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Five diets that you can easily incorporate into your lifestyle

 There is no harm in bettering your overall health for a prosperous year (Image: Shutterstock)

Healthy eating is essential throughout the entire year. However, you should definitely consider a  balanced diet after all the unhealthy food and drinks you’ve more than likely been consuming in the past month.

What we consume affects our body’s ability to fight off infections and health problems such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. As much as many people believe that New Year diets are fads, there is no harm in bettering your overall health for a prosperous year. Below are five diets that you can incorporate into your lifestyle today.

Low-carb diet

This is especially hard to adapt to in the African context. A lot of traditional dishes have to be accompanied with some type of carbohydrate otherwise the meal would feel incomplete. The low-carb diet actually makes your body use more fats for fuel instead of relying on carbs. With this diet, you will experience a substantial amount of fat loss over time.

It will certainly not be easy in the beginning but incorporating healthier substitutes, as well as eating your chapatti, pilau and ugali in moderation will make all the difference in the world.

 You can be a vegan and still be a pleasant person to be around because (Image: Shutterstock)
Vegan diet

The term “vegan” can be a negative trigger to most carnivorous people because of the few vegan extremists who try to force their lifestyle on the rest of the human population. You can be a vegan and still be a pleasant person to be around because, at the end of the day, your health will really improve.

This diet involves the total elimination of all animal products. It’s more or less the strictest form of vegetarianism. Just like the low-carb diet, this diet can be hard to adapt if you are of African descent and enjoy eating traditional food. To avoid shocking your system, slowly cut back on animal-based dishes, such as red meat, milk and eggs. Over time, you will discover delicious alternatives to your favourite regular dishes.

Raw food diet

This list of diets may seem as though it’s getting more extreme as it continues, but don’t knock it till you try it. This diet places all focus on uncooked and unprocessed foods. You’re basically eating directly from the earth. This diet is meant to create a surge in energy and a decrease in inflammation.

77-year-old Annette Larkins looks half her age because she has been on a raw food diet for over 40 years now. You don’t need to go as extreme as Mrs Larkins, but substituting some of your meals with raw foods will have you ageing backwards over time!

 Rather than changing what you love eating, intermittent fasting helps with weight loss by changing when you eat (Image: Shutterstock)
Paleo diet

This is more or less the caveman diet where you eliminate processed foods and eat the same way your ancestors did. This diet ensures that you eat much fewer carbs, more protein and fewer calories per day.

A paleo diet consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, grass-fed meat, oils, sweet potatoes, fish and fowl. This diet is not as restricting as the above options. It is centred on organic food options and moderate quantities.

Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you schedule your meals around the clock. So, rather than changing what you love eating, intermittent fasting helps with weight loss by changing when you eat. Therefore, you can still enjoy your favourite meals!

The 16/8 method is the most popular intermitted fasting schedule where your first meal is in the afternoon at around 13:00 and your final meal for the day should be eaten by 21:00. This is the ‘fed state’ which is followed by the ‘post-absorptive’ and ‘fasted’ state when it is easier for your body to burn fat because of low insulin levels.

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