Perhaps you’ve made a new year’s resolution to start eating more healthy, or you just feel it is time to change your dietary habits to promote a healthier lifestyle as well as for weight management. But where do you begin?
Start with and keep in mind these five key principles for healthy eating, and you will always be on the right track.
1. Focus on Vegetables and Fruits
Study after study has shown that the more whole fruits and vegetables you eat, the lower your risk for many chronic diseases such as cancer, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease; including heart disease and stroke.
Fruits and vegetables constitute low-calorie foods, contain higher amounts of dietary fiber and other nutrients thus, they are associated with a lower risk for diabetes and insulin resistance. For the same reasons, they also make people feel full with fewer calories which help to prevent weight gain.
Additionally, research has shown that eating three to five servings of fruits and vegetables per day will decrease your risk of stroke, and eating more than five servings per day will decrease that risk even more. In an incremental fashion, the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the lower your risk. A very good return on your investment.
2. Avoid Processed Meats
According to The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the World Health Organization (WHO), processed meats like hot dogs, sausage, beef jerky, corned beef, ham, canned meat, canned meat-based preparations and sauce can cause colorectal cancer.
They have also stated that red meat in general “probably” causes cancers such as colon, pancreatic and prostate cancer.
3. Cut Back on Added Sugars
Major sources of added sugar to avoid include sugared beverages, including sodas and energy or sports drinks, candy, grain desserts like pies, cookies and cakesruit drinks (which are seldom 100% fruit juice).
These have been shown to increase the risk for heart diseases, obesity and diabetes.
4. Drink More Water
The many health benefits of drinking water are often overlooked. But don’t underestimate the importance of what may be the healthiest beverage of all.
Water has no calories. It however does have plenty health benefits. Researchers have found that drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before you have a meal can make you feel fuller and thus more likely to eat less, thereby reducing calorie intake.
Staying hydrated throughout the day will make you more alert, help you think more clearly, and make you feel less fatigued. It also prevent kidney stones.
5. Eat Less Salt
Cutting back on salt intake reduces high blood pressure.
Foods with high amount of salt include processed foods like snacks, canned foods, pickled foods, processed meats and fish, ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressings and sauces. Cutting back on thees foods will lower your dietary salt intake.