Why is a healthy diet important?
We always hear that we need to eat healthily, but what constitutes a healthy diet? People often have the misconception that eating healthy requires a lot of effort, time and money. However, a few simple lifestyle modifications can go a long way. Something as simple as learning how to read nutrition labels is really important as you may think you‘re eating healthy but you could be wrong.
A healthy diet may help protect against illnesses and diseases such as liver disease, diabetes, and heart disease. An unhealthy diet and the lack of physical activity are two main reasons for health risks worldwide. A healthy diet also can reduce or prevent malnutrition. Keep reading to learn 10 quick and easy guidelines for healthy eating.
What are the 10 guidelines for healthy eating?
- Add more fruits and veggies to your diet
Depending on how many calories you consume throughout the day determines how many fruits and vegetables you should be eating. Research suggests that if you eat a 2,000 calorie diet, you should aim for 2 ½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day. This should increase or decrease depending on how whether you eat more or less. The fiber in produce may help protect against certain diseases and certain types of cancer. In addition, fruits and vegetables provide a ton of vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Learn about the Super 16 Vitamin and Mineral Mix to see how you can get more vitamins with less effort.
- Watch your sugar intake
Did you know that the average American consumes roughly 3lbs of sugar a week? That’s over 5 times over the recommended healthy limit! Refined sugar, which is not derived from a whole foods source is correlated with certain diseases such as liver disease, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Refined sugars can sneak up on you where you least expect it, that’s why it’s super important to learn how to identify them in nutrition labels.
- Reduce salt
Salt, also known as sodium, if consumed too much can raise blood pressure and have very harmful effects. Especially those with liver conditions are recommended to limit sodium, and those with cirrhosis should exclude sodium completely from their diet. Keeping salt intake to less than 5 g per day helps prevent hypertension and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke in the adult population. For more tips on what to eat for a healthy liver diet, click here.
- Limit bad fats
There are different kinds of fats in the food we eat such as good and bad fats. Limiting all fats is not possible, and won’t make you shed weight. For example, what should be reduced is trans fatty acids and saturated fats. Both of these can increase the risk of heart disease, clog arteries and increase cholesterol levels.
Saturated fats can be found in vegetable oils, and animal products such as high-fat dairy, eggs, and meat. It is found in a more solid form than trans fats.
Trans fats have been said to be the worst kind of fats. These kinds of fats are found in vegetable oils to try and increase shelf life, thus they are found in a liquid form. Foods that contain trans fats include coffee creamers, frozen pizza, certain cakes and cookies.Limiting the consumption of foods containing high amounts of these bad fats. You can also change the way you cook by baking rather than frying your food.
- Add more whole grains to your diet
Make a few changes to your diet like switching white bread for whole wheat bread, and white rice with brown rice. You can even substitute quinoa for rice.When baking, try using whole wheat flour, and incorporating oats. For breakfast, you can also eat unsweetened cereal. If you’re running late, an Amsety Bar is a great option for a nutrient-dense and delicious breakfast on the go.
- Don‘t be thirsty
Stay hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day. Hydration is very important for your body to work properly. Water helps your body to remove toxins, keep its temperature and lubricate your joints.
- Prepare your meals
Meal prepping can save a lot of time, money and extra calories. On average, every American eats 1 out of 5 meals in their car. Picking up a meal on the go can seem like a quick and easy option, but when you don’t prepare your meals ahead of time, you don’t know what’s in them.
- Pay attention to nutrition labels
Nutrition labels can be difficult to understand. As stated before, learning about nutrition labels can be very beneficial. Read our guide on how to understand nutrition labels.
- Don‘t skip meals
Skipping breakfast is very common even though it is one of the most important meals of the day. If you’re missing out on meals because of time, try making breakfast the night before, like overnight oats.
- Control your portions
Although you may think big portions are generous, the calories add up. Double check food labels as most of the time the serving sizes are for less than what’s in the package itself so you may have to multiply the calories, fat, sodium etc. Check out Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate for more tips.
How can I start eating healthy today?
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