Healthy Snacks

A lot of the reasons for people becoming unhealthy, gaining too much weight and generally feeling low in energy and lacking in get up and go is because they tend to snack on all the wrong things. We are surrounded by all manner of great sounding snacks to eat between meals and the industry that produces them is very proactive at advertising them to make sure they sell in huge quantities, which they do. The trick, if you want to improve your health, is avoiding the unhealthy snacks and instead eating healthy snacks that can actually help you stay slim, trim and in good health.

Why Unhealthy Snacks Are Bad

High calorie, salty savory snacks are generally laden with additives, artificial flavorings and monosodium glutamate (MSG), all of which act to destabilize and deflate our levels of physical and even mental health. Some additives have been linked with the formation of cancerous cells in the body (particularly MSG, which is often disguised on the label of foods as something else). Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame have also found their way onto some savory snacks and this is another additive that should be avoided at all costs if you really care about your health.

The reason why many snacks make us feel lethargic or lacking in energy is because they contain mostly carbohydrates that come from a refined flour base. White flour, which is beached and refined wheat flour with all the goodness from the wheat germ (husk) removed, is in most processed foods that we eat, often combined with trans fats and artificial additives. The flour forms a high glycemic index (GI) carbohydrate, which causes a rapid sugar rush in the bloodstream. This is countered by an equally strong rush of insulin which is produced by the body to help maintain the correct blood sugar level.

The action of regularly boosting the blood sugar levels with high GI carbs and the reactionary insulin response causes high levels of visceral (belly) fat to be stored, while the rapid rise and equally rapid fall of blood sugar levels leads to tiredness and a physical lack of energy.

What Snacks Are Healthy

Snacks that are heathy are generally the fresh foods that you can buy at the store, or at food markets and at organic farm stores. These include most fruits, some vegetables that can be eaten raw and salad crops. While these may not sound as glamorous and tasty as an artificially flavor enhanced corn or wheat snack, they are infinitely more healthy to eat.

Fruit contains lots of healthy vitamins and minerals as well as fruit sugars that satisfy our need for sweetness while not unbalancing our blood sugar levels. This is because they are primarily made up of low glycemic index (GI) carbs, which release their sugars slowly into the bloodstream and do not, therefore set off the insulin response. They boost our energy levels and make us feel more alert and awake.

Some raw nuts like unsalted peanuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and Brazil nuts are very healthy because they contain levels of essential fatty acids (walnuts in particular are one of the richest sources of omega 3 fatty acids). Brazil nuts contain high levels of selenium, an important mineral and antioxidant that is often lacking in our modern diet.

Whatever you decide to snack on, make sure it is additive free and fresh where possible (some dried fruits such as sultanas, dried apricots etc are an acceptable alternative). Resist the temptations created by clever advertising and leave the savory snacks that come in packets alone. You will be glad that you did and you will notice an improvement in your overall health for eating great healthy snacks that boost your health and improve the way you feel.

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