New Year, new me… a common phrase that people say every year in the hopes of becoming not only a better person, but a healthier person. Being a healthy person requires not only physical activity at the gym, but a healthy diet as well. Having a balanced diet and a consistent workout routine are the main ingredients to living a healthy lifestyle. When it comes to eating healthy, most people think of the dreaded word “diet." Dieting in the definition of most people is the restriction of food. But in reality, restricting yourself does not mean you have to starve in order to be healthy and lose weight. Knowing a few key points in our daily dietary choices can help us not only make the task of eating healthy less overwhelming, but it will create good habits to achieve better long term results.
Consuming a variety of foods helps your body obtain all the nutrients that it needs. Limiting yourself to only certain types of food, restricts your body from gaining nutrients, therefore preventing your body from functioning to its full capabilities. A way to consume a wide variety of foods is increasing the amount of vegetables that you consume daily; the more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that your body needs to be healthy. For example, choosing red, orange, and dark green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli ensures you are getting a variety of nutrients in your diet.
Drink more water and skip out on sugary drinks. Replace drinks with water or unsweetened beverages to help cut back your calorie intake daily. Beverages such as soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar. If you want to add a little more flavor in your water, just add a slice of lemon, lime, cucumber or any fruit. Drinking more water will also help keep your body hydrated.
Incorporating more nuts, vegetable oils and fatty fish into your diet help supply your body with healthy unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are considered to be “good” or “healthy” fats. These fats help reduce the risk of high cholesterol levels and benefit your health in other ways when replacing saturated fats. Omega-3 is an example of an essential unsaturated fat; you can find omega- 3 in fish and other seafood. Omega -3 has been shown in various studies to aid in protecting the body against heart disease by lowering blood pressure and blood triglyceride levels. Also substituting butter when cooking with olive, canola or peanut oil, which are a great source of monounsaturated fats, and have a cholesterol lowering effect.
The key in creating a long term healthy dietary habits for yourself is not necessarily restricting yourself from food, but indulging in the right healthy foods. Instead of taking away certain foods from your diet, substituting them with healthier options leaves your appetite and body satisfied.
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