Changing your diet is the cornerstone of improving health. Begin by looking closely at your eating habits and what foods make up most of what you eat regularly.
It can help identify common triggers that lead to unhealthy food choices and replace those foods with healthier options.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Eating more fruits and vegetables can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce risk factors for heart disease, stroke and some cancers, as well as enhance overall health benefits. Plus, fruits and veggies contain essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and other nutritional components!
Optimizing your fruit and vegetable consumption is simple if you include them in all meals and snacks.
Strive to consume two cups of fruit daily and two to three cups of vegetables, such as dark green leafy veggies, yellow and orange vegetables, red vegetables, legumes (beans) and peas as well as citrus fruits.
Your diet will benefit from increasing its variety, as this provides more antioxidants and phytochemicals that may protect against certain diseases. Fruits such as apples, pears, oranges and kiwis provide fiber to lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, reduce cancer risks, boost metabolism and control inflammation.
Make an effort to consume fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned or frozen varieties that tend to contain more calories, sodium, and fat. Try including them in salads, soups or stir-fries.
Eat More Whole Grains
Healthy eating habits can have an enormously positive effect on our ability to maintain optimal weight and wellbeing. A great place to begin is with whole grains, which provide essential B vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating five to ten ounce-equivalent servings of grain each day, with at least half being whole grains. To meet this recommendation, look for foods labeled as whole grain products.
Whole grains offer more than vitamins and minerals; they’re packed with phytochemicals – plant compounds that may help prevent disease while supporting an overall healthier lifestyle. Examples of phytochemicals are polyphenols, stanols and sterols.
Studies have linked whole grains with lower risks of heart disease, cancer and all-cause death as well as reduced risks for obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Eat Less Meat
Eating less meat can be an excellent way to improve your health and save money at the same time. By decreasing your saturated fat consumption, this can lower your risk for heart disease and certain cancers while simultaneously cutting back on food costs each week. Plus, cutting down will save money too!
Avoiding meat altogether can be challenging, which is why starting slowly is recommended, says Anita Mathur, a nutrition researcher from University of Vermont.
She suggests choosing two days each week when eating meatless meals as an easy way to transition to eating less meat while expanding your repertoire of vegetarian-based recipes.
People may want to experiment with adding more plant-based proteins into their diet. Not only is this cheaper than meat, but there are several health advantages as well – you could add these protein-rich foods into soups, casseroles and salads, for instance!
Eat Less Sugar
If you want to improve your eating habits and experience improved health, the first step should be reducing sugar. An excess of sugar can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other serious medical conditions.
Unbeknownst to you, most food and drinks contain added sugars. Be wary when purchasing products containing added sugars – always read labels carefully!
Avoid snacking on sweet treats like ice cream and cookies by reaching for some fruit instead. Not only will you reap its many vitamins and minerals benefits but its calorie count is lower too!
Another strategy is switching over to water from sugary sodas, bottled iced tea and flavoured waters – it might be hard to quit drinking these beverages completely but replace them with healthier options instead.
Eating less sugar may seem daunting at first, but in the long run it will pay dividends. Doing so can help you lose weight, lower cholesterol levels, prevent other health problems and avoid depression or anxiety caused by overeating sweets. Furthermore, you won’t have to endure cravings caused by too much sweet stuff!
Eat Less Processed Foods
Diets containing less processed food are an effective way to enhance overall health and well-being. While processed foods can be convenient and delicious, they’re often high in calories, fat, sodium and added sugars – contributing to poorer overall health.
Many people eat too much processed food due to various reasons. Perhaps they find it convenient, or there may not be other available alternatives when they feel hungry.
Consuming too many ultra-processed foods can lead to serious health risks, including heart disease and diabetes. These foods tend to contain higher concentrations of sodium, saturated fats, and sugar than whole food alternatives.
An easy way to reduce your intake of processed foods is reading labels on all the items you purchase – this will reveal information like calories, fat, sodium and sugar content and processing method used by each item.
Try replacing some of your favorite processed foods with healthier alternatives, like sweets or saltines, with healthier snacks such as raw fruits, carrot sticks, or whole grains.
Eat More Healthy Fats
Fats are essential nutrients for human bodies and should form part of any well-rounded diet, but too much saturated or trans fats could have serious adverse health impacts.
Studies have demonstrated the numerous health benefits of eating more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids – specifically monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids – such as improving heart health, increasing brain performance, increasing satiety and improving nutrient absorption. Eating these healthy fats also serves as an effective way of lowering cholesterol and avoiding cardiovascular disease.
Dieting can be made simpler when we focus on choosing foods which naturally contain healthy fats instead of those laden with unhealthy fats, like avocados, nuts, fatty fish, full-fat dairy and olive oil.
Diets rich in unsaturated fats – such as olive, canola and peanut oils, as well as fish-derived sources like salmon – should provide essential nutrition that helps manage blood pressure while building immunity. These healthy fats support blood pressure control and promote strong immunity systems.
Eat Less Alcohol
One of the key aspects of healthy eating habits is limiting alcohol consumption. Drinking too much can negatively impact your weight, energy levels and overall mood.
Alcohol has also been linked with various diseases and conditions, including cancer and heart disease. You can reduce your intake by altering your drinking habits.
Many people find that drinking less alcohol has a profoundly positive impact on their overall wellbeing, including weight regulation, increased energy levels and greater mental clarity.
Switching out beverages for low or no alcohol versions may help you cut back on alcohol consumption. Most retailers carry such alternatives that offer similar tastes while having reduced amounts of booze content.
Healthy nutrition and physical activity can also help lessen the effects of drinking. Experts recommend adults participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week and consume five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Though England follows government recommendations regarding physical activity, diet and alcohol consumption[10-22], few young adults in England meet them. As such, some individuals trade off healthy behaviors (e.g. food and exercise for short term benefits of alcohol), while others disregarding their importance to achieve positive health outcomes.
Eat More Vegetables
Consuming an assortment of vegetables and fruits can improve both your health and help you lose weight. They contain low amounts of saturated fats, sodium and sugar while providing essential vitamins and minerals such as fiber and potassium.
Vegetables are great ways to reduce inflammation in the body. Plus, their rich array of nutrients may lower your blood pressure and protect you against heart disease.
Vegetables can help lower the risk of cancer, diabetes and stroke by providing phytochemicals which act as antioxidants that protect against diseases.
Make family meals more vegetable-based to encourage kids to eat more veggies, such as serving salad or adding chopped or diced veggies to stir-fries or curries.
To make sure your children consume enough vegetables, stock the refrigerator with assorted raw veggies that are easy to access – baby carrots, sliced cucumbers and bell peppers with hummus are great examples of vegetables you should include as snacks.