What Is a Healthy Diet?
Just like we know we have to sleep for 8 hours and brush our teeth every day, we also know that we need to eat healthily. So, the term healthy dieting is not new. Unfortunately, not all of us follow a healthy diet plan. Some are hesitant to do it because they are scared of the budget. They have the notion that healthy foods are expensive.
Others just can’t drop high sugars, bad fats, and other junks they are addicted to. There are also a few others who think that healthy dieting is too complicated. What they don’t understand is that it is the key to living a disease-free and happy life. We are going to emphasize the elements, keys, and importance of a healthy diet.
Elements of a Healthy Diet
To help you determine if you are observing a healthy diet or not, here are the basic elements you need to include in your meal plan:
1. Whole Grains
Unlike processed grains, whole grains have their nutrients intact. They are packed with iron, Vitamin B, and fiber. So, you can count on the food option to give your body maximum protection against diseases. They are also a basic source of energy. If you are looking to consume whole grain, you need to start shopping for:
- Whole wheat
- Brown rice
- Whole oat
- Whole barley
Your body is like a car. It needs to be fueled daily to work at its optimum. The source of fuel is protein and you need enough of it to go through a physically-demanding day. Proteins also promote tissue repair and healing following an injury or a disease. Healthy protein options include:
- Lean meat
3. Fats and Oils
Fats and oils are beneficial to the body but not all options are healthy. Saturated fats and oils that are present in fried foods and fatty meats, for example, are a risk for stroke and heart attack. You need to take unsaturated options instead. They are rich in omega 3, which is not just good for your heart but also for your brain. Unsaturated oils are found in
- Oily fish
The major sources of vitamins are vegetables and fruits. According to research, they help immensely in protecting the body against heart diseases, among other functions. Vitamin C, for example, which is predominant in fruits, is good for the bones and teeth. Vitamin E, on the other hand, which is present in peanuts and greens, is important in boosting your immunity and hastening recovery.
Your diet should be rich in essential vitamins like iron, calcium, and magnesium. While iron is needed for blood production, calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth. The same can be said about magnesium. You can find calcium and magnesium in dairy products whereas iron is present in dark chocolate and greens.
6. Dietary Fiber
Fiber is important in protecting you against diabetes and heart diseases. It can also help you lose weight, have youthful skin, and enjoy better digestion. You can find fiber in foods like:
- Whole grains
7. Plenty of Water
Water is life and you need it for several body functions. The major ones are:
- Energizes the body
- Facilitates better digestion
- Detoxifies the body
- Prevents headaches
- Softens the skin
Experts recommend taking at least 8 glasses a day. Of course, you can take more, especially during the summer when you sweat more.
Importance of a Healthy Diet
You probably are asking: After eating healthy, then what? Well, a healthy diet comes with some amazing returns. Here are the notable ones:
More often than not, obesity and uncontrolled weight gain are linked to poor feeding. Taking foods rich in fats and sugars is never healthy if you are hoping to lose weight. You need healthy components like fibers and lean proteins to manage your weight.
Major organs of the body like the heart and the brain depend on a healthy diet to function well. Failure to taking healthy meals may result in serious health issues. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, we can prevent 80% of cardiovascular diseases with healthy dieting. Another study by the American Society of Clinical Oncology shows that the risk for cancer can be reduced by eating healthy.
Do you know that you can sleep much comfortably if you eat healthily? Your body needs to be supplied with the right nutrients to avoid sleep disruptions. When observing a healthy diet, you are expected to limit caffeine intake and alcohol consumption as they are known to interfere with your sleep quality.
Different components of a healthy diet play different functions in your physical health. Proteins, for example, build your muscles and repair damaged cells. They also promote better immunity, which is important in putting your body in the right shape. Minerals, on the other hand, make your bones stronger while whole grains fuel your muscles. At the end of the day, you can enjoy a better-looking body because of healthy dieting.
A healthy diet is beneficial to your brain and you need it to boost memory and prevent brain slowness. One study shows that nutrients like omega 3, Vitamin C, and flavonoids which are part of a healthy diet can help fight dementia and other brain decline conditions. If you are also looking to boost your brain sharpness, you need to always eat healthily.
Keys to Healthy Dieting
According to WHO, the keys to healthy dieting include:
- Food variety – WHO suggests that taking different foods in moderation is the simplest way to observe a healthy diet. You should include legumes, lean proteins, whole wheat, and vitamins in your daily meal plan.
- More fruits and vegetables – According to the American Heart Association, you need at least 8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The two are a rich source of antioxidants, proteins, and minerals.
- Unsaturated oils – Since saturated oils are not good for you, WHO insists on unsaturated options. They don’t pose a health risk and contain balanced energy.
- Low sugar – Sugars are a leading cause of diabetes and weight gain. To manage your weight and avoid elevated blood sugar, you need to keep your blood sugar intake at a minimum. This means putting limitations on sodas and juices.
- Low salt – Similarly to sugars, WHO recommends low levels of salt. This is another way to prevent hypertension and stroke.
There are no two ways to it – you can only live healthy if you eat healthily. It may not be simple and you may have to spend more but it’s all worth it in the long run. If you are not sure how to go about it or you want to find low-cost healthy foods, talk to a nutritionist about it but don’t do away with the idea of healthy dieting.