Being healthy has never been more important than it is in today’s post-pandemic society. As people learned the value of a strong immune system, they turned to nutrition to create a stable foundation inside their body.
The human body was designed to run on vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Yet, the manufacturers of many food and beverage products add unnecessary ingredients that aren’t good fuel. So how can you eat well and be healthy with so many unwise nutritional choices out there?
The answer is that you have to become educated. Learn about your body and how it is supposed to run, and then connect those dots to what you eat.
These five top nutrition tips will guide you on your journey to a healthier you!
1. Learn the Right Way to Eat Carbs
Many “diets” will tell you to stay away from carbohydrates altogether. This is a dangerous way of thinking, since your body requires carbs to create energy.
Breaking this down further will help you to understand why. Your body must have three specific macronutrients to function: carbs, protein, and fats. Without enough of these nutrients, each system in the body begins to deteriorate.
The trick is to get the right kind of carb, though. Carbs come in starches, sugars, and fibers. You need the complex carbs found in starches and fibers, not the simple carbs in sugars.
With complex carbs, your brain gets the fuel it needs to send signals to the rest of your systems. The energy from carbs is used in digestion, kidney functioning, and heart health. Without enough healthy carbs, you can end up with problems like headaches, muscle fatigue and weakness, and constipation. Instead of going the “no carb” route, include plenty of healthy carbs in your daily diet.
2. Avoid Empty Calories
We’re taught early that we need to eat the requisite three meals a day, but sometimes eating the wrong food is worse than none. If your options are nothing but empty calories, you might want to skip out until you can find something healthier.
The term “empty calories” refers to foods with little or no nutritional value. These beverages and foods provide your body with solid fat and added sugars. Both of these are attributed to obesity and nutrient deficits.
To ensure you’re avoiding those empty calories, look on the label for anything that says “solid fat” or “added sugar.” Solid fats are things like butter, margarine, and shortening. Added sugars are usually recognizable by the “-syrup” suffix.
A perfect example of empty calories is soda. No nutritional value comes out of this beverage, and it’s easy to drink multiple glasses in one sitting!
3. Train Yourself on Portion Control
When you know how to limit your portions, your diet becomes wide open. Anything is acceptable, as long as it’s in moderation! Even sweets and junk food are okay, if they’re not the majority of your meal.
According to the National Institute on Aging, you should eat something from each food group to have a balanced diet. The food pyramid includes vegetables, grains, fruit, dairy, proteins, and oils. The trick is to get the right amount of each.
You don’t have to measure everything. However, as you’re learning portioning, it’s smart to do this until you get a good feel for each weight or size.
4. Take Better Care of Your Gut
Did you know that digestive issues affect your whole body?
Having an unhealthy gut has a negative impact on your immune system and can cause weight gain. It contributes to heart problems and is a major cause of high blood pressure. When your gut is healthy, you sleep better, you’re in a better mood, and your overall brain is able to function better.
5. Get Good Sleep
Here’s some great news: You get to sleep and not feel guilty for it!
A major part of staying healthy is getting enough rest. Sleep deprivation is a significant problem in the United States, and it’s linked to major physical and mental illnesses. When you are sleeping, your brain gets to fix the damage from the day. It rids your body of toxins and forms new neural pathways so you can start over the next day and learn new things.
Sleep deficiency reduces your ability to problem-solve, pay attention, learn anything new, and control your emotions.
Physically, sleeping heals damage to your heart and blood vessels. When you don’t get enough sleep consistently, your risk of chronic conditions like heart and kidney disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure increases.
How much sleep you need varies for each person. On average, healthy adults function well with seven to nine hours a night, but children and teens are still growing. They need more rest to handle their body’s changes.
The best way to stay healthy throughout your life is to educate yourself about nutrition. Getting enough sleep, fueling your body on the good stuff, and avoiding the bad are some of the most essential pieces of knowledge you will ever learn!