The Road to Eating Healthy and Becoming a Healthier Person.

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Unless your doctor tells you to eat or avoid specific foods, healthy eating is not about limiting certain foods. staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love.

If you feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you,

you’ll find another saying exactly the opposite. But by using these simple tips, you can cut through the confusion and learn how to create a tasty, varied, and healthy diet that is as good for your mind as it is for your body.

As many reports tell you this or that are healthy for you, along comes another study that tells you just the opposite. Confusing, to say the least. By using these simple tips, you can cut through the confusion and learn how to create a tasty, varied, and healthy diet that is as good for your body as well as your mood.

As  Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition, Tufts University states:

“Instead of emphasizing one nutrient, we need to move to food-based recommendations. What we eat should be whole, minimally processed, nutritious food—food that is in many cases as close to its natural form as possible.”

We all know that eating right can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid certain health problems, but your diet can also have a profound affect on your mood and sense of wellbeing.

According to :

“Studies have linked eating a typical Western diet—filled with processed meats, packaged meals, takeout food, and sugary snacks—with higher rates of depression, stress, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. Eating an unhealthy diet may even play a role in the development of mental health disorders such as ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia, or in the increased risk of suicide in young people.”

If this statement is true, then there are some things that may help you improve your health and quality of life. Reducing the amount of processed foods in your diet by cooking your meals, reducing the amount of sugar you eat, eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

Please don’t think this is impossible to do. Even a step in the right direction can help. You do not have to eliminate all the foods you have been eating! But, you may find that as you try to eat healthier, you will feel healthier and you may even find yourself eating more healthier! As you make small changes to your eating habits, these changes will become routine. Then, you might consider making other small changes. Go slowly, over time, you may find yourself eating small, healthier meals throughout the day.

Some easy tips to get you started eating healthier.

Add a salad to your lunch or dinner.

Do not think calories, think food. I can eat almost everything!

Eat more veggies. Incorporate them in your sandwiches and meals.

If you eat a lot of fried foods, try swapping it out for baked or grilled (swap fried chicken for baked or grilled) Swap turkey bacon instead of pork bacon.

Although it takes more time, cooking your meals and knowing what is in your meal instead of purchasing fast food or restaurant foods.

Fresh ingredients are healthier than canned, the more colors your veggies have, the more anti-oxidants they have and are healthier for you.

Too much sugar is not good for you. Not only does it add pounds, sugar can give you a sudden spurt in energy and then your body goes into a sugar low. It can make you lethargic. When buying good, it is important to read labels. Sugar has many names that manufacturers use: glucose, lactose,fructose, and the list goes on. Just be aware of what you are actually eating.

Drink lots of water. If you drink a glass of water before eating, you will accomplish a few things. You will not eat as much (cutting down caloric intake) as well as helping your body flush itself of toxins. The average person should drink about 4-6 glasses of water a day (this includes tea and coffee).

Did you know that you won’t feel full until about 20 minutes after you eat? So before you reach for that second helping of dinner, wait a few minutes. You just may be surprised. The key to healthy eating is moderation and variety. You do not need to eliminate any foods you like from your diet. Just mix it up. If you want bacon with breakfast, for lunch, eat something that has less fats.

The key to healthy eating is to have protein about the size of your fist or a deck of cards, a good portion of vegetables and fiber (Mung beans are a great addition to vegetables) and a starch. Potatoes or rice or pasta should be about the size of a 1/2 cup.If you have a filled plate, your eyes adjust your feeling of hunger and the satisfaction of feeling full. If you chew your food and eat slowly, not only do you taste the food more, but this allows your brain to recognize you are eating, while you are eating. If you can have meals with others, you will feel more satisfied. When you eat alone or in front of a tv or computer, eating becomes more rote and not an event.

You will feel less hungry and eat less if you eat many small meals and snacks during the day. This keeps your metabolism at an even keel. You will have more energy and feel less tired. A snack of nuts or fruit or even a yogurt help you feel satisfied and keeps your metabolism going.

Cutting down on processed sugar is not easy. Try to avoid sugary soda. There have been studies that even diet drinks make you eat more and therefore, gain weight!

Try to cut down on sweet snacks such as candy, chocolate, and cakes. Instead, eat naturally sweet food such as fruit, peppers, or natural peanut butter to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Check labels and choose low-sugar products.  Just remember that even eating healthy alternatives can make you gain weight if you eat too many fruits (has natural sugar). Most veggies can be eaten as much as you like. Read labels if buying snacks. If label says low calorie, just check how much sugar is in it.

