Eating a healthy diet is not about following a strict diet or avoiding your favorite foods. Instead, it’s about having a healthy balanced diet that supports your health.
A healthy diet plan leads to a healthy heart, strong bones and muscles, a sharp mind, and many more. But before we dive in, let us understand what healthy eating is.
What Is Healthy Eating and Why is it Important
Healthy eating means eating a well-balanced diet. The diet comprises vegetables, fruits, lean meat, fish, whole grains, beans, and legumes.
It also involves eating food in its natural process. That is, limiting your intake of refined and processed foods. However, eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing.
This simple guide will help you cut through healthy eating confusion. You will also learn how to create a tasty eating plan suitable for your well being.
Healthy eating promotes good health and well-being. And here are the reasons for eating healthy important;
- Weight loss: A healthy diet plan is vital for weight loss. For instance, vegetables and fruits are low in calories, thus facilitating weight loss.
- Reduce chronic disease risks: Eating healthy foods reduces the chances of developing heart diseases and cancer.
- It improves your performance: Carbohydrates give you the energy to perform better in sports.
- Strong bones and teeth: Foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D promote healthy and strong bones and teeth. Thus, you reduce the chances of suffering from osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
- Healthy eating improves mood: A good diet improves your brain function, which boosts your mood.
How to Healthy Eat Everyday
So you want to eat healthily, but you don’t know what foods to include in your diet? Eating healthy depends on listening to your body and fueling it with the nourishment it needs.
But before we go further, let us understand what macronutrients and micronutrients are.
Macronutrients include fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. They fuel your body with energy, and thus you need them in large quantities.
Here is a list of common foods in each macronutrient group;
- Carbohydrates (carbs): include fibers, sugar, and starches. They provide you four calories per gram. USDA recommends 45-60% of your calories should be from carbs. Carbs foods are whole grains, starchy vegetables, dairy products, legumes, and fruits.
- Proteins: are the building block of our bodies. They contain four calories per gram. Some examples of high-protein foods include; lentils, fish, lean meat, poultry, and eggs. According to USDA, 10-35% of your calorie intake should come from proteins.
- Fats: provide your body with the most calorie, which is nine calories per gram. Fat foods to include in your diet are avocados, eggs, oily fish, seeds, nuts, and butter. USDA recommends 20-35% of your calories should be from fats.
However, your macronutrient consumptions depend on your lifestyle, goals, and personal preferences.
Understand your Micronutrients
Micronutrients are vital minerals and vitamins that your body needs in smaller quantities. Vitamins produce energy, boost your immunity, and help blood clotting. On the other hand, minerals facilitate healthy bone growth and fluid balance.
Here is a list of some common micronutrients;
- Potassium: is an electrolyte that maintains steady blood flow. More, it regulates water and PH balance, contraction of muscles, and blood pressure.
- Magnesium: helps fight depression and boost immunity. It also helps convert food into energy and the formation of new proteins.
- Iron: helps to carry oxygen in your blood; thus, it must go for your diet. Further, iron improves your immunity and brain functions.
- Calcium: helps build bones and keep them healthy. Moreover, it enables blood clotting. Also, it helps your heart to beat.
- Vitamin D: promotes calcium absorption and facilitates bone growth.
- Vitamin A: facilitates blood clotting and bone development.
- Vitamin B1: helps to convert nutrients into energy.
What to Include In Your Healthy Eating Plan
A good healthy eating plan is one that contains; healthy foods to eat and what foods to avoid
Healthy Foods to Eat Everyday
A healthy eating plan should comprise;
- Vegetables and fruits
- Lean meat, beans, poultry, eggs, legumes, and nuts
- Whole grains and starches
- Unsaturated fats and dairy products
- Limit your intake of saturated fats and trans fats
Foods for Healthy Eating
When planning for healthy foods to eat, ensure your food list comprises;
- Vegetables: have fibers and micronutrients that promote good health. Further, they are low in calories, which supports weight loss.
