“Health begins the moment you decide to take care of yourself”. People run after diets that help them lose weight fast or shred those extra inches quickly. Only a few cares about if the diets they are doing healthy enough for the long run? By deciding to search for a healthy diet you have taken that one and essential step towards a healthy living.
What is a healthy diet?
Eating a healthy diet is not about strict dieting and aiming for an unrealistic slim physique. It’s about feeling good, having enough energy to do all our tasks efficiently and improving our health.
Components of a Healthy Diet
Healthy eating does not have to be a complicated task, it’s just transforming your current dietary pattern little by little with foods that do more good. You don’t have to go all healthy, all that once because a healthy diet is not just practice it is a way of living. Taking one step at a time is the name of the game.
In order to follow a healthy diet, it is must to know about its components. A healthy diet contains all the essential nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, fats, water, vitamins, and minerals.
Importance of proteins
Proteins are an important component of all the cells in our bodies. Proteins help in building and repairing tissues. Also, they are the building blocks of skin, bones, muscles, cartilage, and blood. Proteins are what make most of our skin and hair, hence, making them one of the most required nutrients by our body, also called macronutrient.
Protein does not get stored in our body like fats and carbohydrates. So, it’s predominantly important to feed ourselves with moderate amounts of this nutrient in order to keep our functioning smooth.
By consuming a good amount of protein, our body produces Peptide YY, which helps us to feel full for long. This keeps the hunger and cravings in control, thereby controlling the overall weight gain in our bodies.
Natural sources of protein- poultry, fish, lean meat, dairy, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, nuts, vegetables like broccoli, etc.
Importance of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a major source of energy to the body as they provide fuel to the brain, kidneys, and heart to keep working properly. Carbohydrates break into glucose, which provides energy to most of the cells in the human body.
By consuming fiber which is a carbohydrate, digestion, and blood cholesterol levels stay in check. Intake of a suitable amount of carbohydrates rich foods prevents degradation of skeletal muscles. It also spares the protein and fats for uses other than the production of energy.
Healthy sources of carbohydrates- sweet potatoes, lentils, milk, whole grains, quinoa, bananas, beetroots, etc.
Importance of Fats
Fats are an important part of a healthy diet, it’s just some fats are better than others, and it all lies in the decision of choosing which one to eat. It is a misconception followed by many that eating fats will make you fat, which is so wrong because fats are responsible for the growth of cells in the human body.
There are four types of fats:
- Saturated Fats
- Trans fats
- Monounsaturated fats
- Polyunsaturated fats
Saturated and trans fats are the bad fats, that result in bad cholesterol levels in the blood, weight gain and other health problems. The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, on the other hand, are good fats that aid in the growth of the body. They are good for our heart, cholesterol and overall health.
Sources of good fats: avocados, nuts, chia seeds, extra virgin olive oil, dark chocolate, whole eggs, olives, flaxseed, salmon, etc.
Sources of bad fats ( the ones to avoid): fatty beef, lamb, pork, full-fat dairy.
Importance of Water
Water is the most important thing required for survival. It is required for all of our body functions. The human body uses water in all its cells, organs, tissues to regulate the temperature. It is very important to hydrate ourselves properly by drinking fluids and eating fluid-rich fruits like watermelon, lemon, cucumbers, etc. Our body is continuously losing and using water in sweating, breathing, and digestion.
Also, drinking an adequate amount of water helps in weight loss. It helps in burning calories and suppressing the appetite if consumed before meals. By not drinking enough water, nutrients and minerals are not transferred effectively to all body parts, also giving the feeling of fatigue and weakness. It helps in increasing the metabolism and supports all the activities of the human body.
Things to keep in mind while maintaining a healthy diet.
- Change the right way: now that you are onto following a healthy diet, keep in mind to cut back all the unhealthy food intake. Also, change it with healthy alternatives. A healthy diet plan and fitness plan is necessary to live a better healthy life.
Say no to refined carbohydrates like bread, pizza, pastries white rice, white flour, pasta, etc, processed fats and sugars and eat natural good fats and dietary carbohydrates instead.
- A big no for refined and processed sugars: Refined sugars are far away from nutrients and minerals. The only thing they help in is weight loss and various health problems. Even the fruit juices that we drink are full of refined sugars, that are doing no good for our bodies. Make it a point to stay away from candies, chocolates, juices, sweetened milk, etc. Eating excess sugar can lead to mood swings, anger, anxiety, and sleeplessness.
- Fruits are your best friends- fruits are a source of natural sugar. It also provides our bodies with various vitamins and minerals. They help in maintaining a healthy gut because of the presence of fibers in them. Eating fruits help in the prevention of bowel and colon cancer. They facilitate tissue repair and make healing a fast process. Folic acid present in fruits helps in the formation of red blood cells. Consumption of fruits makes you feel healthy and energized at all times.
- Satisfaction not stuffing: the whole point of eating is to get the energy to perform various tasks and not to stuff yourself just for the sake of eating. It is very important to understand the difference between satisfaction and stuffing. One must know when to keep the spoon down, and not to overeat.
Also, eat slowly and in smaller proportions. Try and eat in smaller utensils that make small quantities look fuller. It will give your brain the illusion of enough food for satisfaction.
- Add calcium to your diet: calcium is necessary for maintaining the strength of bones. Also, it’s important to consume vitamin D rich foods, because vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium.
Sources of calcium: dairy, soybeans, greens, etc.
A healthy diet makes 80% of healthy living but keeps in mind to get that 100% effect, exercise at least five times a week. With a healthy diet and exercise going hand in hand, you will achieve that healthy living state in no time.