There is a lot of evidence that sticking to a whole food diet based on plant foods leads to the most important health outcomes: good health and a long life.
A healthy diet provides many of the nutrients your body needs for good health, including omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and antioxidants, as well as an array of vitamins and minerals that work together to deliver major health benefits. This is confirmed by many studies and thousands of people.
A study of 23,153 Germans aged 35-65 found that higher intakes of fruit, vegetables and whole-grain bread, and lower meat intake were associated with improved health. The results were even more pronounced for those who maintained a healthy body mass index (BMI), never smoked, and exercised three and a half hours or more per week.
A study conducted by the World Health Organization found that it’s never too late to start improving your diet. They suggest that those who stick to healthy eating patterns live two years longer at age 60.
Dozens of studies and clinical trials have shown that a Mediterranean diet helps maintain:
- Healthy waist circumference and weight/BMI
- normal cholesterol
- healthy blood sugar
- normal blood lipids/lipoproteins
- healthy blood pressure and circulation
- normal cognitive function
Lowering the Glycemic Index and Eating Healthy
Typically, healthy eating patterns consist of foods with a low glycemic index or load.
When it comes to the glycemic index, common sense should guide your decisions, with the goal of limiting nutrient-poor, processed foods that contain refined starches and sugars rather than whole foods. Many starchy vegetables, such as carrots and fruits, also have a high glycemic index.
But there is no evidence that these foods are harmful.
In fact, a 2018 review showed that eating more fruit has big benefits, thanks to their high fiber content and prebiotic effect (that is, they feed the good bacteria in the gut), which is good for the heart. There are benefits for vascular, digestive, metabolic, respiratory and bone health. In addition, eating fruit also improves mental health and skin health.
4 Surprising Sources of Nutrients Your Body Needs
If you follow the perfect diet, you can stop here. This article is best suited for those who occasionally consume foods that are generally believed to have adverse nutritional effects. That’s because even some junk foods contain certain nutrients, and you can find surprising sources of them in all foods.
This doesn’t mean that most of your diet should or can be filled with large amounts of unhealthy foods. You need to limit the foods mentioned below. To maintain good health and manage your weight , eat plenty of nutrient-dense whole foods and vegetables.
But you can also let it go for a while to improve your mood or let off steam once in a while. So, the following surprising sources of nutrition aren’t an excuse for an unhealthy diet, but rather a joyful source of comfort.
Dark chocolate may be an unexpected nutrient choice
Perhaps the most well-known example of this is foods that pack important nutrients under the guise of being delicious. But let’s be clear – this doesn’t cover all chocolate. Only dark chocolate varieties (with at least 50% cocoa – unsweetened cocoa powder, not hot chocolate) have these hidden nutrients.
White chocolate is basically sugar and fat — it doesn’t actually contain any cocoa. Milk chocolate is ubiquitous, creamy and delicious, but lacks solid cocoa, which rules out almost any nutrition.
Dark chocolate has more of the actual source of the ingredient, the cocoa pod, which makes it a bit bitter but more nutritious. That’s because it contains soluble fiber, beneficial fatty acids, minerals , and a little caffeine.
The phytonutrients in dark chocolate are also a surprisingly important part of its nutritional profile. Chocolate contains bioactive plant compounds that give you antioxidant support, and cocoa contains as much phytonutrients (flavonols, catechins, and polyphenols) as some berries.
That doesn’t mean you should replace blueberries with dark chocolate. While dark chocolate has a surprising amount of nutrients, it’s also surprisingly high in calories and fat. This nutrient-dense food is also correspondingly high in calories. So it’s okay to only consume dark chocolate in moderation, ie an occasional ounce (28 grams). You’ve now found a reason to indulge your taste buds once in a while.
What Nutrients Are Hiding in Dark Chocolate?
The Amazing Nutrients in Potatoes
These root vegetables have always been notorious, but why are salty fries so delicious ? If not for the unhealthy cooking process, the potato would definitely qualify as a surprising source of nutrition.
Potatoes are, after all, just plants—specifically, starchy roots that grow in soil. It belongs to the same family as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Therefore, the potato is also composed of similar vitamins and minerals as its traditional family relatives.
White or yellow varieties of potatoes contain vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 and certain polyphenols — sweet potatoes, unlike potatoes, are often considered healthier. Since potatoes contain mostly carbohydrates , they also contain a small amount of fiber. Most of this is in the form of resistant starch and insoluble fiber.
Most of the good nutrients in potatoes aren’t hidden deep inside, they’re in the potato skin on the surface. So when you cook your potatoes, wash them thoroughly to remove surface dirt, but make sure you don’t peel them. You definitely don’t want to be throwing most of your nutrition in the trash.
There are plenty of nutrients in potatoes to make them worthy of serving your dinner table. They are also a recognized staple food around the world. But eating too much of these starchy vegetables can be detrimental to weight management. This is partly because the potato itself is a high-glycemic and calorie-dense food.
So, if potatoes are on the menu, be sure to pay attention to the preparation (don’t peel them) and the cooking method (baked or boiled — please don’t fry them, they cook in fat). To reduce the glycemic impact of potatoes, serve them as part of a complete meal (with protein, extra fiber, and fat) to help slow their digestion . When you eat, you know you’re eating food that’s good for your health.
