefits.

While avocados also contain many other nutrients, arguably the most important is their high concentration of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). On average, an avocado contains about 15 grams of MUFAs.

And in case you aren’t familiar with MUFAs, they are a healthy fat that’s been linked to blood sugar regulation, heart health, healthy weight management, and more.

In fact, according to a study of over 125,000 participants, substituting MUFAs for saturated fatty acids (SFAs) actually lowered risk of coronary heart disease by 15 percent. [7]

Additionally, one study found that when participants ate either a half or whole avocado with their meals, they reported feeling more satisfied than those who didn’t eat the avocado. [8]

One of my favorite ways to eat mashed avocado is by making avocado toast. Simply mash the avocado with a fork and season to taste. I like to incorporate a little garlic powder, sea salt, red pepper flakes, and maybe a splash of lime and then serve over toast. Yum!

 

Key Takeaways

  • If you’re looking to make a true and lasting change to your dietary habits, one of the best tips I have is to implement some pretty simple (and tasty!) healthy food swaps.
  • When making healthy food swaps, remember that it’s important to replace inflammatory foods with anti-inflammatory foods and to provide your body with much-needed nutrients. Following those two guidelines will help to set you up for success.
  • Some easy examples of this include: swapping cow’s milk for nut milk, sugary cereals for granola, potato chips for apple chips or cassava chips, butter for mashed avocado, pasta noodles for zucchini or squash noodles, and soda for sparkling water.

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