A Simple Way to Eat Healthy, Have More Energy, and Live a Long Life

Nutrition can best be defined as the study of the way the body processes and uses nutrients — substances in food that the body needs for growth, repair, and maintenance of cells. The most important food you can eat for those benefits as well as for more energy, a more youthful body, and a longer life is any healthy food you enjoy and didn’t eat already today. Enjoy eating something from each food group everyday – grains, fruits, dairy, beans, and vegetables. Each food group is the main source of at least one nutrient.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Eating more fruits and vegetables every day as part of a healthy eating plan may lower your chances of getting cancer, heart disease and stroke and other chronic diseases. Today, more than 90 percent of all Americans do not eat the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. The answer is simple, just eat more fruits and vegetables. Consistently look for ways to incorporate more fruits into your daily eating plan.

The Benefits of Fiber and Where to Get it

Although fiber is a non-nutrient, it provides some important health benefits, including lowering blood cholesterol levels and assisting with digestive disorders. The following food items are good sources of dietary fiber — beans, blackberries, whole grain cereals, and sweet potatoes. Current recommendations for healthy adults are to get 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day through dietary food sources. Americans on average get about 10 to 13 grams a day. Fiber is found in whole grain food items such as whole grain cereals and breads, fruits and vegetables, beans, peas, and nuts. If you want to increase fiber, do so gradually by adding small amounts to your daily diet.

Fats in Your Diet

Why is it important to reduce the saturated fat in the diet? Because, it helps prevent many chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. It helps prevent clogging of the arteries. It helps with weight control and management. And, it lower blood cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association and other nutrition guidelines encourage all Americans to reduce their overall intake of saturated fat in their diets. On average, Americans consume 45 percent to 50 percent of their total daily calories from saturated fat sources found in animal products such as meat, high-fat dairy products and also in some processed foods. You should limit your intake of saturated fats to 10 percent or less of your daily fat calories. Healthier fat sources include monosaturated or polyunsaturated sources of fat such as olive oil, canola oil and nuts.

Trans fats resulting from hydrogenation are considered unhealthy fat sources. To lower your intake of trans fats, choose liquid vegetable oils and reduce eating commercially prepared baked goods and snack foods. Also, avoid deep-fried foods eaten away from home, limit eating fast foods, and read the food labels. According the Institute of Medicine, there are no safe levels of trans fats. Again, try to replace saturated and trans fats with vegetable oils and other non-saturated fat sources.

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