Getting good nutrition for life has two meanings, both are right. There are ways to get good nutrition and maintain it for a lifetime, is one way to interpret the phrase. It’s true. The other way to interpret it is that if you have good nutrition, your life will be longer and healthier. That’s also true. What exactly is good nutrition? The first thing to identify is what to avoid to ensure you’re eating healthy. Food with additional sugar added is the first thing to eliminate. Sugar has a huge negative impact on your body. Even worse, it’s additive. Don’t be fooled by the term “natural” sugar, like high fructose corn syrup. It may come from natural sources, but it’s even worse than traditional cane sugar.
Avoid processed food.
Highly processed foods not only are low in nutrition, they contain many additives and chemicals. If you want to see an entire population change from robust good health to one with life threatening illness, find one that changes from its traditional foods to a Western diet. Additives to increase shelf life are added to processed foods, just as extra salt, sugar or refined, bleached flour. Many foods were created specifically to increase consumption with extra doses of sugar, salt and fat that our bodies have been programmed to desire for survival. Of course, that was survival when men lived in caves. Today those cravings only lead to obesity, heart disease and bad health.
Healthy protein is important.
Don’t forget protein. You need protein to build muscle tissue, hair, nails, enzymes, hormones and chemicals for body functions. Protein is used for tissue repair and a basic building block for skin, cartilage, bones and blood. You don’t have to get protein from meat. Healthy protein comes from poultry, eggs, nuts, beans and fish. Protein will make and keep you feeling full, help you shed pounds and build muscle tissue.
Stick with fresh fruits and vegetables and make it colorful.
Fruit and vegetables have varies colors that are created by phytonutrients, such as anthocyanins, which give vegetables and fruit the purple, blue or deep red color. These are powerful antioxidants. You may already have heard of resveratrol found in wine and grapes. It helps relax the artery walls and improve circulation. Those are in purple fruits and vegetables, too. Carotenoids give an orange color, which changes to vitamin A. Chlorophyll gives veggies the green color and boosts your immune system too. Each color has different nutrients, so to maximize your intake, you need a colorful plate.
- Keep your drinks simple. There’s nothing wrong with a cup of coffee or green tea, but you don’t really need milk or fruit juice. Of course, sugary soft drinks are out of the picture, too. Water is best.
- Healthy fat is important. Avoid trans fats and hydrogenated fat, but adding avocado or fatty fish to your diet will actually improve your overall health and help you lose weight.
- When you add grains to your diet, make sure they’re whole grains. Better yet, sprouted grains add a new dimension to healthy eating.
- Don’t forget about regular exercise. While a healthy diet is the foundation of a healthy body, regular exercise is the framework to keep you healthier longer.