Nutrition,  Weight Loss

Making the Right Food Choices

Choices that you make about foods can greatly affect your health, as well as how you feel today and in the future.

Good nutrition is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. A nutritious, well balanced diet with physical activity are good foundations of good health, including achieving healthy weight. Healthy eating habits means consuming quality proteins, carbs, heart-healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and water from the foods that you choose. This also includes reducing your processed foods choice, saturated fats, and alcohol. This approach will help your body performs better, encourages optimal body weight, and lowers risks of chronic diseases.

Effects of nutrition on your overall health

Logistics show that unhealthy eating habits contributed to obesity cases in the United States. It is reported that there is approximately 33.8% or about one-third of U.S. adults are obese. While there is about  17% or approximately12.5 million children and adolescents (aged 2 to 19 years old) are obese.

People with a healthy weight may have high health risks due to poor diet practices. These diseases include heart problems, hypertension or high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some types of cancer.

By making the right smart food choices, you can help protect yourself from these health issues and weight problems.

Yes, unhealthy eating habits can cause weight gain. The relationship between good nutrition and healthy weight, lesser chronic illnesses risks, and overall health is very vital to ignore. Experts are saying that dietary habits that we practice since childhood can be carried on into adulthood. So, training children on how to eat healthy at a young age will help them stay healthy all throughout their lives.

By making the right food choices will help you get the necessary nutrients that your body needs to keep healthy, strong, and active.

Nutrition and Weight Control

good nutrition
image: Total Therapy

Aside from the quality foods that you eat, how much you take also matters – very much. This means that taking in the same amount of calories aas you burn make sure that your weight stays steady over time. But taking more than you burn will result in weight gain because your body will convert extra calories to fat tissue.

When there is a build-up of fat tissue in your body, you increase your risks of developing one or more health issues. These health problems include heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, respiratory issues, and worse, some forms of cancer.

Hence, a healthy meal plan without too much calories combined with physical activity will help keep you health, regulate your weight, and prolong your life.

Nutrition and Prevention of Diseases

Your choice of foods can affect your overall health, as well as your weight.
Image: Feeding America

Too much, too little, or lack of some nutrients can also lead to health problems. For example, if your diet lacks calcium, you may increase your risk of osteoporosis (weakening of bones). Too much saturated fat in your diet can lead to cardiovascular disease. Too few vegetables and fruits in your diet plan is linked to increased occurrences of cancer.

Eating foods from a wide variety of sources will help make sure that your body is getting enough nutrients that it needs to avoid these serious health problems.

How can we achieve a good nutrition?

good nutrition
image: FamilyDoctor

Vegetables

We all know that vegetables are major sources of essential vitamins and minerals. Dark, leafy vegetables have the most nutrition and can be taken at each meal. Eating different kinds of vegetables will help you receive loads of nutrients that all veggies provide.

Some dark leafy greens include spinach, broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, and green beans.

Fruits

Aside from the many nutrients that fruits can give us, they can make a delicious snack. Opt for fruits that are in season in your local area. They are fresher and give you the most nutrients.

Fruits are also high in sugar. Although the sugar from fresh fruits is natural, it is a better choice instead of other foods with added sugar. You may want to choose low-sugar fruits like raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, lemons and limes, kiwi, avocado, grapefruit, cantaloupe, watermelon, peaches, and oranges.

If you are watching your carbs intake, reach for melons, avocados, berries, watermelon, peaches, and honeydew. Low-carb vegetables include cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, white mushrooms, celery, spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, and cauliflowers.

Grains

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that Americans eat refined white flour more than any other grain. Refined white flour is found to have poor nutritional value since it has the hull of the grain, or outer shell is removed during the refining process.The hull of the grain is where its nutrition lies.

On the other hand, whole grains are processed using the entire grain, including its hull. They give us more nutrition. Try replacing white bread and pasta to whole grain products.

Proteins

Beans and meats are the main sources of protein, which is nutrient important for proper brain and muscle development. Lean, low fat meats like fish, chicken, and some cuts of beef and pork are the better options. Removing the skin and trimmings off the visible fat are ways to minimize the amount of cholesterol and fat in meats. The diet and health of the animal are vital and influence the fatty acid profile of the meat. Grass-fed meats are better options.

Beans and nuts are also rich in protein and have many health benefits including fiber and other nutrients. Try to consume beans, lentils, almonds, peas, walnuts and sunflower seeds. Tempeh, tofu, and other soy-based products are great sources of protein and they are healthy options for meat.

Dairy

Dairy products are rich in vitamin D, calcium, and other important nutrients, but they also contains fat. In this case, opt for small portions of full-fat cheese, and reduced-fat or fat-free yogurt and milk.

Plant-based milk like those from flaxseed, soy, or almonds provide fortified calcium and other nutrients which make them better alternatives to dairy that come from cows.

Oils

Oils should be used in small amount. Choose low-fat and low-sugar forms of products with oil like mayonnaise and salad dressings. There are good oils such as olive oil that can be alternatives for vegetable oil in your diet. Shun away from deep fried foods as they have many empty calories.

An online checklist from USDA can help you determine the right amount of each food group that you should take every day.

Minimize your intake of particular foods to keep a healthy weight which include: sugar, alcohol, saturated fats, trans fats, solid fats, refined grains, and salt.

For best professional advice regarding your weight loss goals, consult your doctor or a licensed dietitian.  These experts can help you get the nutrition that you need to lose weight, while achieving overall health.

Final notes,

If you are not used to a healthy diet that encourages your well-being, allow yourself to adjust to changes – gradually – to help you im[rove that way you eat over time. You can replace water for high calorie, sugary beverages. You can switch from full-fat to low-fat dairy products. Choose lean meats instead of fatty cuts, while opt for whole-wheat grains instead of refined grains. Fresh fruits and veggies have less sodium compared to canned goods. Eating fresh apples, carrots, and cucumber slices as your snacks is healthier than chips loaded with salt and fats.

Eart smart for a better and healthier you!


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