For many decades now, the American public has tended to regard dieting as either a fun chore that’s meant to be avoided, or a necessary evil, used only by obese people to control their excess weight. However, recent studies have revealed that dieting can be an important factor in long term weight control. A healthy diet gives the body essential nutrients: macronutrients, micronutrients and sufficient calories. A balanced diet is essential for overall health. A number of conditions, including osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer can be reduced or controlled by healthy dieting.
Processed Foods. Most people get most of their dietary fiber from the grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes they consume on a regular basis. However, refined carbohydrates, including white bread, pasta, donuts, and sugary sweets like candies and soda pop, make up the large majority of the calories we intake. Unrefined carbs like sugar and flour are much better contributors to unhealthy diets than these processed foods. Refined sugar is particularly bad for heart health and can contribute to obesity. A good source of fiber is nuts; walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans and chestnuts are particularly rich in healthy fats, which can reduce cholesterol and aid in reducing overall blood pressure.
Obesity. Obesity is not merely a problem of excess body weight. It is a symptom of a diet that are high in calories without adequate amounts of exercise, healthy eating, and regular interaction with friends and family. While obesity does not cause heart disease, it does increase a person’s chances of getting it. Excessively high levels of fat around the waist, particularly around the middle, can lead to heart disease, high cholesterol levels, stroke, certain types of cancer, diabetes, and other health problems.
Physical Activity. As we age, our bodily systems become less efficient at processing nutrients and taking in energy. Sedentary lifestyles and poor diet choices contribute to declining energy levels and poor health. To keep our bodies at their peak performance level, we need to take in an adequate amount of physical activity on a regular basis. If you don’t have time to fit exercise into your daily schedule, you should consider increasing your physical activity. Increasing your physical activity can be a great addition to your diet and can help you to lose weight as well as improve your health.
Take in Slim Fast or Optifast: Slim Fast is known as one of the most popular diet programs and for good reason. Not only does it offer a wide variety of meals and snacks, it includes a liquid diet supplement to help you get the nutrients you need every day. Optifast, on the other hand, uses skim milk instead of whole milk. Both of these diets are proven to provide health benefits and they are also easier to follow. If you don’t want to buy meal replacement shakes, opt for a flavored skim milk instead.
Create a Smart Shopping List: One of the best ways to find healthful diet foods is to make a shopping list of the foods you want to eat and then go to the store. By shopping with a specific plan in mind, you limit your chances of buying unhealthy foods that you will likely not eat. With a smart food shopping list and healthy eating guidelines, you can create a path to healthy eating and stay on track.
Cut Out Processed Meats: Eating healthy doesn’t mean cutting out entire categories of food. Rather, it means limiting the consumption of some types of food. Although it is important to eat a variety of healthy foods, there are many processed meats that should be avoided. Processed meats contain harmful fats and sodium that can cause a variety of health problems, including heart disease.
Focus on Nutrition and Choose a Nutrient-Dense Diet: The World Health Organization or WHO reports that Americans consume nearly twice the recommended daily allowance of calories and nearly 20 grams of fat each day. To break down those numbers further, half of that is made up of refined carbohydrates and only two percent is from protein. This nutrition imbalance has created what the WHO terms a “nutrient deficiency”. In order to maintain optimal health and prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, a diet that is nutritionally dense is necessary. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber, whole grains and lean proteins is essential to a well-balanced diet and is crucial to achieving and maintaining nutrition and optimal health.