Food is crucial in your everyday life. It gives you the energy you need to pursue your goals and other activities every day. However, eating unhealthy food, for example, those with too many calories, increases your chances of becoming prone to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Unhealthy eating habits could also make you underweight or overweight.
Do not be afraid if you are struggling to maintain a healthy eating cycle. This article provides you with tips to help you stay healthy. To mention a few, it touches on ideas such as minimizing saturated fats and sugar, using moderate amounts of salt, and staying hydrated. Explore these tips and learn how to maintain healthy eating habits.
1. Minimize saturated fat and sugar
Your body needs fats to provide fatty acids, which aid the absorption of vitamins. Fats also store energy, insulate your body from harsh weather conditions and protect the heart, liver, and kidneys. However, it is essential to minimize your fat intake for your health.
Fats exist in two types—saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats pack close to each other and lack a double bond. Therefore, most saturated fats remain solid at room temperature. Examples of such fats are butter, pies, sausages, biscuits, lard, cream, hard cheese, and fatty meat cuts.
On the other hand, unsaturated fats pack loosely and are liquid at room temperature. Sources of unsaturated fats include olive oil, avocados, peanut oil, most nuts, and seeds. Consuming too many saturated fats puts you at risk of developing heart diseases. This is because they increase cholesterol levels in your body.
Men should not take more than 30g of saturated fats, whereas women should not take more than 20g of the same. In addition, children below 11 years should have minimal saturated fats, whereas kids below five should take none. Therefore, avoid saturated fats if you can. Instead, use unsaturated fats.
Sugar is a good source of energy for your body’s functioning. Unfortunately, free sugars could cause tooth decay or obesity. Free sugars are added sugars in drinks and food. They also exist naturally in fruits, unsweetened juice and smoothies, and honey.
Foods that contain free sugars include sweets, chocolates, biscuits, sugary fizzy drinks, cakes, pastries, etc. When purchasing some of them, check the label and ensure that the total sugars are 5g or less per 100g.
2. Use a moderate amount of salt
Salt adds flavor to your food and makes it enjoyable. However, too much salt could increase your blood pressure and increase your chances of contracting heart disease or stroke. Majority of foods like sauces, bread, soups, and breakfast cereals, have natural salt. Ensure you are not using more than 1.5 g per 100g of salt.
3. Pay attention to fish
Fish is a rich source of protein with a lot of minerals and vitamins. There are two categories of fish—oily and non-oily. Examples of oily fish are mackerel, salmon, pilchards, trout, sardines, and herring. Non-oily fish include hake, haddock, skate, plaice, tuna, coley, and cod.
Try to have at least one portion of fish every week, and one of them should be oily fish. Oily fish is rich in omega-3 fats and may prevent heart disease. Even though there is a variety to choose from (frozen, fresh, canned), note that canned and frozen fish contain high amounts of salt.
4. Make your breakfast healthy, and don’t skip it
There is a myth that insists on skipping breakfast to lose weight. You do not have to start your day hungry. If anything, you need that food for energy as you engage in your daily activities. Having a well-balanced diet can help you stay healthy. Ensuring that your food has less salt, fat, sugar and is high in fiber is part of a healthy breakfast.
5. Stay hydrated
Taking a lot of water is the best way to stay hydrated. Apart from the fluids found in the food you eat, nutritionists recommend having 6 to 8 glasses of water each day. Alcoholic and soft drinks also have some water content, but not enough. Avoid taking them as much as you can. They have large amounts of calories that can make you add weight.
6. Adopt a good workout routine
Exercising is part of staying healthy. Eating without being active can make you add weight. With time, you may become overweight and risk obesity, heart diseases, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. It is scientifically proven that people who exercise regularly have;
- Up to 20 % lower risk of breast cancer
- 50% lower risk of colon cancer
- Up to 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- Up to 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- 30% lower risk of early death
If losing weight is your goal, eat fewer calories and exercise more. Also, make sure your meals are well balanced to help you maintain a healthy weight.
7. Include fiber in your diet
When your food is deprived of fibers, you are at high risk of getting constipation. Apart from preventing constipation, fibers reduce the risk of diabetes, helps you manage your weight, protect you against heart diseases, and guarantee you better gut health.
There are two groups of fibers—soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers dissolve in water and form a gel-like substance during digestion. Even though soluble fibers contain calories, they lower cholesterol levels in your body and regulate blood sugar levels. Examples include; oats, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
Insoluble fibers, on the other hand, do not dissolve in water and lack calories. They also prevent constipation. Some examples include; vegetables, whole-grain foods, nuts, fruits, etc.
8. Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits
Fruit and vegetables naturally contain minerals and vitamins, which can help you stay healthy. They reduce the risk of getting some types of cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. As mentioned before, fruits and vegetables have fibers that prevent constipation. Examples of fruits are melons, berries, apples, pears, citrus fruits like oranges, etc., whereas vegetables include cucumber, zucchini, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, etc.
In conclusion, healthy eating equals healthy living. Apply these eight healthy eating tips daily by ensuring that you stay hydrated, minimize salt, fat, and sugar, and eat enough vegetables and fruits. It’ will protect you from diseases and help you keep the right weight.