5 Overlooked Nutrition Tips For Maintaining Optimal Weight & Wellness

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When it comes to health, there are several nutrition tips that can help — but they are often ignored or unknown, even by physicians.

Nutrition is defined as the process of obtaining food we need for health and growth.

In the modern times of refrigeration, chemical preservatives, genetic modification, and intensive factory animal farming, there's an abundance of food and foodstuff.

We no longer rise at dawn, eat two or maybe three meals a day, and then fall asleep at night to allow our bodies to prepare for the next sunrise.

Unfortunately, the cost of this abundance has been an epidemic of obesity and chronic diseases. Obesity is a marker for chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases.

The medical community is beginning to understand that diet and lifestyle are key factors in the battle against the root cause of these chronic diseases.

Food is the new medicine we need. Nutrition isn't just about weight loss, but also about living a long and disease-free life.

RELATED: 5 Realistic Steps To Improving Your Eating Habits

Good health and weight loss are not as simple as "eat less and move more."

The science of nutrition has grown with numerous studies, demonstrating the healing power of eating nutrient-rich, non-processed or refined, real foods — no drugs, deprivation, or surgical procedures required.

We must eat to live. And, our choices of what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat are the key to achieving vibrant health and longevity — this is called "conscious eating."

Functional medicine has got it right: It's not about balancing calories in with calories out. Rather, it's about understanding the biochemistry of our bodies.

All calories are not all created equal.

Their involvement and interactions in the many chemical reactions, pathways, and ancestral systems that we're made of determines our energy levels, weight gain or loss, the strength of our immune systems, and how well our bodies age.

We truly are what we eat. Yet, what we eat is just one part of the issue of wellness and health.

Here are 5 overlooked nutrition tips for maintaining optimal weight and wellness.

1. Drink water.

Hydration is critical to sustaining life, but can water help you lose weight? You bet it can!

Replacing sugary beverages with water will cause weight loss since you are decreasing sugar calories. In addition to saving sugar calories, it will save you money, too!

Studies show that just increasing daily water intake is associated with less weight gain over time.

Also by activating what’s called the "diving reflex," you can get the body to burn calories more efficiently.

This reflex allows you to survive immersion in cold water by diverting blood flow and energy to your core, slowing your heart rate, while raising your metabolic rate to give us more energy.

Studies reveal that drinking one cup of water prior to eating results in increased metabolism that can create "negative" calories by burning more calories than you took in from your meal.

2. Include vinegar.

Chemically, vinegar is acetic acid that, when consumed, enhances your muscle's glucose uptake. (Think: More energy to exercise.)

Adding two teaspoons of vinegar to a high-glycemic meal reduces the spike of sugar in your blood by 23 percent!

Try apple cider vinegar or any of the many deliciously flavored kinds of vinegar.

Never drink vinegar straight, but dilute in a 2 to 4 oz glass of water, use in dressings, or drizzle over foods like Southern-style collard greens.

3. Time your calorie intake.

This means eating the bulk of your calories earlier in your day.

Older studies believed that the identical amount of calories eaten earlier in the day results in less weight gain than if eaten later in the evening. But, according to WebMD, this doesn't make a difference.

However, snacking at night, whether it's from boredom or as a form of stress relief, can cause you to overeat. In addition, it also leads to indigestion and sleep problems.

So, it's best to enjoy a piece of dark chocolate in the afternoon, as opposed to in the evening while watching T.V. in bed.

Notice how Europeans eat their biggest meal midday when they are the most active.

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4. Eat nuts and seeds daily.

Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids that are missing in action in the standard American diet.

Take Brazil nuts. Eating two Brazil nuts a day gives you the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc.

Zinc is required for many chemical reactions, as well as for the absorption of other vitamins and minerals. And just one Brazil nut daily will give you the RDA for selenium which may provide some protection against viruses.

Pistachios contain the most melatonin than any other nut out there in the world! Eating just two gives you a physiologic melatonin dose to aid in sleep, and when timed well, they are one of the best foods to eat for jetlag.

5. Restrict your eating time.

This gives you the means to balance eating with not eating or fasting. Confining eating to a set window of time of your own choosing (start with eight to 10 hours for an eating window) for seven days a week will help to get rid of evening eating.

This leaves a fasting window of 16 hours, which means the kitchen is closed after 7 p.m. Late-night snacking is a prime culprit in weight gain. The body slows down at night for rest and repair.

Continuing to give it the work of digestion close to bedtime can disrupt the quality of your sleep. Additionally, fasting allows the body time for repair and detoxification.

Most people don't have to change their diet drastically to eat nutritiously. 

These are five simple nutrition tips that can promote weight loss even without changing your diet. No expensive or toxic medications required.

No feelings of deprivation. Instead, you will feel empowered by taking back control of your health.

Incorporating these nutrition tips into your lifestyle on a consistent and daily basis will get you surprising weight-loss results.

Once it becomes a habit, part of your automatic behavior, willpower is no longer necessary. You've now created a pathway to permanent weight loss!

You have become a conscious eater!

RELATED: 8 Tips To Help You Improve Your Overall Health & Well-Being

Dr. Sy Powell is a board-certified OBGYN gone rogue! She now practices from a functional medicine perspective. She knows that a functional medicine approach can completely change your life for the better because it’s done so for her. To learn more about her work, visit her services page and if you’d like to talk with her directly, you can schedule a free consultation call here.

This article was originally published at Balance To Bloom. Reprinted with permission from the author.