Munching on your favorite foods can be quite satisfying, but you need to understand that eating is not just about satisfying hunger. No matter if you want to lose weight, improve your health or just feel good about yourself, eating healthy is the key to everything good. This is because nutrients from the food you consume are vital for the proper functionality of what physically resides within you.
In fact, everything in your body — from the cells in your heart to the muscles in your arms — reflects upon your eating practices. Hence, it is crucially important to consume a well-balanced, nutritious diet to lead a healthy life and remain in good shape.
However, healthy eating doesn’t necessarily need to be overly complicated. The vast amount of literature about diet and nutrition is quite overwhelming for a beginner, but by understanding the basics of a healthy diet you can make smart decisions concerning your food and eating practices.
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The Basics Of Nutrition
Some fad diets may suggest otherwise, but consuming a balanced mix of micro and macronutrients is extremely essential to sustain a healthy body. It ensures that the body is fueled to perform at its maximum abilities and the health department remains at the top of its game. Instead of restricting certain food groups, your goal should be to avoid the bad stuff while consuming plenty of the good stuff.
Healthy eating consists of well-composed proportions of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats as well as other micronutrients. Let’s learn about these nutrients in detail.
Chains of amino acid join together in unique combinations to form proteins. Proteins from the food are first broken down into polypeptide chains from which the amino acid molecules are then separated. These amino acids are behind an array of processes within the body. In fact, amino acids in the form of proteins are the building blocks of cells and thus, are responsible for repairing, rebuilding, and maintaining them. Moreover, proteins are vital for regulating bodily processes. For instance, proteins in the form of enzymes are responsible for speeding up chemical reactions in the body.
Carbohydrates can either be simple or complex, depending on the size of the molecule. Simple carbohydrates have small molecules that provide instant energy to the body. They break down quite rapidly, which can surge blood glucose levels and stimulates the release of insulin into the bloodstream. Simple carbohydrates are typically found in processed foods and baked goods. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates are formed when long chains of simple carbohydrates combine together. Since they need to be broken down into simpler forms before they can release energy, complex carbs are a long-lasting energy source.
Most carbs are a rich source of fiber that facilitates digestion and keep you full for longer. Nonetheless, try to replace simpler carbs with nutrient dense sources such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains for the ultimate benefits.
Fats are complex molecules of glycerol and fatty acids and are required to support cell growth and provide energy to the body. They are pivotal for the synthesis of hormones and the health and maintenance of our skin and hair. Moreover, supply more than twice as much energy as proteins and carbs can. Due to this, excess fat is stored in the body so it can be used later when required.
Essentially, there are 4 types of fats: monosaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated and trans fats. Monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats, found in vegetable oils, fish, nuts, and avocados are healthy fats. They improve heart health by decreasing the levels of triglycerides and unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels in your body. Meanwhile, saturated and trans fats are the ones you should avoid.
Tips For Healthy Eating
While on the journey of healthy eating, small changes in your diet and lifestyle here and there can make a huge difference. Here are some of the best strategies you can adapt to make eating healthy easier.
Manage Food Portions
Portion distortion is an essential component of healthy eating. Eating in small plates and bowls will allow you to keep a check on your portion sizes while leaving your mind satisfied.
Don’t Skip Meals
Consuming regular meals throughout the day ensures that your energy levels remain boosted all day long. Moreover, your metabolism stays active so you burn calories at a faster rate. Eating healthy food through well-planned meals also reduces temptations to indulge in snacking and binge eating.
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods are packed with empty calories since they are extremely low on nutrition. They may also be high in artificial sugars, which makes them a big “no” in the world of healthy eating. Processed foods have an adverse effect on your health and the most highlighted of them is weight gain. Moreover, they spike your blood insulin levels and mess up your metabolism. Thus, try to avoid consuming processed and packaged foods.
Reduce, Not Eliminate
We’ve already established that a balanced diet consists of a mix of all food groups. Never cut off any food type completely since your body might start reacting abnormally as a result. So make sure to have a variety of nutritious food on your plate to fulfill your appetite and lead a healthier life.
Drink Lots Of Water
Staying hydrated keeps hunger pangs under control. At times, all you might need is a glass of water to stop feeling hungry since thirst can often be confused with hunger. Also, water helps to flush out toxins from your system, making you feel fresher and more energetic. You should drink at least 2 liters of water every day, so keep a refillable water bottle with you wherever you go and keep drinking water.