Do you want to make changes to your diet and lead a healthier lifestyle? The first step is to eat healthily. Healthy eating may seem complicated but in reality, it is not. It is a piece of cake – not literally speaking, of course 😉 – when you have a doable routine and a proper understanding of how food works.
Understanding the nutritional value of food and eating the right quantity at regular intervals is the key to treating your body right. In this way, you can still enjoy the flavors of various nutritious foods and stay healthy. For your convenience, this article will guide you through the basics of healthy eating.
Understanding Nutrient Density
Your primary concern regarding healthy eating should be nutrients, all of which are essential to keep your body healthy. To thrive, your body needs proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals; this is all considered the nutrient density as they are coupled with the calories present in a food item.
All foods are not nutrient-dense, but most foods contain calories. For instance, a candy bar or a bag of chips is incredibly high in calories but lacks proteins, vitamins, and fiber. Similarly, food items marketed as low-calorie contain fewer calories but many lack other nutrients.
For instance, egg whites have fewer calories than whole eggs. However, egg whites provide only 1% or less of the daily essential nutrients like iron and other minerals, whereas whole eggs have around 10% of these vital nutrients. This is because most of the nutrients are concentrated in the egg yolk.
There are nutrient-dense foods that have fewer calories like veggies and fruits. You can also consume nutrient-dense foods that are high in calories like nuts, whole eggs, fatty fish, etc. Consuming high-calorie nutrient-dense foods is fine and healthy, you just need to make sure they are in moderation compared to the other less calorie-dense foods you eat.
Just because a food has high calories doesn’t mean it’s bad for you. Similarly, because the food has low calories doesn’t make it healthy. Simply follow this rule of thumb: try to eat nutritious foods that are high in proteins, healthy fats, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Such foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, eggs, and beans.
Understanding Diet Diversity
When you’re eating healthy, it is recommended to eat a variety of foods. This is also known as Diet diversity. Having a diet filled with diverse nutritious foods promotes a healthy body weight, supports your gut bacteria, and protects you from chronic diseases. The range of food is so vast that you can find 60+ Foods starting with the same alphabet letter. You can try to introduce new food items one at a time. Eating different nutrient-dense foods is one of the simple ways to be healthier.
Taking health supplements can also greatly help because even with a balanced diet, your body might still not get all the proper nutrients it needs. Since there are a lot to choose from, your choice of supplement depends on your dietary needs. A common one is L-glutamine, a form of amino acid serving as a building block for protein. The body naturally produces glutamine, but it’s also present in various foods, such as white rice, beef, tofu, and egg. Glutamine supplements help your body when it cannot produce enough of it.
Cut Back on Highly-Processed Foods
One of the most effective ways of improving your diet is by eliminating highly-processed foods from your diet. You don’t necessarily have to avoid processed foods completely. Some nuts, frozen fruits, and veggies are processed.
However, it is best to avoid highly processed foods like candies, sodas, sugary cereals, etc. Various studies found that diets that are rich in ultra-processed foods are linked with a greater risk of heart diseases, depression, and many other health complications. Om the flip-side diets that are low in processed foods and high in nutrient-dense foods promote both physical and mental well-being.
You can improve your health effectively by having a well-balanced diet that is high in nutrient-dense foods and low in processed foods. You can also stay healthy by including various foods in your daily diet, making sure to have a well-balanced approach to proteins, carbs, healthy fats, and fiber-rich foods. Oh, and talking with a Nutritionist like myself will help too! So reach out – I’m here for you!