Are you leading a healthy lifestyle? Taking care of your fitness levels will only get you so far, you must also control your eating habits. Did you know that 80% of all strokes and heart diseases are preventable simply by following a healthy eating plan?
Struggling To Eat Well
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Another difficulty Americans have is that the guidelines of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Guide Pyramid of 1992 have been updated several times since then. Originally, the advice was to consume large amounts of carbohydrates and few protein and fats.
However, much research has been conducted over the last 40 years, with many different foods having been identified as healthy for us over the long term. Research emanating from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Michigan seems more enlightened.
What Type Of Foods Are Healthy Foods?
When analyzing the various approaches to healthy eating, certain commonalities may be found. For instance, the following types of foods are generally described as being healthy options:
- Vegetables and fruit – You should aim for 5 portions (frozen or fresh) a day.
- Lentils and beans – Good source of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.
- Low-fat dairy products – This can be milk or yoghurt. These are good sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, and calcium.
- Lean protein – Eggs, fish or meat, but not processed meats such as sausages or salami.
- High fiber and whole grain foods – Brown rice, oats, barley, or whole wheat pasta or bread.
- Healthy fats – Olive oil, hemp oil, nuts, seeds, fish, and peanut butter are all good sources of healthy fats.
- Omega 3-rich foods – Oily fish is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Such acids help improve cholesterol levels and are good for the heart.
- Water – It is important to stay hydrated by drinking clean water, including unsweetened coffee or tea.
Tips To Make Sure Your Meals Are Healthy
Ideally, you should enjoy your food, but there are some foods (those with added salt, sugar, or bad fats) that you should be eating less of. What you can do:
- Reduce your portion size and try to eat several small meals rather than three large ones. Don’t skip any meals.
- Eat all your meals slowly. It takes the brain about 20 minutes to acknowledge satiety.
- Eat your dinner sitting at the dining table, rather than in front of the television.
- Consume alcohol in moderation, and be limited to a maximum of one drink a day.
- Follow the Mediterranean diet: this would include food items such as olive oil, feta, hummus, grilled fish, fresh vegetables, and a glass of red wine.
- Healthy snacks. Trade in your chips for air popped popcorn.
- Read the nutrition labels. These labels clearly state all the artificial or unnecessary items added into processed foods.
- Eat whole foods. For instance, eat apples rather than apple pie. Whole foods have more antioxidants and fiber than processed foods, which normally have added sugar and salt.
- Limit soft drinks. Spruce up plain water with a slice of lemon, cucumber, or even a strawberry.
- Eat more veggies. Fruit smoothies may taste great, but be careful: fruit contains a great deal of sugar. It is better to have a smoothie made with vegetables, sweetened with some fruit.
The Bottom Line
It may be easy to overindulge in baked goods and sweetened juices. However, this will not only be harmful for your waistline: you may also develop type 2 diabetes, heart and liver problems, and increase your chances of having a stroke. Healthy eating does not mean that there must not be enjoyment of foods. An occasional treat is perfectly acceptable. Eating healthily limits your chances of developing health issues. You will have more energy and will even age better. Furthermore, you can train yourself to relish good food rather than junk food.