We can probably thank Instagram for making activated charcoal so popular since all the foods containing this ingredient are an eye-popping shade of black. From black ice cream to black smoothies to black granola to activated charcoal cocktails, this ingredient made the “it” list this year. Activated charcoal is believed to be a detoxifying agent and this has some merit: It’s often used to treat poisoning and certain drug overdoses. But at the same time, it also binds to certain vitamins and minerals, as well as some common prescription medications (like certain antidepressants). And it might cause constipation, which is probably not the detox advantage you’re looking for. It’s not a big deal to eat some Insta-worthy black food from time to time, but I wouldn’t make a wellness strategy out of activated charcoal.
Sodium: This is critical for nerve impulse transmission and helps to maintain cells' normal fluid balance. The guidelines for sodium consumption are to consume less than 2,300 mg (approximately 1 tsp of salt) of sodium per day and to choose and prepare foods with little salt. At the same time, consume potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
The MIND diet, or Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, is a sort of hybrid between the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet. It features foods meant to slow the progression or development of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia and an incurable neurodegenerative condition that more than 5 million Americans are living with, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. (12) Some research backs up this notion, including a study published in September 2016 in Alzheimer’s Dementia that found a link between following the MIND Diet and a reduced risk of the disease. (13)
Take action: Eating fewer calories is pretty straightforward when you follow three guiding principles. First, stick with a primarily plant-based diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and heart-healthy fats, like olive oil). Second, limit processed foods (such as frozen meals, deli meats, and refined carbohydrates, including pastries and white bread), which contain lots of empty calories in the form of sugar and unhealthy fats (not to mention a lot of salt).
But there is another meaning of this word. Diet can also refer to the food and drink a person consumes daily and the mental and physical circumstances connected to eating. Nutrition involves more than simply eating a “good” diet—it is about nourishment on every level. It involves relationships with family, friends, nature (the environment), our bodies, our community, and the world.
Fiber aids digestion, prevents constipation, and lowers cholesterol -- and can help with weight loss. Most Americans get only half the fiber they need. To reap fiber's benefits, most women should get about 25 grams daily, while men need about 38 grams -- or 14 grams per 1,000 calories. Good fiber sources include oatmeal, beans, whole grain foods, nuts, and most fruits and vegetables.