Health nutrition refers to consuming an appropriate and regular diet to maintain optimal physical health and fight disease. Proper nutrition ensures proper functioning of brain, muscles, bones and nerves – as well as protecting from potential future issues that might arise in later years.
Diets that promote wellness typically contain foods low in fat, salt and added sugars but high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds – plus enough liquid intake – while encouraging adequate hydration levels.
1. Eat a variety of foods.
Eating a variety of food helps ensure the body receives all essential vitamins and minerals it requires, protecting against deficiencies as well as excess calories.
Nutrition experts typically believe that eating a variety of healthy foods offers many advantages, although its precise benefits have yet to be fully identified. Different people may experience different results depending on their past food experiences and current health status.
2. Eat healthy fats.
Fats often get a bad rep, but if chosen carefully they can actually aid your body’s functions and absorb certain nutrients more efficiently. Fat provides satiety, assists digestion of carbohydrates and adds flavor to food – though remember they contain calories (9 per gram).
Older research suggested that saturated fat was bad for you; however, newer studies are less certain. Instead, aim to incorporate more monounsaturated fats from olive oil and nuts as well as polyunsaturated ones from fish oils and plant oils into your diet.
3. Eat less sugar.
Sugary food and beverages contain many calories that may lead to overeating and weight gain. Reducing added sugars may help you shed unwanted pounds as well as lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other serious medical problems.
Begin by identifying your primary sources of sugar. You may be surprised to find some surprising sources such as ketchup or granola bars! Checking nutrition labels and selecting options with less added sugar could have an enormous effect.
4. Eat less saturated fat.
New research suggests saturated fats may not be as harmful as previously believed, although experts still advise limiting them to less than 10% of your calories (roughly 20 grams for someone eating 2,000).
Try to source most of your fat from “good” unsaturated sources such as vegetable oils and spreads, olives, avocados and oily fish for optimal heart health and reduced disease risk. Check nutrition labels regularly to make sure you’re within limits!
5. Eat more whole grains.
Integrating whole grains into your diet is proven to lower risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer while also providing fiber, essential vitamins and minerals.
Conversely, refined grains undergo milling processes that remove their bran and germ, which contain important nutritional components like fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals that have been linked to decreased all-cause mortality as well as cardiovascular mortality rates.
Substitute brown pasta, bread and rice for white varieties. Add bulgur wheat, barley or wild rice into soups, stews, salads or casseroles to increase whole-grain consumption.
6. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are an integral part of a balanced diet, providing essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that fight disease.
Since long, we’ve been encouraged to consume five servings of fruits and vegetables each day; now this advice has been simplified into “fill half your plate with produce”.
Nutrition education has proven effective at improving fruit and vegetable consumption. However, tailored interventions provide greater potential for sustained improvements.
7. Eat less meat.
Red meat and processed foods have been linked with heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Eating less meat may help you lose weight while decreasing your risk for these illnesses.
People who eat less meat tend to consume fewer fat calories and increase plant-based foods that contain higher concentrations of fiber and protein.
“Nudges” can be highly effective in helping reduce meat consumption. Such strategies include decreasing portion sizes of meat products and placing vegetable options prominently on buffet lines or menus.
8. Eat less processed foods.
Consuming less processed foods is key to leading a healthier diet. Processed food products typically contain added sugars, salts, unhealthy fats and preservatives which increase your risk for heart disease and other serious medical problems.
However, it may not be realistic to completely cut out processed foods. Instead, focus on limiting your consumption of ultra-processed items (like frozen dinners and packaged cookies) while choosing more whole-food sources as this will help improve overall health while increasing energy levels.