As essential as exercise, a healthy diet is one of the key components for good health and nutrition. It helps provide more energy and boosts our mood, making us feel better about ourselves. A healthy diet may also protect us from acquiring diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart risks. When we choose to eat healthy, it doesn’t mean limiting and depriving ourselves. It is choosing the right food that we will still enjoy and benefit from.
Basic rule is, we keep a balance of all nutrients, such as protein, fiber, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in our diet so we can sustain a healthy body. It is just a matter of how you choose the healthiest options from each category of the nutrients. There is no need to eliminate any of those, you just need to be wise in selecting. Eating a variety of foods while consuming less sugar and salt, avoiding processed food and those high in saturated fats are necessary when you want to maintain a healthy diet.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Not only it will give your plate an eye-catching dish, but it will surely supply a good source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. When our diet is rich with fruits and vegetables, it will help to decrease the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. Fruits and vegetables are very rich in fiber, which is also known as roughage. This fiber can’t be broken down by our body. It passes through the body undigested which helps to keep our digestive system clean and healthy. It eases bowel movements and sweeps out harmful carcinogens and flushes out cholesterol out of our body. When toxins are flushed out of the body, it also helps improves the health and appearance of our skin.
Choose wisely. Do you think all fats are bad for you? Not all fats are the same. Fat is also a type of nutrient which our body needs to absorb vitamins and protection for the heart and brain. We just have to choose wisely and go for unsaturated fats and omega-3s. Some good sources are olive, peanut and sesame oils, avocados, nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, fatty fish, soymilk and tofu.
Reduce. Too much of anything is bad. Limit your intake of sugar and salt. Our bloodstream is flooded with sugar when we eat refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pizza, white rice, sweet desserts, pasta and pastries. This will trigger a surge of insulin to clear the sugar from our blood. When our diet is high on refined carbs and sugar, it can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, weight gain and mood disorders. The key is to choose the right carbs. There is no need to deprive yourself. There are complex carbs that when taken, can stable blood sugar levels and reduce fat accumulation. These are found in vegetables, whole grains and some naturally sweet fruits.
High sodium consumption contributes to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease. Like any other nutrient, sodium plays an essential role to our health. It is necessary for maintenance of plasma volume, acid-base balance, transmission of nerve impulses and normal cell function. However, when taken excessively, it will be linked to hypertension and increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Keep cool. Part of a healthy diet is keeping yourself hydrated. Water flushes waste products and toxins out of our systems.
Making a shift to healthy eating is not a piece of cake, but you can take one step at a time. It is not about a complete elimination of the foods that you love to eat. It is merely choosing wisely and making a few changes daily. As these small changes become a habit, you will find yourself continuously adding healthy choices. Remember, when you cut back on unhealthy food, it is also important to replace it with a healthy alternative. Focus and indulge on how you feel after eating. The healthier food you eat, for sure, the better you’ll feel about yourself and your body after a meal.
You are what you eat. Everything we eat becomes a part of our inner being, radiating to our outer body as well. The healthier foods we consume, the better our health and nutrition will be. Take the first step now.