- Fruits: have antioxidants that help lower fight diseases and other infections. Furthermore, eating fruits keeps your body hydrated.
- Dairy products: contain calcium, vitamin D and A, zinc, and protein. You use these nutrients to build strong bones and teeth.
- Nuts and seeds: contain both macronutrients and micronutrients. Nuts and seeds regulate your body weight. Besides, it holds your food intake and burns energy.
- Eggs: contain proteins, healthy fats, and micronutrients, which facilitate good health.
- Legumes and beans: provide you with protein, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers. They improve cholesterol levels, maintain a healthy gut, and reduce blood sugar.
- Beverages: water helps you maintain the balance of your body fluids. Fluids also help in digestion, circulation, and absorption.
- Herbs and Spices: are full of healthy compounds that promote good health. They also help you fight inflammation and reduce cell damage. Further, herbs have flavors that help you cut down on sugar and salt.
- Meat and fish: provide your body with proteins. Besides, fish is low in calories, therefore supports weight loss. Fish also has iron that carries oxygen in your body.
Foods to Never Include in Your Healthy Eating Recipes
But there is a catch! Some foods are not suitable for your health. You need to eliminate or limit unhealthy foods from your diet. And here are foods to limit from your healthy food list;
- Trans fat: raises your bad cholesterol while lowering your good cholesterol. Research links trans-fat risk to heart diseases, which is a leading killer among adults.
- Sugar-based products: increase your risk of fatty liver disease, heart diseases, and type 2 diabetes.
- Refined carbs: have a high glycemic index-linked to overeating. And overeating increases your risk of chronic diseases.
- Vegetable oil: oxidized unsaturated fats trigger inflammation of body tissues. And this is a risk factor that causes a heart attack.
Why It Is Important To Control the Portion You Take
Better digestion: Managing portions help you end cramping and bloating after eating. If you overload your digestion, you can suffer from indigestion and discomfort.
Controlling the portion balances your blood sugar: Overeating leads to blood sugar imbalances, which can lead to insulin resistance.
Weight loss: When you eat smaller portions, chances are you will lose weight. Making ahealthy food list will see you cut calories and shed unwanted pounds.
Saves your money: When you control your portions, there is no need to spend much on shopping.
How to Make Healthy Eating Sustainable
Eating healthy helps you develop sustainable eating habits that improve your health. What you include on your plate plays a role in your day-to-day activities. Sustain healthy eating habits will be simple if you follow these steps;
- Fill your plate with plant-like vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
- Make a new healthy eating plate.
- Eat whole foods.
- Eat mindfully.
- Stay away from unhealthy foods.
Essential Supplements You Can Consider Adding to Healthy Eating
The dietary supplement is a vital way to plug gaps in your diet. However, it will be best if you get all your nutrients from nutrient-dense foods.
But some supplements have proven to be helpful. And these supplements are;
- Fish oil: contains Omega-3 fats, which are essential for a healthy heart and brain.
- Probiotics: are bacteria in your digestive tract lining that fight infection and facilitate the absorption of nutrients. Including probiotics in your diet helps you keep a healthy gut and boost your immunity.
- Vitamin D: is necessary for healthy and strong bones, muscular, and overall health. You get it from sunlight or vitamin D rich foods.
- Whey Protein: is suitable for those who take part in sports or those who participate in extreme exercises.
- Vitamin A: supports healthy immunity by keeping away infections and diseases.
However, taking too many supplements can harm your health. For instance, too much Vitamin A leads to a toxic level if taken frequently.
Keep this in Mind
Good nutrition is not the only thing that matters for optimal health. Healthy eating habits and exercising can boost your health. Making healthy eating plans will see you achieve your nutritional goals.
Also, including adequate sleep and hydration in your plan is key for good health. Therefore, switching to healthy eating habits doesn’t have to be complicated.
Read Next: Healthy Weight for Women and Men Based On Height and Age.
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