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There is a famous quote in the health sphere, which does an excellent job of illustrating the importance of healthy nutrition:
“You are what you eat.”
Yes, it sounds a bit cliché, but it’s quite true.
The fact is, we are what we eat, and what we put in our bodies can have a profound effect on our health, mood, energy levels, and much more.
Why Is Nutrition So Important?
Take, for example, cars. If you put quality fuel in your vehicle, it performs better, keeps the engine healthy for many more miles, and lowers the fuel consumption.
For the most part, the human body is quite similar, though it’s a much more complicated piece of (biological) machinery.
The truth is, many people don’t realize this, but the quality of fuel you put in your body every day will have a profound effect on your health, happiness, and life as a whole.
The human body needs a wide range of nutrients to carry out its many complicated tasks. The only way to get enough of each is to consume a wide variety of whole and minimally-processed foods.
Basing your diet around these food groups will ensure that you get an adequate supply of high-quality protein, slow-digesting carbs, and healthy fats.
Also, these foods are rich in numerous vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber, which plays a huge role in gut and digestive health.
Healthy Nutrition 101 - How to Get Started
Here are the three most important things you need to focus on first:
1. Become aware of your caloric intake
Your calorie intake is the primary factor that determines weight gain, loss, or maintenance. So, the first thing you need to do is become more aware of the volume of food you’re consuming.
An excellent place to start is to download an app such as MyFitnessPal and start writing in the foods you consume and their respective quantities.
Much like tracking your finances, having a good grasp of your calorie intake can help you make better decisions and understand what it takes to improve your situation.
2. Consume a healthy blend of proteins, carbs, and fats
Contrary to popular belief, all three macronutrients - proteins, carbs, and fats - play significant roles within the body and are vital for our overall health, energy levels, cognitive function, and well-being.
So, avoid diets that have you restrict a given macronutrient, and make sure to consume a wide variety of whole foods.
High-protein food options:
- Fish and shellfish
- Eggs and egg whites
- Chicken, duck, turkey
- Lean beef, lean pork
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Tempeh, tofu
Carbohydrate food options:
- Lentils and beans
- Fruits and vegetables
- Rolled oats
- Brown rice
- Whole-grain bread, pasta, or wraps.
Healthy fat options:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Walnut oil
- Avocado and avocado oil
- Egg yolks
- Seeds: chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, and sesame
- Cashews, pistachios, almonds
- Peanuts and natural peanut butter
3. Eat mostly whole and minimally-processed foods
Having the occasional cookie or cup of ice cream won’t wreak havoc on your health. But, you should base your diet around whole foods because they will provide you with the nutrients you need to stay healthy.
Plus, whole foods tend to be much lower in calories and more satiating. This is incredibly beneficial for people who are looking to lose weight or avoid unwanted weight gain.