Eating better doesn’t mean you need to go on a diet. Little changes can make a big impact. Some of the biggest killers in our country are heart disease and diabetes. Did you know that you can reduce your chances of developing these health issues by committing to a healthier diet?
Here are five ways to eat healthier:
1. Eat your fruits and veggies
Most Americans aren’t getting the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Because fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, increasing your intake can help to lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. A simple way to sneak in some extra fruits and vegetables into your diet is to add them to a smoothie. It’s amazing how many healthy things you can sneak into your delicious breakfast drink; fruit, kale, spinach and even avocado are nearly undetectable in a smoothie. It’s a great way to get the kids to eat healthy too. For some tips and smoothie recipes for kids, check out this post: How to Make Vegetable Smoothies Your Kids Will Love!
2. Eat healthy protein
It’s no secret that protein is an essential part of our diet. Protein builds and repairs our muscle tissue and gives us energy. While you can get protein from many sources, there are healthy and not so healthy options. Healthy protein-rich foods include beans, nuts, tofu, fish, chicken and eggs. Limiting your intake of red and processed meats is important as they can be high in saturated fat and sodium. If you substitute your protein with shakes and powders, be aware of what’s actually in them. Many of those options are loaded with sugars and other additives.
3. Eat healthy carbs and whole grains
Whole grains and healthy carbs offer your body long-lasting energy. Carbs have gotten a bad reputation in the last few years because of certain fad diets. It’s good to go back to the basics; remember the “good carb” and “bad carb” language from health class? Good and bad carbs exist. There are health benefits to eating good, healthy carbohydrates. According to WebMD, a diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer. When choosing a carbohydrate, choose fiber-rich options. These types are absorbed slowly and avoid spikes in blood sugar. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans are good options. Unhealthy choices include refined and processed carbs that are high in sugar and low in fiber such as white bread, white rice, and any kind of candy.
4. Go for the good fats
Healthy fats are essential to nourish your brain, heart, skin, hair, and nails. Research shows that foods rich in certain omega-3 fats can improve your mood, reduce inflammation, and lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. Unsaturated fats can help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, which also can lower your risk of heart disease. Good fats include olive oil, nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts), seeds (pumpkin, sesame, flax), and those that are found in fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines). Stay away from saturated fats which are found in whole milk dairy products and red meat, and trans fats that are in processed foods like crackers, margarine, shortening, candies and snacks.
5. Watch the sugar
You don’t have to eliminate sugar from your diet, but be mindful of how much you are eating. Too much sugar can take a toll on the body. Diets high in sugar can increase your risks for diabetes and heart disease and are also linked to obesity, high blood sugar and inflammation. If you are already getting your recommended fruits in for the day, your body doesn’t need the additional sugar. We all know that soft drinks, ice cream, candy and baked goods are loaded with sugar, but food manufacturers have a sneaky way of adding sugar into other food items. Next time you’re at the grocery store, take a look at the labels of the foods you are buying. Here are a few ways added sugars are listed on the labels: brown rice syrup, brown sugar, cane sugar, evaporated cane sugar, confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, corn sweetener, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), honey, malt and molasses. That’s a lot of different ways to say “sugar”.
Moderation is key when it comes to your diet. It’s helpful to be prepared and have healthy choices on hand, so you aren’t reaching for the easiest (and sometimes most unhealthy) option. You are only given one body, it’s important to take care of it as best you can. Being healthy is not only good for your longevity and well-being, but also can be good for your wallet when it comes to purchasing life insurance. The healthier you are the better premiums you will get. It’s easy to run a term life quote and it only takes 30 seconds of your time. For more information on how being healthy is better for your life insurance rates, check out our blog Being Healthy Can Save You Money on Life Insurance.
Photo credit to: Pink Sherbet Photography