Your guide to healthy eating

Taking the stairs, hitting the gym daily, maintaining a sleep cycle, meditation - we all do our fair share of things to stay healthy. While all these little habits add up to build a healthy lifestyle, the most important thing that you can do for your health is eating healthy. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is one of the fundamental requirements of living a healthy life. Good nutrition can have various positive effects on our bodies such as keeping us strong, keeping our energy levels in check, lowering our risk of cardiovascular diseases and metabolic conditions, maintaining a healthy weight, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, maintaining optimum blood pressure… and the list goes on.

While most people out there want to eat healthy, the noise around diets, health, and wellness does not make it easy for one to figure out how to do so in a way that makes a difference.

Do you want to eat healthy but don’t know how?

Well it’s simple! Eating healthy is synonymous with following a balanced diet! A balanced diet is the healthiest way of eating to support our mind and body to function optimally. A healthy, balanced diet includes a variety of healthy foods to get an optimum proportion of all the important macro and micronutrients.

Here’s how you can eat a healthy and balanced diet to achieve good health.

Eat lots of vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits are an essential part of our diet. When it comes to vegetables and fruits, the variety is as important as the quantity. It is a good idea to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits daily to procure all the different essential minerals and other nutrients for our body. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help in lowering blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart diseases, help maintain better digestion, keep your appetite in check, etc. Vegetables and fruits are good sources of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. It is a good practice to fill one–fourth of your plate with vegetables at every meal in order to consume a balanced diet.

Eat more protein

Giving your body enough protein on a daily basis is essential for overall health. It gives structure and support to the cells in our body and is necessary for good immune function, movement, more strength, etc. The amount of protein one needs to consume daily depends upon factors like weight, activity levels, age, etc. Protein is the most filling macronutrient and can keep you feeling full and satisfied for a long time. It is a good idea to include a variety of protein-rich foods in all your meals such as eggs, chicken, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, milk, lentils, fish, seeds, and dry fruits.

Eat whole grains

Whole grains are the healthiest kind of grains and are a good source of complex carbohydrates and some important minerals and vitamins such as B vitamins, iron, folate, selenium, magnesium, and potassium. They are naturally high in fiber and can help you feel full and satisfied. Whole grains have been linked to a lower risk of heart diseases, diabetes, certain cancers, and other health problems and can make it easier for you to maintain healthy body weight. Good examples of whole grains include barley, brown rice, millet, buckwheat, oatmeal, popcorn, etc.

Consume good fats

Healthy fats are necessary and extremely beneficial for good health. Just like protein and carbohydrates, fat is a type of nutrient that our body needs for energy, to absorb fat soluble vitamins, and to protect our brain and heart health. When consumed in moderation, good fats can play a huge role in helping us manage our mood, fight fatigue, maintain a healthy weight, lower the risk of heart diseases, lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol levels, etc. Adding some good fats to every meal can also help you feel more full and satisfied after a meal. Some great sources of good, healthy fats include avocados, cheese, dark chocolate, nuts, chia seeds, ghee, extra virgin olive oil, etc.

Avoid highly processed or high sugar foods

Certain foods such as ultra-processed food and food that is high in sugar can have negative impacts on our health. It is a good idea to cut back on or completely avoid highly processed foods such as soda, candy, ice cream, processed meats, fried food, fast food, packaged snacks, etc. The added sugar in highly processed foods can cause weight gain and contribute to metabolic health disorders.

Make water your drink of choice

Water promotes hydration and supports our health without adding calories to our diet. Sugary drinks such as fruit juices, energy drinks, soft drinks, fruit drinks, flavored coffees, etc. have lots of sugar and no nutritional value in them. Consuming lots of sugary drinks means consuming lots of empty calories that can contribute to weight gain and bad health. It is a good idea to inculcate the habit of making water your drink choice.

Healthy eating does not have to be so complicated. Once you incorporate the basics of healthy eating such as avoiding highly processed foods and eating more protein, good fats, fruits & veggies, and complex carbohydrates in optimum portions, you will feel a huge difference in the way you feel, look, and think. Using the simple visual of a balanced plate to fill your plate can help you eat balanced meals most of the time.

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