Green veggies can satisfy your sugar tooth. Naturally sweet vegetables—such as corn, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, onions, and squash—add healthy sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for added sugars.

Eating fruit is a tasty, satisfying way to fill up on fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Berries are cancer-fighting, apples provide fiber, oranges and mangos offer vitamin C, and so on.

Foods with natural fiber not only give you the feeling of being full, but help with regularity. These foods lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes and possibly stroke. Nutritionists suggest, depending on age and gender, about 21-38 grams a day. Most of us don’t come close to eating this amount.

The more processed the good, the less fiber it contains. So, eating less processed foods allow us to easily add fiber to our diets.  By having whole grain bread or cereal for breakfast or lunch is an easy swap to get more fiber in your diet.

We are told cut down on Carbs. However, there are Healthy carbs (or good carbs). These include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Healthy carbs are digested slowly, helping you feel full longer and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable.

Unhealthy carbs (or bad carbs) are foods such as white flour, refined sugar, and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients. They digest quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels and energy.

If all this swapping sounds drastic to you, try mixing it up at first. Take your refined food and mix it with the whole grain food. If you like spaghetti, mix in a little whole grain spaghetti with it. As you get used to the new tastes, you will put more and more of the healthy choice in your meals. Remember, if you don’ like it, you won’t eat it.

Your body has bones and teeth. It is so important to keep both of these healthy. If you can’t stand or chew, your life will become less than satisfying. Calcium is one of the main factors to keeping bones and teeth healthy. Your body uses calcium to send messages through your nervous system and it also helps regulate your heart’s rhythm. We all need enough calcium in our bodies to keep us healthy.

Your doctor will tell you how much calcium you need. The average recommended amounts are between 1000 mg per day to 2000 mg per day. It is best to get your calcium by eating food. There are many foods that are rich in calcium in a form that is easily digested and absorbed by the body. Sources include milk, unsweetened yogurt, and cheese. Many vegetables, especially leafy green ones. Some examples of calcium rich veggies are collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, celery, broccoli, fennel, cabbage, summer squash, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and crimini mushrooms. Beans, such as black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans, black-eyed peas, baked beans, and, of course, Mung beans.

Protein is needed to build muscle in the body. The least amount a person can survive on is 3 ounces a day. However, to maintain a healthy mind and body, you definitely need more than this! The recommended portion size, per meal, is about the size of a deck of cards.

Protein is the easiest good to eat. Eat plenty of fish, chicken, or plant-based protein such as beans, nuts, and soy.

Even when snacking, instead of grabbing for the cake or cookie, try nuts, seeds, peas, tofu, chicken and dairy based snacks.

Protein makes us feel full and satisfied.

We’ve all heard that there are good and bad fats. But what exactly does this mean?

Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats, for example, can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, and it is suggested, improve your mood, and help prevent dementia.

Good fats include fats from avocados, nuts (like almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans), and seeds (such as pumpkin and sesame). Polyunsaturated fats, including Omega-3s, found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and some cold water fish oil supplements. Good vegetarian sources of polyunsaturated fats include flaxseed and walnuts.

Bad fats contribute to weight gain and clogged arteries. This type of fat is found in processed foods, vegetable shortenings, margarine’s, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, or anything with “partially hydrogenated” oil in the ingredients, even if it claims to be trans-fat free.

According to :

“Saturated fats are mainly found in tropical oils, dairy, and animal products such as red meat, while poultry and fish also contain some saturated fat. The latest news in the nutritional world studies—with old and new studies to back them up—suggest that not all saturated fat is a dietary demon, either. While many prominent health organizations maintain that eating saturated fat from any source increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, other nutrition experts take a different view. The new argument is that saturated fat contributes to weight control and overall health.”

Although salt does make your food taste better, there are so many spices to choose from, they may be a healthier choice. Your body only needs about a teaspoon of salt a day. Considering almost everything we buy has salt in it, adding extra salt to your good could have a negative impact on your health. Eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure and lead to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, memory loss, and has even been linked to erectile dysfunction.

Most restaurant and fast food meals are loaded with sodium. Some offer lower-sodium choices or you can ask for your meal to be made without salt. When buying food look for unsalted nuts and add a little of your own salt.

Nutrition is the key to a healthy mind and body. It is not as difficult to make small changes in your diet to accomplish these goals. Start small. Get used to the idea of healthy eating so you don’t feel deprived. You are on your way to booming a healthier person.

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