What Nutrients Are Hiding in Potatoes?
- insoluble fiber
- resistant starch
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
- Antioxidant composition of multiple polyphenols, including catechins and lutein
When looking for a surprising source of nutrition , do your research on cheese!
Cheese is sticky, soft, creamy and fascinating, but it also contains a lot of saturated fat, calories and salt. But that doesn’t put cheese lovers off.
This heady dairy treat balances out some of these negative effects with a host of beneficial nutrients. It contains protein, many essential minerals (calcium, zinc and phosphorus), and vitamins A, B2 and B12 . Depending on the source of the milk, cheese may even contain conjugated linoleic acid, vitamin K2, good bacteria, omega-3 and other fatty acids.
And you can also choose from different kinds of cheese. If you’ve been to a supermarket lately, you know how many types of cheese there are. Each type of cheese also offers varying degrees of health benefits.
Time to shake up my cheese and learn about some of these common nutritional benefits:
- Cheddar cheese: A popular accompaniment to a variety of dishes—it’s also delicious sliced with crackers, per ounce (28 grams): 115 calories, seven grams of protein, and a recommended daily intake (RDI) of 20 % calcium and some vitamin K2.
- Blue cheese: This rich cheese with a moldy texture has: 100 calories, six grams of protein, and one-third of the daily RDI for calcium per ounce.
- Feta cheese: This crumbled salty cheese brings delicious texture, protein, and calcium to your salad without adding too many calories—80 calories per ounce, six grams of protein, and your daily value 10% of calcium required.
- Mozzarella: This low-fat, low-salt cheese is also low in calories, at about 85 calories per ounce, but still packs plenty of protein (six grams) and calcium (daily recommendations in just one ounce 14% of intake).
- Parmesan cheese: This cheese is great to sprinkle on food, and each ounce of Parmesan contains approximately: 110 calories, 10 grams of protein, 34 percent of the recommended daily value for calcium, and the recommended daily value for phosphorus 30% of the input amount.
- Swiss cheese: Don’t be fooled by the holes in Swiss cheese, this popular cheese still packs a lot of protein (eight grams), little salt and very little carbs (less than a gram)—about 500 grams per ounce. Contains about 111 calories and a quarter of your daily recommended calcium intake.
You should eat the fat, calories and salt in cheese in moderation. If you need to avoid dairy for any reason, you should definitely avoid cheese. But don’t worry too much if cheese melts your willpower, it’s still an amazing source of nutrients you need.
What nutrients are hidden in cheese?
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin K
- Fatty acids , such as palmitoleate, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and omega 3
- Beneficial bacteria
Sometimes adding some surprises is also a good choice
Learning about surprising sources of nutrition is a great way to choose and explain your indulgence, and you can even impress your friends with these fun facts. But again, these foods shouldn’t make up most of your diet.
You’ll have fun finding hidden nutritional treasures amidst seemingly hopeless junk food and drinks. But remember, these important nutrients are found in more obvious sources, and you should focus on these primary sources in your meal planning.
Vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, lean protein, and whole grains may provide a different high than the foods listed above. But they’re the foundation of a healthy diet, and they allow you to occasionally choose some more interesting alternative foods — foods that also hide some surprising nutrients.
What is a healthy diet? How to Eat Healthy
Chances are you or someone close to you has dieted in the previous year. Statistics show that in the past 12 months, 49.3% of people used diet to lose weight. You’ve probably dieted at least five times in your life (maybe more).
It makes sense. You live in a weight-conscious culture. And you know that weight is closely related to your health, so you try to lose weight. At the same time, you may be curious to ask: “What is a healthy diet?”
If you want to lose weight, you have many options such as paleo, ketogenic, low-fat, low-carb, vegetarian, fruit-based, 30-day whole foods, wheat-free, Jenny Craig, Dukan, Dubrow The diet, the Fit for Life diet, the all-meat diet, the Miami diet, the starch-free diet, etc., each has its pros and cons.
Here’s a sobering statistic: An estimated 95 percent of dieters who follow popular weight-loss diets regain the weight within one to five years. Plus, with all the dizzying amounts of advice, it can be hard to know who to trust, or what exactly you should be eating.
Even if restrictive fad weight loss diets do help you lose weight in a short period of time, is it okay to eat like this all the time? Kick your body off carbs from now on? Or stop eating fruit? Or just eat fruit? How about some cream and bacon?
This is really nerve-wracking! And, looking at the statistics, it’s hard to deny the fact that these fad weight loss diets simply don’t work. In the words of ’90s fitness icon Susan Powter, it’s time to “stop messing around.”
Say goodbye to “fad weight loss diets” forever
Think about it: If your body can’t lose an extra pound, does that mean you should give up trying to eat healthy? of course not.
Following this short-term fad weight loss diet is almost doomed to failure. The answer is this: You must spend the rest of your life turning your attention to eating to be healthy, not to dieting like crazy in a short amount of time just to achieve an ideal weight.
