It’s easy to get healthier! All you have to do is know the foods that do and don’t belong in your diet. According to Oprah Winfrey’s favorite doctor, Mehmet Oz, the best way to make your diet healthier is to remember the “rule of five.” The five foods you SHOULD eat, and the five your SHOULDN’T. Let’s start with the bad:

  • Sugar. When you eat food that’s loaded with sugar, your brain recognizes that your body has received calories - but not nutrients - so it keeps your body craving food until you get the nutrients you need. Which means you eat more.  
  • High fructose corn syrup. For the same reason as sugar. This is an inexpensive sugar that’s added to many foods, and most commonly found in soft drinks.  
  • Anything “enriched.” When you see that word on products like flour and cereal, it means that the manufacturer removed some important vitamins, and then had to put some back in. The product is probably still lacking in many essential nutrients and the fiber of a whole grain.
  • Stay away from trans fats, also called hydrogenated fats. They were once in liquid form, but had hydrogen added to make them solid at room temperature. Why? Because that extends the shelf life of the product. According to Dr. Oz, they clog arteries and shorten human life.
  • Stay away from saturated fats. These are animal fats found in foods like pork and beef, and will also clog your arteries. So choose the leanest cuts possible.

Now, the five ingredients you should ADD to your diet:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat at least five servings a day.
  • Antioxidants. These cancer-fighting nutrients are found in foods with deep colors, like broccoli, kidney beans and blueberries.
  • Omega-3 fats. These “good” fats feed your brain to help you deal with stress and learn better. Good sources are salmon, walnuts and flaxseed.
  • Fiber. The average person gets only half of the recommended 24 grams a day. Eat more oatmeal, whole grain bread, lentils, and raspberries.
  • Olive oil. Rich in omega-3s, you should eat at least one tablespoon of virgin or extra-virgin a day.

Follow these guidelines and your body will be a lean, mean, healthy machine.