Apart from exercise, a key aspect of staying fit and trim is eating healthy. There is a lot of information on diet plans and such available from physicians, nutritionists, and fitness experts. However, a lot of people are clearly still struggling with regularly eating a healthy, balanced diet. Why could this be?
There is a certain stigma associated with the term "eating healthy."Many associate it with not being able to eat the things they like. However, a successful and sustainable healthy eating practice is not built on stringent dietary restrictions or staying away from the foods you love. Rather, it is based on a desire to stay healthy, increase your energy levels, stabilize your mood, and generally feel better about yourself.
Conflicting advice about diet and nutrition is another hindrance many people face. Should you be doing the food pyramid or juice diet? Are you supposed to count all your calories or not? Are there fruits that are bad for you? Every dietary and fitness expert seems to have an opinion backed by science and facts.
This makes it even more confusing and overwhelming for someone trying to find an effective diet plan when all the opinions available is contrary. However, consuming a healthy diet is easier than it may have been made out to be. It simply involves regularly eating a balanced diet that provides you with the nutrients necessary to keep you healthy, energetic, and feeling good. The key to healthy eating is cutting out most of the processed foods you consume and replacing that with natural foods.
Healthy eating constitutes consuming a balanced meal. Ideally, such a meal contains items from all the major food groups, namely proteins, carbohydrates, and vegetables. A good diet should also include water, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fats.
Whether or not you are dieting, the mix of nutrients provided by these foods is a necessity for everybody. However, those who want to shed the pounds should limit their calorie intake and burn more calories than they take in. Your age, gender, activity level, and what your end goal is, all determine how many calories you can ingest per day.
Below is a look at what each food group specifically:
Proteins provide the body with nutrients that help it repair and maintain itself. It is also essential in providing you with energy, keeping up cognitive function, and stabilizing the mood. The main source of protein is animal products like beef, poultry, fish, and cheese; and plants such as beans, nuts and a number of legumes.
It should be noted that people with renal diseases should not eat too much protein. However, recent studies have shown that high-quality proteins should never part of every healthy diet plan, especially for older individuals.
The primary source of fuel and energy for the human body is carbohydrates. They are metabolized into a sugar known as glucose which fuels many body functions. Nutritionists recommend that up to 55 percent of an adult's caloric intake should come from carbohydrates. However, eating too much of this food group results in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Plant-based carbohydrates are generally the best type. They can be found in vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruits. These carbs are packed with nutrients. Other types of carbs, such as those found in processed foods and soft drinks, are starchy, sugary, and not nutrients rich.
Endeavor to limit your consumption of this latter group. Processed foods have been stripped of most of their nutrients, fiber, and bran. Cutting back on these foods will also lead to fewer mood fluctuations, spikes in blood sugar, and fat build up around the waist.
Consume more foods that have a high content of dietary fiber. This includes vegetables, grains, nuts, and fruits. Eating a fiber-rich diet could help to reduce your susceptibility to diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. It can also help you lose weight and get clearer skin. Nutritional experts recommend that adults should consume at least 40 grams of fiber each day to promote optimal health.
Vitamins are essential to a large number of chemical reactions within the body. There are 13 critical vitamins that you need to optimize this function. Since the human body cannot make these vitamins, they can only come from your diet. However, it is important to note that your body can store vitamins A, E, D and K: limit your consumption of these vitamins to avoid any adverse effects.
Just like vitamins, minerals can only get into your body through your diet. The essential minerals include iron, calcium, and potassium. You only need small amounts of other minerals like copper, zinc, and selenium.
The human body requires fats to carry out some of its functions, such as metabolism. However, excess intake of fats can lead to obesity, high cholesterol, and heart disease. There are four different types of fats present in various food items.
Trans Fats: Trans fat can occur naturally in dairy products and some fatty meats. However, the most common source of trans fats today is from artificially processed foods and baked goods. This type of fat is especially unhealthy and has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. They are typically listed as either trans fats or hydrogenated oils on product ingredient lists.
Monounsaturated Fats: These are fats present in plant sources. This includes nuts and vegetable oils from avocados, olives, sunflower seeds, safflower, and canola.
Saturated fats: These fats can be found in meat, cheese, whole-fat milk, and butter. They are also present in coconut and palm oils. You should try to limit how much saturated fats you consume, as they can exacerbate preexisting health conditions.
Polyunsaturated Fats: Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids fall under this category. Omega-3 is usually found in fish, flaxseed, walnuts, soybean oil, and canola oil. On the other hand, Omega-6 is present in corn oil, soybean oil, and safflower oil.
