When it comes to things like nutrition, how much would you claim that you know? I’m talking solid nutritional knowledge here. For many of us, the answer to that is sadly, not enough. Even those of us here at Heroic Health headquarters are always trying to learn more. But with so many factors to consider when it comes to your diet, making choices for your health can seem a bit daunting at times. DO NOT LET THIS DISCOURAGE YOU! Don’t let this stray you from the decision to choose healthier foods and lifestyle practices daily.
Taking care of yourself by eating healthy is a benefit you’ll reap rewards from today and for years to come.
One big problem is that sometimes there seem to be conflicting opinions between health “experts”… leading people to get confused and worse, discouraged. There are so many diets out there, all of which tell us to do different things to take care of ourselves properly. So, who’s right?
Luckily, there are a few things that just about all health experts (no matter what their field) seem to agree on. These five simple principles will at least start taking you down the road to success and set you up for taking care of yourself each day without the need for much concern over who’s right and who’s wrong when it comes to advice.
- Always opt for plants first. How many plants are you eating daily? The thing is, it turns out that even vegans may not be getting enough fruits and veggies daily! Ifyou are transitioning into, or are interested in a plant-based diet, then follow this simple piece of advice. Always choose plants first. No matter which meal you are eating, fill it up with as many plant-based foods as possible. All health experts agree that this is a smart choice. Even for omnivores (eaters of both plants and meat), plants should be taking up the majority of space on your plate for each meal
- Always eat REAL food. Nobody out there is ever going to tell you that a diet consisting of mainly processed foods is superior to a diet that is based on unprocessed food. Real food, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds will give you all of the phytonutrients that your mind and body need to function at their very best. Always aim for simple, healthy food. These foods are made of nutrients our body can easily recognize and put to use immediately to take care of us. Other foods that have been more processed are much harder on our bodies to metabolize, which often makes us feel tired, sluggish, suffer inflammation and disease, and even gain weight. All health professionals should be advising everyone to eat eight to twelve servings of fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains every single day. Filling up your diet with these foods leaves less room for the not-so-beneficial foods
- Don’t skimp… you still need to eat enough calories if you want to lose weight. By not getting enough calories, it will make you tired, fatigued, and even anxious or depressed. While you really do not need to count calories daily, you should be making certain that you are always eating at least three solid, healthy meals a day (and snacks if you need them). In a healthy diet, starches, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds will provide more dense calories than fruits and veggies will… so pile them onto your plate! The general agreement between all health professionals is that we need to eat protein-rich foods, like whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, leafy greens and seeds
- Try to steer clear of processed sugars. Processed sugars are sugars that are added to foods. These sugars have been refined or altered in some fashion or another. They also are NOT whole foods. Sugar has no nutrients and even syrups that contain some nutrients don’t have fiber like whole, plant-based foods. This means that they will spike your blood sugar more quickly and definitely won’t satisfy your hunger.You should be keeping up your carbohydrate intake by eating things like fruits, starchy vegetables and whole grains… not syrups or powders that are full of glycemic-spiking sugar that lead to diabetes and heart disease. By consuming whole, unprocessed foods, it is REALLY easy to handle this avoiding processed sugars step
- Make sure that you are getting enough sleep. Your body needs sleep just as much as it needs food. As difficult as it can be to get in a solid 7 to 8 hours each and every night, try not to skimp on the hours of downtime that you actually invest in. By getting this much actual rest, it means that you will think more clearly the next day; it will improve your metabolism, and will even protect you from disease. Studies have shown that insomnia and lack of sleep have been directly related to depression. Just so you know, eating a plant-based diet will alreadyimprove your sleep and likely help you wake up more energized
Besides these five pointers, you should also be sure that you are exercising daily, or at least being as active as you can. Our bodies need to be worked and our digestive system and hearts require movement daily to function at their best. Exercising also boosts brain health and has been shown to help prevent depression, disease, insomnia, anxiety and improve mental performance.
Although it may be difficult to get medical professionals to agree on the best steps to take to help you live healthy, all we really need to do is remember these simple health principles. These can be easy to forget in our every day lives. Try not to leave these Heroic Health-recommended tips out – they just might make the difference in your entire life.