The food you eat affects your overall health. When you choose a nutritious balanced diet, you can receive various health benefits including increased energy and better sleep, helping you stay alert and performing better with your tasks. Eating healthy can also lower your risk of developing some diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. In addition, it can help you reach your desired weight. If you want to enjoy these advantages in the long term, here’s how.
Know How Much Calories Your Body Needs
One of the most important things to keep in mind is the amount of food your body needs. The number of calories you need depends on your natural size, age, gender, muscle mass, and level of physical activity. But on average, an adult needs between 2,000 to 2,500 calories a day. To measure this, you need to estimate your body’s daily calorie requirement. You can use calorie tables and calculators but these tools may not be able to factor in your metabolism, or the speed at which your body uses up those calories throughout the day. Make sure to monitor your weight and make adjustments to your overall calorie intake until you find the number that’s right for you.
Create a Diet Filed with Healthy Foods
Once you know the calories you need daily, you need to make sure you eat foods that are good for you. Your diet must consist of a variety of foods to ensure you get the proper nutrients your body needs. To know about the nutritional content of a packaged food, read the nutrition facts and food labels. This way you can understand the nutritional content and number of calories you get per serving. In general, your diet must consist of the following foods:
- Dairy products: Select two or three servings of dairy products each day like natural yogurt and milk to get your dose of calcium. If you are not fond of or can’t consume dairy, you can substitute it with deep green leafy vegetables like cooked broccoli and spinach.
- Whole grains and cereals: It’s recommended to eat six to 11 servings of grains and cereals each day. Make sure half of the servings are from whole grains so your body gets enough fiber. The foods rich in fiber are whole-wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal.
- Protein: Many people get their daily protein needs from eating meat, fish, and eggs. But foods like dried beans, seeds and nuts, and whole grains are also great sources of protein.
- Fruits and vegetables: Including fruits and vegetables in your diet is key to your overall health. They provide lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals. The recommendation is two to three cups of vegetables every day. Also, you can eat plenty of fruits as your natural sweet treats including apple, pear, peach, strawberries, and raspberries. For vegetables, some healthy choices you can enjoy are sweet corn, squash, and carrots.
- Healthy fats and oils: Good sources of healthy fats are olive and canola oil. You can also eat fish, soy, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds to get omega-3 fatty acids.
Limit Eating These Foods
You can enjoy occasional treats, unless advised against them by your doctor. But you need to be mindful as excess consumption of the following foods can lead to developing serious illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
- Trans fat and saturated fat: Trans fats are commonly found in some processed foods and pre-made desserts. On the other hand, saturated fat are present in red meat, full-fat cheeses, and cured meats. Chips and fried foods are also high in these fats.
- Sugar-based foods: Consume cookies, cakes, candies, sugary drinks, and syrups in moderation. They have been known to contribute to increased chances of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- Refined carbs: White bread is one example of a food high in refined carbs. Eating such foods has been linked to obesity and metabolic disease.
- Foods high in sodium: Excess sodium is not good for your body. It can lead to increasing your blood pressure and developing heart disease. Make sure to limit eating pre-packaged meals such as pretzels, frozen pizza, canned soups, and jarred sauces.
Control Portion Size
Portion control is not just for people maintaining a healthy weight. It can also help ensure you get the right amount of foods your body needs, so you won’t consume too much or or too few calories. The best way to do this is to read the food labels or use a kitchen scale.
n some situations, controlling your portion size may be more difficult, like when eating out in a restaurant. In such instances, you can use your plate to control the portion sizes. Divide the plate into quarters and dedicate one quarter to your meat or protein. Starchy carbohydrates like pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, or corn can take up one quarter. The remaining half of the plate can be filled with lower-calorie foods like vegetables and fruits.
Combine Good Nutrition with Healthy Practices
Having a healthy diet is not the only way to keep yourself healthy. Pairing it with healthy practices will give you better results. Start with exercising regularly. A 30-minute walk around the block every day can boost your health and energy.
Also, a good night’s rest is just as important as eating healthy when it comes to lowering disease risks. Sleep allows your body to repair itself and rid itself of stress hormones like cortisol, to prepare you for the day to come.
Make sure to keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Aside from keeping you fit and healthy, these practices can also help the body recover faster from an illness. Many treatment facilities like the drug rehab Phoenix residents go to encourage their patients to include such healthy habits in their daily routine, so they can experience long-term health benefits. If you have trouble sticking to a healthy diet, you can prepare your meals in advance.
Although there are various factors in keeping yourself healthy, having a well-balanced and nutritious diet is vital. You can have a piece of chocolate every once in a while, but make sure to do so in moderation or reserve them for special occasions. By choosing healthy foods and having well-balanced meals, you’ll surely see a boost in your overall wellness.