It is important to remember that not all fats are unhealthy. Some can indeed lead to weight gain and raise your risk of specific diseases. However, the good fats are vital to body function, protect the heart and brain, and help to stabilize your mood. Learning how to add more healthy fats to your diet can help you lose weight and improve your wellbeing.
Water does not contain any nutrients, but it is one of the most important components of any diet. It makes up between 55 and 65 percent of your body weight and is essential for cell function and other critical body functions. Make sure to stay adequately hydrated throughout the day by drinking a lot of water. You can also eat foods that have water in them, such as vegetables and fruits.
A common mistake many people make when switching to a healthy diet is trying to take it on through drastic changes. The process does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Instead of completely depriving yourself of the foods you love, try effecting the transition through small, manageable steps.
After some time, the slow changes will become ingrained habits, making it easier to sustain your healthier lifestyle. The alternative only sets you up for failure, leading you to cheat on the healthy diet plan or give it up completely.
These tips will help you start and sustain eating healthier:
The main reason why making this change successfully eludes so many people is a lack of mental preparation. It is much easier to do a diet, juice cleanse or detoxify than it is to stick to a healthy diet. First, you must spell identify what you want to achieve and how much change you are willing to go through in order to reach your goal. Then create a plan incorporating the various stages by which you will change your diet and overall lifestyle. Remember, a small but permanent change is better than completely failing in your efforts.
As you remove the unhealthy food items in your diet, replace them with healthier choices. This will impact your health positively, and help you sustain the healthy diet.
Cooking at home is one of the most effective ways of controlling what you are eating. It will help you avoid unhealthy chemicals, fats, and sugar, enabling you to consume fewer calories. Furthermore, it is much cheaper than daily takeout, which can leave you feeling bloated, tired, and irritable.
Stay well hydrated by drinking a lot of water throughout the day. Water can flush out toxins that cause headaches and low energy. Besides, many people confuse thirst with feelings of hunger. Staying well hydrated will, therefore, help you avoid the junk and eat healthier foods.
In this instance, moderation refers to consuming only as much as your body requires. The goal is to feel satiated after a meal, not stuffed. Serve your food in smaller portions to help you moderate your eating. Finish off each meal with fruits to keep you feeling full for longer periods of time.
Do not focus on eliminating certain foods from the menu. Such a ban is only likely to increase your craving for that food. That is only human nature. Instead, start by limiting your intake of processed foods and reducing the portion sizes for unhealthy foods. Whenever possible, eat with other people. This will help you stay mindful and less likely to overeat.
Start off each day with a substantial breakfast and consume smaller meals during the day. Eating a good meal for breakfast will improve your metabolism. Further, the smaller meals will help you sustain your energy levels through the day.
Eating foods with too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and even strokes. Try not to salt food at the dinner table. Further, make sure to inspect salt levels on the foods you buy. Items that have 1.5 gram of salt per every 100 grams are highly over-salted.
Eating healthy is a surefire way to lose weight and keep it off. Being obese or overweight has been linked to the occurrence of ailments such as heart disease, Diabetes, and certain kinds of cancer. A low-calorie diet coupled with regular exercise will help you manage a healthy weight.
Eating healthy foods is one of the best ways to lose weight and keep it off. Cutting out unhealthy food items like too much salt, sugar and fats reduces the amount of excess carbs your body has to store as fat. Combining a healthy diet with regular exercise will keep your body trim and tone for a long time.
Eating a balanced diet will also help to improve your overall health. Poor diet has been linked to a variety of ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Consuming healthy foods will help keep your body virile and functioning optimally.
A balanced diet, rich in fats and fiber, will help keep your digestive system healthy. Fiber promotes good digestion; reducing the instances of bloating and constipation that junk food often results in.
Healthy eating can also improve mental health. Researchers discovered that the foods you eat affect your mood and emotional well-being profoundly. The researchers were able to link diets filled with processed meals, junk foods, and sugary meals with higher rates of anxiety and depression. Unhealthy foods may even go as far as exacerbating the symptoms of conditions like Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and ADHD. Conversely, healthy eating can produce responses in your body that can help alleviate the symptoms of these conditions.
Eating healthy is a lifelong commitment that requires patience and a lot of discipline. Many people approach it from a flawed perspective, thinking that they have to completely sacrifice what they love and are used to eating. However, you can and should do it in a different way. Gradual, progressive change is more likely to become ingrained as a permanent part of your daily habit. With a little research, determination and good planning, you will set yourself up for success as you strive to eat in a healthier way.