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Developing healthy eating habits isn’t as confusing or as restrictive as many people imagine. The essential steps are to eat mostly foods derived from plants—vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes (such as beans and lentils), and nuts—and limit highly processed foods. If you eat animal foods, you can add in some dairy products, fish, poultry, and lean meat. Studies show that people who eat this way have a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and possibly cancer and other chronic diseases. Here are our guidelines for building a healthy diet.
Calcium. As well as leading to osteoporosis, not getting enough calcium in your diet can also contribute to anxiety, depression, and sleep difficulties. Whatever your age or gender, it’s vital to include calcium-rich foods in your diet, limit those that deplete calcium, and get enough magnesium and vitamins D and K to help calcium do its job. Learn more »
A potato comes from the ground, an egg from a hen. But where did that Pop-tart come from? "Unprocessed, whole foods will give you the most benefits," Berman says. Processing takes out nutrients such as antioxidants and fiber. What's worse is that a lot of processed foods tend to sneak in things that aren't really necessary like extra sodium and sugar. There's nothing wrong with indulging the occasional processed food craving (sometimes a bag of potato chips is too hard to resist!). But if you're trying to shop healthier altogether, be on the lookout for products that have been minimally processed.
Whatever gets on the skin of fruit or veggies will be absorbed to some extent. Washing your fruits and vegetables is very effective against bacteria but not fertilizers and pesticides. Anything labeled ‘organic’ means that it is free of these chemicals. Refer to the Environmental Working Group’s annual list of the most chemically laden fruits and vegetables (‘Dirty Dozen’) that you should thus try to bury organic.
Shira Sussi: No. With juice you get vitamins and minerals, but in the juicing process you lose the fiber that’s found in whole fruits and vegetables. Fiber helps promote gut health and regular bowel movements, as well as satiety and hunger, which can aid in weight management and loss. Fiber intake is also a dietary contributor to reduced risk of chronic diseases, like diabetes and obesity.
Brain iron deficiency should be one of the first considerations when looking for a cause of restless legs syndrome (RLS). However, many doctors don’t know that iron deficiency is one cause of RLS, and therefore don’t test for it, particularly in men, in whom iron deficiency is uncommon. Diagnosing low brain iron is tricky, because doctors have to infer it from blood levels. Several tests are used to measure iron in the blood. The most important for diagnosing iron deficiency measures ferritin, the primary form of stored iron in the blood. (Locked) More »
Nutritionists are always saying to eat more vegetables, so cook them in a way that takes them from ho-hum to yum. "I even think that steamed veggies can be very boring!" says Ilyse Schapiro, a greater New York City-area registered dietitian. Always incorporate high-flavor add-ons to jazz up veggies, like sautéing with olive oil and garlic, or spraying them with olive oil before throwing them in an oven with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. That way, you don't equate "healthy" with "tasteless," a mindset that will knock you off the veggie bandwagon fast. Another tip: buy a spiralizer and make zucchini noodles. Topped off with a rich tomato sauce, you'll feel like you're eating pasta.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 (DGA) reports that most Americans over the age of four years are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, and do not get enough dietary fiber, important minerals such as folate, potassium, magnesium, or vitamins A, C, and K in their diet. Fruits and vegetables are also a good source of folate which is especially important for women who may become pregnant. Juicing can be one way to add more fruits and/or veggies into your day. With so much information available in the media, it can sometimes be difficult to know what’s true and what’s false. Read the following Q&A to get the facts on juicing.
SS: Fruit juice, yes. With a fruit/vegetable juice, it depends on how much fruit has been juiced. I typically say if there’s more fruit than you would eat at one time, then it’s probably too much fruit, and therefore too much sugar, which could lead to weight gain over time. Vegetable juice typically doesn’t contain a lot of sugar and calories. It depends which vegetables are used. Beets and carrots, for example, are higher-sugar vegetables, while celery and greens, like kale and spinach, contain less sugar. I like to say aim for a 3:1 ratio of vegetables to fruit in your juice.
Count carbohydrates – “ Carbs” are found in all kinds of foods, including breads, pastas, fruits, dairy products and sugary foods such as desserts. “Complex” carbohydrates, such as whole grain bread, provide more nutrition than others. Sweets such as cake aren’t as good for you as whole grains and vegetables, and often are high in fat and calories. That’s why it’s better to save them for a treat.
Even the USDA has abandoned the confusing food pyramid in favor of a simpler “healthy plate” diagram. To build a healthy plate, fill half your plate with vegetables — and, no, French fries don’t count! Choose “crunchy” vegetables, such as broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, and leafy greens like kale and Swiss chard. On the other side of the plate, put whole grains or legumes in one quarter and a serving of healthy, lean protein in the other.
Hi there, it’s Lacey! I’m the editor and main writer for A Sweet Pea Chef. I'm a food blogger, health and food coach, professional photographer, and mommy of three. I also run the awesome free Take Back Your Health Community, am the healthy and clean weekly meal planner behind No-Fail Meals, and a little bit in love with Clean Eating. Be sure to check out my free beginner’s guide to eating clean and follow me on YouTube and Instagram to get my latest recipes and healthy eating inspiration. Read More…
Ginger: Ginger is classified as a carminative (reducing intestinal gas) and an intestinal spasmolytic (soothes intestinal tract) while inducing gut motility. Ginger is known to reduce fever related nausea, motion sickness, and feelings of “morning sickness.” Additionally, it helps aid in the production of bile, making it particularly helpful in digesting fats (16, 17).
There is more than one way to eat healthfully and everyone has their own eating style. Make healthier choices that reflect your preferences, culture, traditions, and budget. Choose fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein foods to get the most nutrition and meet your personal calorie needs. Aim for a variety of foods and beverages from each food group and limit saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.
As found in nuts, seeds, fish, avocados, and plant oils. You should consume these high-fat foods in place of other high-calorie foods; otherwise, you’ll be adding excess calories to your diet. For instance, substitute olive or canola oil for butter, and nuts for chips. Fatty fish may reduce the risk of heart disease and have other benefits, attributed at least in part to their omega-3 polyunsaturated fats.
Obesity is not the only nutrition-related cause of disease onset and progression. Too much or too little of certain nutrients can also contribute to health issues. For instance, a lack of calcium in your diet can predispose you to developing osteoporosis, or weakening of your bones, while too much saturated fat can cause cardiovascular disease, and too few fruits and vegetables in your nutrition plan is associated with an increased incidence of cancer. Consuming foods from a wide variety of sources helps ensure your body has the nutrients it needs to avoid these health problems.