Every day we make choices about our food, but have we ever realized that how these choices makes a big difference on our health – how we feel today and how we would feel in the future. Of course it is a fact that we all love to eat good and tasty food, but what exactly is eating healthy? Well, to begin with, we need to understand first that healthy eating is not only about following dietary limitations, being unrealistically thin and depriving ourselves of the foods that we love. The truth is eating healthy is about feeling great, budding with energy, improving our health and staying at the best of our mood.
Healthy eating can include homemade foods and as well store-bought foods but has to well balance and should include the following food groups:
• Vegetables and Fruits.
• Grain Products.
• Nuts and Seeds.
• Beans and legumes.
• Milk and Dairy Products.
• Meat and Alternatives
The amount of food that one needs depends upon the age, sex, weight and quantum of physical activity done. Also there should be certain foods that should be limited and avoided, and here they are:
Should be limited –
• Salt and Sodium.
• Sweets, Added Sugar and Sweetened Drinks.
• Saturated Fats.
• Fatty and Processed Meats.
Should be avoided –
• Trans Fats.
• Partially Hydrogenated Oils.
Invest in future health by building your healthy diet
A balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins and minerals is essential for a healthy body. There is no need to eliminate any food category from your diet, rather select the healthiest options from each category and how are they helpful?
• Proteins: Proteins provides you all the energy to keep going, along with controlling mood and cognitive functions. Studies reveal that high-quality proteins are required more with growing age, although excess of it can be harmful for people with kidney ailments. Protein is a vital nutrient that our body needs for the maintenance, repair and building of cells and organs in the body. On eating proteins, it is broken into numerous amino acids that are the basic building blocks of the body for energy and growth.
Rich sources of proteins are – meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, grains, beans, vegetables, and nuts.
• Fats: Not all fats are good. While bad fats can wreak havoc on your health, good fats protects the heart and brain. Healthy fats like omega 3 are vital for the body’s emotional and physical health. Dietary fats also plays a major part in maintaining cholesterol levels. Cholesterol in itself is not bad and the body needs it to function properly, but having too much of it can have negative impact on your health. It is important to understand between good and bad fat to stay on top of your health, control mood, fight fatigue and control weight.
Sources of good fat are – avocados, peanut butter, olives, flax seed, walnuts, fatty fishes (like salmon, tuna. mackerel, trout), soya bean, soy and tofu.
• Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are one of the main sources of energy in the body, but the key is to choose the right carb. Refined or simple carbohydrates like pasta, fries, white bread, cookies, pastries, ice cream, cakes etc., shoots up your blood sugar levels, fluctuates moods and energy and built up fats in the body, particularly around the waistline. Complex carbohydrates like vegetables, whole grains and fruits digests slower therefore, maintain a static blood sugar level and lesser fat accumulation. Complex fibers are also higher in nutrients and fibers, which is beneficial for weight loss, prevention of diseases and enhances energy levels in the body.
Good carbohydrates are found in – brown rice, barley, quinoa, bran cereal, oatmeal, spinach, green beans, kidney beans, baked beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, apples, berries, citrus fruit, bananas and pears.
• Fibers: Intake of food rich in dietary fibers have many benefits on health and especially lowering risks of diseases like heart ailments, stroke and diabetes. Fibers, also known by the name of roughage, is a plant based food that our body cannot break down and passes undigested. While its movement in the body it cleans the digestive system, normalizes bowel movements and cleans out cholesterol and harmful elements by flushing it out of the body. Diet rich in fibers have been known to boost immunity and improve our overall health. It has been a great benefit for digestive health, heart health, diabetes, cancer and skin health.
Good sources of fiber – bran flakes, cooked oatmeal, spinach, broccoli, carrot, green beans, kidney beans, green peas, pear, apple and strawberries.
• Calcium: It is a key ingredient that many of us overlook in our diet. Almost all the cells in our body uses calcium in some way or the other. Calcium is needed for bone health and teeth. It is a key ingredient needed for blood clot, muscle contraction and regulation of heart beats. When we deprive our body of calcium, it uses the calcium in our bones, making it weak and increasing the chances of osteoporosis. Lack of calcium also causes mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression, and difficulty in sleeping.
Good sources of calcium include – dairy products, leafy green vegetables, certain fish, oatmeal and other grains, tofu, cabbage, summer squash, green beans, garlic, sea vegetables and calcium-fortified foods such as cereals and orange juice.
The article is authored by Dietitian Sheela Seharawat. She is one of the youngest successful entrepreneurs of India and founder & chief mentor of Diet Clinic Health Care Pvt Ltd http://www.dietclinic.co.in.