The dietary improvements you've been making for years are OK, but these days you can do better.
Check out these 2014 upgrades for a better fit.
Upgrade Your Daily Pick-Me-Up
Initial Upgrade Switch from coffee to green tea
It's hard to escape the green-tea-publicity carousel. Numerous studies have praised its unparalleled prowess for beating everything from cancer to belly fat.
The 2.14 Upgrade Add a slice of lemon
Research in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" found that adding vitamin C to your brew protects the tea's antioxidants and makes green tea's effects more powerful. You won't even taste the difference.
Bonus: You can suck on the lemon afterwards to spritz up your breath.
Upgrade Your Seafood
Initial Upgrade Eat more fish rich in omega-3
Fitness fanatics in particular have wised up to the benefits of omega-3s. Research at the University of Georgia found that omega-3 properties can reduce post-exercise muscle pain by as much as 25%.
It's always smart to eat salmon after a hectic bout of ironmongering, but you can go one better.
The 2.14 Upgrade Up the potency of salmon steak with sliced ginger
When you combine ginger with protein, more of the protein gets digested faster, according to research in "European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology." Ginger mainlines this muscle fuel to the places you need it most.
Upgrade Your Favorite Superfoods
Initial Upgrade Curb apple intake and eat more blueberries and acai
Superfoods reportedly fight disease and help you live to a ripe old age. But antioxidants have a dirty little secret. What the 'Mad Men' fail to tell you is that antioxidants could be making you chunkier than a jar of peanut butter would.
The 2.14 Upgrade Improve sweet tooth timing
If you're trying get leaner, then antioxidant timing is crucial. When antioxidant-rich foods are eaten on an empty stomach, they might further increase appetite beyond normal levels, according to research in "Nature."
So eating a bowl of berries might actually stoke your appetite even further. Instead, save sweet berries as a treat for after a high-protein meal.
Upgrade Your Hydration Strategy
Initial Upgrade Drink lukewarm water to hydrate faster
Straight ol' tap water used to be thought of as the best source of hydration because your body doesn't have to heat it up to absorb it. However, this theory (and beverage) needs to be put on ice.
The 2.14 Upgrade Drink cold water with salt to boost performance
Research in "Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition" found that when people drank cold water during a workout, their core temperature stayed lower and they could actually do slightly more reps on the bench press.
Adding a sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt will help you retain more water so it's not ejected every 10 minutes, thus keeping you hydrated longer.
Upgrade Your Cheat Meals
Initial Upgrade Have a cheat day or meal at least once a week
Relentlessly following your diet can make you fall off the wagon, but the occasional cheat meal might help ignite your metabolism when you return to your usual routine.
In this way, cheat meals can actually help you stick to your diet, according to research at the University of Illinois.
The 2.14 Upgrade Think outside the box
When attacking your cheat meal, set this one rule for yourself: Never eat food out of the box it came from. Once you've started binging on fatty or sugary goodness, it can be just as addictive as nicotine or cocaine, making it nearly impossible to stop, according to a study in "Nature Neuroscience."
Not to mention, staring at the bottom of an ice-cream tub is a pretty big comedown. Solution? Use portion control, and place your food in a small bowl.
Upgrade Your Snacks
Initial Upgrade Eat mixed nuts as snacks between meals
Nuts are full of healthy fats, protein, and fiber that drip-feed your muscles with all kinds of minerals and vitamins. But there might be a smarter way to mix them into your diet.
The 2.14 Upgrade Make nuts part of your post-meal ritual
Next time you've got an all-you-can-eat business lunch on your schedule, pack a snack box of walnuts. Eating one handful after a high-fat meal protects your heart and does an even better job of keeping your arteries supple than olive oil, according to research in "Journal of the American College of Cardiology." Think of it as an internal Pilates class, minus the tights.
Upgrade Your Midday Meal
Initial Upgrade Leave the office to enjoy your lunch break
There's no way your boss should make you fat. Research at the University of Bristol found that eating at your desk or place of work can make you eat more calories later in the day.
The 2.14 Upgrade Eat alone to lose weight
It might seem a little antisocial, but you'll eat up to 44 percent more calories if you eat with someone else, and up to 76 percent more if you join your entire office for a restaurant lunch, according to research in "Nutrition."
People breed distraction, and diversions make you forget how much you're shoving into your pie hole.
- Lafata, D., Carlson-Phillips, A., Sims, S., & Russell, E. (2012). The effect of a cold beverage during an exercise session combining both strength and energy systems development training on core temperature and markers of performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1), 44-44.
- Gawande, S., Kale, A., & Kotwal, S. (2008). Effect of nutrient mixture and black grapes on the pharmacokinetics of orally administered (-)epigallocatechin-3-gallate from green tea extract: A human study. Phytotherapy Research, 22(6), 802-808.
- Hu, M. (2011). Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 17(1), 105-105.
- Black, C., Herring, M., Hurley, D., & O'Connor, P. (2010). Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) Reduces Muscle Pain Caused By Eccentric Exercise. The Journal of Pain, 11(9), 894-903.
- Hickman, M. (2011, January 7). Britain's 'unadventurous' fish eaters told to take the plunge and try gurnard.
- Cockburn, E., Stevenson, E., Hayes, P., Robson-Ansley, P., & Howatson, G. (2010). Effect Of Milk-based Carbohydrate-protein Supplement Timing On The Attenuation Of Exercise-induced Muscle Damage. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 35(3), 270-277.
- Andrews, Z., Liu, Z., Wallingford, N., Erion, D., Borok, E., Friedman, J., ... Diano, S. (2008). UCP2 mediates ghrelin's action on NPY/AgRP neurons by lowering free radicals. Nature,454(7206), 846-51.
- Volek, J., Sharman, M., Gomez, A., Judelson, D., Rubin, M., Watson, G., ... Kraemer, W. (2004). Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women. Nutrition & Metabolism, 1(1), 13-13.
- Layman, D., Evans, E., Erickson, D., Seyler, J., Weber, J., Bagshaw, D., ... Kris-Etherton, P. (2009). A Moderate-Protein Diet Produces Sustained Weight Loss And Long-Term Changes In Body Composition And Blood Lipids In Obese Adults. Journal of Nutrition,139(3), 514-521.