If you’re looking for simple ways to enjoy better health, you’re not alone. In our fast-paced, stressful modern lives, it’s not always easy to eat all the right foods and to get the exercise we all know we should be getting. It’s only natural to look for shortcuts to optimal health, hence the popularity of so-called “superfoods”.

Fad Diets Never Work

Just as fad diets for weight loss are not effective in the long run, neither is seeking health benefits from the latest food fad. Certainly, some foods are more nutrient-dense than others, but you won’t find the fountain of youth in a bottle of acai berry juice or a daily kale smoothie. Simply eating a variety of fresh foods with as few processed ingredients as possible will put you further along the path to wellness than stocking up on the latest fad food will.

Careful When Omitting Foods

Just as some foods are being touted as “super”, others are demonized for no good reason. For example, many people these days are going gluten-free. For a small subset of the population, this can offer a great and immediate turnaround in their health.

However, chances are good that if you don’t have celiac disease, going gluten-free is more likely to drain your wallet than it is to make you feel better. Reducing your intake of processed grains, which contain gluten and starch but have lost most of their other nutrients, is a far better approach than jumping aboard the gluten-free bandwagon without a doctor’s recommendation.

Moderation is Key

So before you sit down to your wheatgrass, kale and avocado salad, and before you ask if that pomegranate juice is gluten-free, just try to make some minor, permanent lifestyle adjustments. Trading processed foods for whole foods, and canned vegetables for fresh or frozen, can go a long way toward improving your overall wellness.

If you think you’re eating reasonably well and getting moderate exercise but you still feel lethargic or have chronic, unexplained pain, speak with a physician about testing to make sure a hormone imbalance isn’t behind your symptoms.