Registered dietician and author Rachel Beller joined "Good Morning America" to share tips that will help others level up their nutrition and may help reduce the risk of chronic illness through food.
Beller showed three simple food swaps that can potentially reduce inflammation and lower the risk for certain chronic diseases like heart disease or diabetes. She prefaced that while no single food can cure or prevent chronic disease, overall nutrition over time may help reduce a person's risk.
Healthier morning beverage
Her first swap and recipe tackles a very popular drink, the chai latte, which can contain over 40 grams of sugar.
Beller said that's equivalent to drinking 10 teaspoons of sugar, or about 10 lollipops. With excess sugar linked to increased systemic inflammation, she shared a healthy swap to add spices that will give the body a boost of nutrition and flavor.
2 cups non-dairy milk
3 dried Medjool dates, pitted
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground coffee, or 1 shot of organic espresso (optional)
Pinch of sea salt (option)
Stir ingredients into warm plant-based milk. OR if using a date place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and heat up. For an extra boost of caffeine, you can add an optional shot of espresso.
Benefits of this swap:
- Use spices for flavor and for an antioxidant boost and dates for natural sweetness
- Turmeric and cacao have anti-inflammatory properties
- Ceylon cinnamon contains antioxidants and adds sweet flavor
Squeeze test to swap out better-for-you bread
Most breads, including ones made with whole wheat flour, can still cause a spike in a person's blood sugar which can contribure to inflammation.
Beller suggests the squeeze test to check, so if you can easily roll a slice of whole wheat bread into a ball, it's mostly flour and doesn't contain intact grains and could therefore spike blood sugar faster. High fiber content in carbohydrates slows down glucose absorbtion.
Instead, swap for something that "resists the squish" and has intact, whole grains and seeds in each slice. That will mean it contatins more fiber and will help your body work harder, which is better for blood sugar control, energy balance and staying full longer.
Rethink your oils
Most of us get too much highly refined and processed oils in common snack foods, such as soybean, safflower, sunflower and canola oil which are low in antioxidants and nutrients.
Beller suggest choosing oils to add to your diet that are less processed and retain valuable phytonutrients and antioxidants like olive, avocado, flaxseed and walnut oils, all of which are high in monosaturated fats or mmega-3 fatty acids and could help lower inflamation and risk of chronic disease.