Health comes in all shapes and sizes. No matter your weight, you deserve to feel your best every day . Giving your body the nutrients it needs to grow, scientifically proven, will have many benefits. You’ll look radiant , your body will feel great and you’ll have more energy. And, you’ll be mentally and emotionally ready to face your goals and challenges each day.
There are also long-term benefits. Healthy eating habits are linked to maintaining the health of every part of your body, including your heart, brain , bones and joints, and metabolic function, the list goes on.
The key to success is changing your behavior patterns for life. Find a way of eating that goes with the flow and lasts a lifetime. Building a more positive relationship with healthy foods will help you live a long-term healthy life and enjoy the things you love with the people you love.
Below you’ll find an overview of healthy eating, including the ones that science says are best for your health. You’ll also be given guidelines and goals to help you work your way up to permanently changing the way you eat every day.
What is a healthy diet?
Most people get it wrong. The food they eat will lose weight , but not enough to help them live long and healthy lives.
A 2019 study found that consumption of nearly all healthy foods is below optimal levels. The healthy foods you don’t eat are at least as important as the unhealthy foods you may be eating regularly, researchers report. They note that “suboptimal diets kill more people than other risks in the world, including smoking.”
When it comes to negative health effects, not enough whole grains and fruits are to blame. Not eating enough nuts and seeds, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and polyunsaturated fats can also have a negative impact on quality of life. Consuming too much salt is also a serious problem with long-term health implications.
This research reveals what foods you need to add to a healthy diet, not just what to subtract. Author Michael Pollan sums it up succinctly in his book In Defense of Food, when he observes that we should “eat food, but not too much, mostly plant-based.”
A healthy eating pattern is often a variation of the Mediterranean diet (which mimics the traditional eating patterns of countries around the Mediterranean Sea). These diets emphasize whole, minimally processed foods such as: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and good fats (especially fat from extra virgin olive oil).
This type of diet can be adjusted to fit most dietary, cultural or ethical preferences. It can be healthy with or without animal foods; though it often requires careful planning to ensure a complete and balanced vegetarian and vegan diet. Many people find that adding some meat to their diet helps them better manage hunger , but this is a personal choice. You can also choose from organic produce and products from grass-fed or pasture-raised animals.
Get the most nutrition from your diet, even when you’re on the go
You are what you eat:
After dragging yourself out of bed in the morning, making a lunch to take to work is probably the last thing on your mind , especially if you’re running late. You’re not the only one who doesn’t want to prepare a healthy meal for work. Whether it’s the convenience of eating out, not having enough ingredients at home, or simply not feeling like cooking, many people choose to eat out during the week (if they have time to eat).
If you want to improve your nutrient intake in your work routine, check out the list below. You might find a tip or two to help you eat more nutritious food in your busy schedule.
- Know your food types: Even if you don’t have time to prepare lunch, you can still decide what to eat . You decide where to eat and what to eat. Of course, there are options that provide better quality nutrition. In some cases, the difference in nutrition is stark: Apparently, salads are more nutritious than shakes and chips.
But sometimes it can be hard to spot the most nutritious meal on the menu. That’s why we need to understand food types. While nutrition is a complex and delicate area, making sure you eat a variety of foods — dairy, whole grains, protein, fruits and vegetables — will give your diet a solid foundation. When you order at a restaurant, choose a variety of food items.
- Meal prep on the weekends: Cooking your own meals is certainly the best way to put yourself in control of your eating and nutritional intake. But cooking takes time, and when you’re busy, you don’t have the energy to cook. So, why not meal prep on your day off?
If you have a day, or even an evening, during the week, use that time to prepare healthy meals for the week. There are several different ways to prepare meals. Some people prepare large quantities of the same meals and divide them up by day. If you don’t mind eating the same lunch every day for a week, this is for you.
If you want more variety, you can experiment with preparing different ingredients and combining them in different ways to give your lunch more options. For example, if you cook enough chicken, rice, and cauliflower to last you a week, you can pack a simple bento to take to work. But if you think this diet is too monolithic, you can have the chicken in a sandwich and the broccoli as a side dish. You just need to combine, match and finish the tedious and time-consuming cooking work in advance.
- Replace Sparkling Drinks with Water: Don’t be one of the many people who don’t drink enough water. The National Academy of Sciences recommends 5 cups (or 3.7 liters) of fluid intake (total including water, other beverages and foods such as soup or celery) per day for men and 11.5 cups (or 2.7 liters) for women. If you find yourself not getting enough fluids, try replacing other fluids with water. Swap it for a glass of water when you’re craving a sparkling drink in the afternoon. Not only will this help with hydration, but it will also reduce your sugar intake !
Find the health and wellness tips that work for you
Building healthy living into your busy schedule doesn’t mean your life is going to be turned upside down, but finding ways to fit healthy living into your scheduled schedule.
All of the tips listed above aren’t for everyone, but that’s okay! You just have to experiment and see which tricks work for you. Remember, healthy living is a process and you don’t need to make all the changes right away. Take the time to adjust to each change, and be patient with yourself as you make the change. Changing habits can be difficult, but definitely worthwhile.
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