A healthy diet is not about food intake limitations, nor is it about never getting to eat the things you actually like. It is about improving your health, your mood, being more energetic, and feeling great in general. In the following article, we will explore what a healthy diet is all about, and why you should make this switch. These are more or less universal tips, but if you are allergic to certain substances, or have a health condition that warrants a different diet, then you should check with your nutritionist before you make any plans.
Benefits of healthy eating
Generally speaking, your diet has a profound impact on your mood as well as on your sense of wellbeing. Studies have shown that a typical Western diet that consists of processed meats, takeout foods, sugary snacks, and packaged meals plays a role in mental conditions like depression, stress, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.
On the other hand, if you eat fresh fruits and vegetables and if you actually cook your meals, reduce the amount of sugar you eat, and opt for refined carbohydrates, you will reap major health benefits. Your mood will improve, you will lower the risk of mental disease, as well as heart disease.
Making the switch
In order to effectively make this switch, you will need to adopt certain new habits that might seem bothersome, but gradually, you will grow to like them.
- Prepare your own meals and take control over what you are eating.
- Replace unhealthy foods with their healthier alternatives, like switching to healthy fats from unhealthy ones, or from animal fats to refined carbohydrates.
- Read labels in order to efficiently avoid eating unhealthy ingredients, since it is possible that manufacturers will hide that their food contains unhealthy fats or sugars, but they are obliged to put it on the label.
- Drink more water because it stimulates our organism to filter out all of the toxins and you will feel better when you hydrate.
The important thing to remember when you start making these changes is to focus on how you feel. Truth be told, if you make such a drastic switch, the first few weeks might feel stressful, since our body is addicted to sugar, but as time goes by, you should feel much more positive.
Reduce the intake of sugar
As stated, sugar intake can lead to addiction and, even though it is not as serious as other addictions out there, it is still hard to simply break out of it. So, you should gradually reduce the sugar intake to make the whole experience less stressful. Cut back on your candies or your desserts; this is a good start, but unfortunately, these are not the only sources of highly concentrated sugar.
Sugar can also be found in bread, cereal, pasta sauce, canned soups and vegetables, frozen dinners, low-fat meals, fizzy drinks, and fast foods. Basically, when manufactures need to ensure their product sells, stuffing it with sugar is a safe bet to make it more delicious.
More fruits and vegetables
You need something that is low in calories and rich in nutritional value, and fruits and vegetables fit the bill perfectly. Basically, if think that you are eating enough fruits and vegetables, feel free to double that amount.
Fruits are a great replacement for any dessert, and if you are addicted to sugary drinks, buy a blender and use fruits to make smoothies. Also you should switch from your usual side dish to vegetables, or salads to be more precise (tomatoes, carrots, eggplant, lettuce, etc.)
Increasing the intake of high dietary fibers will help you maintain your weight and lower the risk of getting a stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Focus on natural and unprocessed foods since they are higher fiber foods, also apples, berries, barley, oatmeal, nuts, carrots, beans, and citrus fruits are all good sources of fiber.
Choosing healthy carbs
We need carbs for energy, and if you are determined enough to add a workout regimen to your healthy diet, then you will need carbs for more productive training. Again, whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables are all sources of healthy carbs, as they take longer to digest and you feel full for a longer amount of time. Furthermore, by eating these foods, you will keep your insulin levels stable.
Unhealthy carbs are white flour, white rice that was stripped of bran, and refined sugars.
Don’t forget calcium
For the better workout and for stronger bones and healthier teeth in general, you’ll need calcium. The recommended dose is 1000 mg per day, if you are young and in your twenties, and 1200 mg if you are over 50. Calcium is found in dairy products and in vegetables like kale, lettuce, and broccoli. Also, beans are a great source of calcium.
Protein is really important as it gives us energy, but if you have kidney disease, too much protein can be harmful. We all need high quality protein to stay healthy, and also while we age; after all, protein is in our DNA structure, so it is one of building blocks of life. You can find protein in fish and chicken and in the vegetables and fruits we have mentioned throughout the text.
Fats may not sound healthy, but rest assured that there are healthy versions of fats, like omega-e fats which reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and can also help you fight dementia. You should eat food with monounsaturated fats like avocados, nuts, and seeds (pumpkin and sesame). Omega-3 is one of the polyunsaturated fats which can be found in fish like salmon, anchovies, sardines, and in flaxseed and walnuts.
Moderation is the key
To conclude, your diet will only help you if you practice moderation, because eating too much of anything can be harmful, and it can create a misbalance. Also, do not regard any type of food as off-limits, since no harm will come to you if you occasionally eat a cake, or a burger.