How to Eat Healthy

You might not BE what you eat, but what you eat helps determine your health levels. And the human body requires more than just calories. Your body is a living machine that requires certain raw materials to function. You wouldn’t run a car without oil, and you wouldn’t pour sugar in your gas tank. So don’t ignore the quality and quantity of what you eat either.

Here are a few tips for how to eat healthy.

  1. A balanced diet is the best diet of all. The body needs a range of nutrients and fuel for energy. Any diet which focuses on one particular food or food group, or completely eliminates another, is not going to result in long-term health. All of the following components are important for energy; muscle building; boosting the immune system; strong bones and teeth; smooth, clear skin; and even to protect eyesight.
  2. Drink plenty of water. The body is about 60% water, and all of the chemical processes which create healthy cells require water as part of the reaction or as a comfortable medium in which to occur. While coffee, tea, and soft drinks are popular beverages, and can be an enjoyable part of one’s daily intake, they can be diuretics, which means that they actually pull water out of the body. Be sure you stay hydrated.
  3. Proteins are the building blocks for muscles. Sources of protein are meat, fish, eggs, beans, nuts and whole grains. Nutritionally, proteins from meat are no better or worse than proteins from plants. However, animal sources are likely to contain a great deal more fat. Unless one needs to actively lose weight, there is room in a healthy diet for limited amounts of fat. Unfortunately, many processed and packaged foods contain high quantities of fat.
  4. Carbohydrates are the fuel that provides us with energy. Not only are bread and pasta carbohydrates, but all sugars as well. This is because a carbohydrate is nothing but a complex sugar. The body breaks all of these items down to simple sugars. Everyone needs a certain amount of this fuel. The problem is that it is easy to eat too many. Any carbohydrates that are not used immediately are stored as fat.
  5. Get a variety of vitamins. Fruits and vegetables are rich in some vitamins, while meat and dairy are rich in others. Vitamins protect the body in many ways, and the lack of certain vitamins can lead to serious health problems. Five or more servings of fruits and/or vegetables daily are recommended, and variety is important to provide the full range of vitamins.
  6. How to Eat Healthy

    How to Eat Healthy

    Get a variety of minerals too. Minerals provider similar benefits to vitamins, chemically, minerals are different. Fruits, vegetables and dairy products are good sources of minerals. Familiar minerals are calcium, potassium, or sodium.
  7. A balanced diet includes occasional treats. Few people have the desire or discipline to never eat dessert or enjoy a sweet snack. In small quantities, compared to the majority of daily foods, treats can help a person enjoy eating and maintain an overall healthy diet.
  8. Get plenty of fiber. Fiber is found in plant foods, like fruits and vegetables. (Detect a theme here yet?) The bulk from fiberis necessary for healthy digestion, stimulating the intestines to move digested food along while nutrients are absorbed into the body.
  9. Limit your salt intake. The amount of salt added to almost all packaged foods is sure to add up to more than anyone should eat in a day. Continually introducing excess salt into the body will deplete calcium and magnesium, and excessive sodium intake can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis or high blood pressure.
  10. Limit your fat intake. Certain omega fats provide health benefits, but most fat is excess calories.
  11. Limit processed foods. Processed foods are foods that come in boxes and/or cans. They’re almost always too high in fat and sodium, and they’re almost always too low in fiber too. Overcooking and processing destroys the vitamins and minerals in food. So for a healthy diet, eat fresh foods as much as possible. Cook them at home, using only small amounts of water.
  12. Educate yourself to read food labels and research which foods provide which benefits. Anyone who begins to understand the effects of bad eating choices on health and longevity will be motivated to make improvements.

Any changes toward a healthier diet are good. Few people will enjoy all vegetables, but by experimenting with new foods most people can find items they like. Try different methods of preparation, too. If you dislike cooked green beans, try raw ones as a finger food. Squash by itself may be unpalatable, but as an ingredient in muffins, it might taste good.

If you reduce the bad choices and increase the good choices, you’ll eventually discover that your tastes have changed. Healthy foods will become your preference.

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